Statement made on 09 June 2011 by Senator Grant Mitchell
Hon. Grant Mitchell:
Honourable senators, I rise today to commend the work of a learning initiative called DeforestAction.
The DeforestAction initiative is a collaborative project that uses social media to increase awareness among youth around the world regarding the important issue of deforestation. Since the project began last year, the initiative has worked with the "Taking IT Global" social network and Microsoft, which has allowed it to reach over 100,000 students.
The goal of DeforestAction is to get one million young people involved in protecting vulnerable forests. One of the program's huge successes was the construction of the Dome Tree, which will be a key feature of a new orangutan sanctuary for the orangutans of Borneo. Ten young people will be able to live there and monitor the local ecosystem. The project includes other interactive initiatives, among them one that will allow students to monitor forests remotely using satellite images.
The ultimate goal of the DeforestAction initiative is to empower youth and to encourage young people to communicate with each other. In order to find solutions to complex, intergenerational problems like climate change, we need all the energy of youth.
I want especially to thank Abraham Almaouie for making me aware of this project. This high school leader is taking part in the program with 10 other students from the Queen Elizabeth Secondary School in Edmonton. The director of the Centre for Global Education at that school, Terry Godwaldt, also deserves a special mention for his boundless enthusiasm for his work as a teacher and for encouraging young people to take action.