Vietnamese named among world's most influential climate activists

By Minh Nga   March 25, 2019 | 05:01 pm PT
Vietnamese named among world's most influential climate activists
Nguy Thi Khanh, director of Green Innovation and Development Center (GreenID) is named of the most 100 most influential people in climate policy in 2019. Photo courtesy of GreenID
A Vietnamese woman has made it to the global list of 100 most influential people in climate policy for her advocacy of sustainable energy solutions.

Nguy Thi Khanh, founder and director of Green Innovation and Development Center (GreenID), has become the first Vietnamese ever that makes it to the annual. This year, the list also honors Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swede who started a school strike for climate outside the Swedish parliament, and David Attenborough, a renowned English broadcaster, natural historian and environmental advocate.

Khanh, 43, is in the Academia and Advocacy category of the list, which was published on the official site of Apolitical, a global network for government which helps public servants find ideas, people and partners they need to take on the hardest challenges facing their societies. Its funders and partners include the Cabinet Office, the European Commission, the Canadian government and the World Economic Forum.

In 2011 Khanh founded GreenID to educate communities in rural areas on renewable energy and convince officials to adjust their policies towards sustainable development.

She is also the advocacy coordinator for the Vietnam Rivers Network, a forum designed to protect rivers and promote sustainable development.

One of her most significant contributions is an effort to curb coal pollution in Vietnam.

She used her scientific research and worked closely with authorities to promote long-term, sustainable energy projects and reduce Vietnam’s dependency on coal, helping reducing carbon dioxide emissions in Vietnam by 115 million tons a year.

She told VnExpress last year: "Energy is important for economic development, and it also has a huge impact on the environment and the people. But there was very little involvement of civil society in the government’s energy plans."

In 2018 she became the first Vietnamese to be honored by the U.S.’s Goldman Environmental Foundation with the Goldman prize, an annual award for grassroots environmental activists.

She was quoted as saying on the foundation's website: "Vietnam’s energy future is at a crossroads. Every decision and every dollar invested today will be felt in Vietnam and in earth’s climate for decades to come."

This year's 100 most influential climate activists included just two Southeast Asians, the other being Tri Rismaharini, the mayor of Surabaya city in Indonesia.

Rismaharini is said to have transformed the city known for pollution and congestion into one that is focused on sustainability and rich in green spaces, and thanks to her there are now 11 landscaped parks in Surabaya.

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