In June 2016, IDEAS For Us sent three people to Nepal. Clayton Ferrara, Christopher Stampar, and I (Ryan Harrigan) traveled over for the purpose to increase capacity among IDEAS For Us Chapters and to strengthen Nepali/USA ties. We engaged youth chapters, learned about Nepali culture and natural resources. In turn, IDEAS For Us will work closely with Nepali people on future environmental projects.
I’ve never been outside of the United States before, so discovering Nepal and doing my responsibility was quite overwhelming. My role was to record information and demonstrate enviro-engineering skills. Before meeting connducting our first Hive, I took time to scoop up a used water bottle, fasten some nails to a resistor and create a moisture/flow sensor. Nervous at first, it was surprising to see how people were interested in this type of stuff! I spoke more about my contraption and used it as an example of creating value from waste. Doing something like this far from home gives me joy because it shows that IDEAS can reach out to people in interesting ways.
Nepal made me think of environmentalism from a cultural standpoint. Many people live off the land, but those people don’t treat waste as a threat to their environment. Some cultures use everything they have, but rely on carbon-intensive processes. How do new technologies like abundant electricity, Internet, single-use packaging, etc. fit into environmentalism? What I’ve learned is that the youth have the most impact on environmentalism. Why not look at surroundings as potential?
After visiting Nepal, I certainly am more aware of the mobility, veracity, and commitment that youth have towards the environment. I am so excited that we get to work with students in Nepal, and frankly, all over the world. This is a good time to make projects happen and solutions to spring up.