Professional Fellow on Environment, 2016 (Program YSEALI 2017)
It is not a coincidence to be selected for a wonderful fellowship program to the United State, but I think how lucky I am to be part of the program. I am one of Cambodian youth, living in a very remote area far away from the capital city that I have never even thought about visiting the U.S. before, but now I am here in U.S. with other participants from other countries; Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar (Burma) and Cambodia.
On a day two, October 15, all fellows got a chance to visit a National Park called the Glacier which about 2 hours and a half driving from Missoula. Here we got a chance to learn from the Glacier Institute about the conservation and outdoor education of National Park of Glacier and also went tracking some part of the Glacier as well.
Outdoor education is an education them that I have never heard about before in my country. Outdoor education was providing a teaching to young students to learn about environment and ecosystem, changing the way of how they look at the nature. This is such a wonderful work to build aware of young people to become a good seed for the future, loving nature, knowing the value of nature and taking care nature for young generation.
Glacier National Park was to aim conserve the area or protecting from logging and selling the land to rich businessmen or land concession, and make benefit from the park’s services for its survival. Today I got a chance to enjoy the conservation area of Glacier with a gorgeous view, seeing numbers of trees, waterfall, and many kinds of plants under a very cold weather, and I didn’t not keep my had free, taking lots of photo of this beautiful nature of the Glacier.
When I am backed to the hotel, I was sitting, looking at my pictures that I took and reading my note from a presentation by a staff of the Glacier Institute, my feeling have changed from smiling to sad and questioning that, dose the conservation of Glacier National Park is really perfect one? Before becoming as National Park, the Glacier area was belong to Indigenous community (tribes group), who their lives were relying on these area for their living. Then after Glacier has become a National Park, those communities could not access to these area for their living anymore. I started questioning to myself, “is it fair?” “I am glad to see the land has become a conservation area but the tribe lost it, sounds like we took this land from them,” said by a staff of Glacier Institute.
Outdoor education and Nation Park was probably for urban people but what about the tribe groups who used to be the owner of the land and relying on this area, what will they get from this land?
Despite of nice view of conservation area and its story before it becoming as today has taught me that, “If you get something, it’s sure that you will lose something too.” “We should not just value the nice view that we have seen but we should learn about its story.” With these, we have to keep it balance between the thing that we got and the thing that we will lose. Whenever you think only about the majority, please do not forget about the minority. All development in the world, mostly think about majority as priority, but why don’t priority the minority first? Minority have always been scarified for majority, but when the majority can scarify for minority?