One of the first things the students learned was that climate change is accepted as fact in Vietnam; it is not politicized, and is discussed freely. Messages to take home, “The Vietnamese people do not avoid talking about the changing climate; it’s happening in their own backyard,” said Conor McCabe, an animal science major, class of ‘18. “Climate change is definitely an uncomfortable topic since it has so many ramifications for society and the livelihoods of everyday people. Taking part in that difficult discussion, rather than shying away, is what I plan to do from now on,” said Becky Cardinali, an economics major, class of ’19. These millennials also learned that despite the history of the Vietnam War and the role the U.S. now plays in exacerbating climate change, the Vietnamese people were extraordinarily welcoming: “I felt so embarrassed that I had contributed to the climate change that was destroying their livelihoods. How did they repay me? By inviting me into their homes for tea. They did not hate us, in fact they were extremely welcoming, hopeful and forward looking,” said Marc Alessi an up-and-coming meteorologist, class of ‘18.
Free from political propaganda and religious dogma anyone can see it. Look around you.