Education, Environment, News

Breathe Mongolia and Green Dot release climate change and air pollution quiz challenges to accelerate youth education

14 · Oct · 2022
Photograph by: Courtesy of Green Dot

By Otgonbayan Sendegmaa

Translated by Anujin Khulan

The climate crisis and air pollution are undeniably two of the most prominent global challenges of our generation. In Mongolia, they are everyday realities with extreme weather conditions increasing the rate and severity of desertification and land degradation. In fact, between 1940 and 2015, Mongolia’s average temperature increased by more than two degrees Celsius. This has meant decreased rainfall, leading to moderate and severe desertification in 76.8 percent of Mongolia’s landscape.

Furthermore, the level of particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) in the air of many cities and provinces in Mongolia frequently exceeds the air quality limits recognized by the World Health Organization. And Ulaanbaatar consistently ranks as one of the most polluted cities in the world. Climate change and air pollution are related issues: as climate change forces many traditionally pastoral communities out of the countryside, urban energy infrastructure is unable to keep up with rapid rates of urbanization, exacerbating air pollution.

Despite these negative impacts of climate change and air pollution, we have the opportunity to tackle them through education and awareness to promote healthy, daily habits. This is why Breathe Mongolia – Clean Air Coalition and Green Dot decided to collaborate to create the “Climate Change and Air Pollution Knowledge Challenge”. The challenge launched on August 26th on the TomYo educational application and is designed for high school and university students. 

Irene Ba, the co-founder of Green Dot and the co-organizer of the competition, explained that the challenge will last for five weeks on TomYo and will focus on raising awareness about air pollution and climate change. A challenge winner will be determined each week for a prize prepared by the two organizations with gift contributions from UNDP Mongolia. 

“Green Dot aims to inform the public about climate change so that they can use the knowledge to make changes in their everyday lives. In collaboration with Breathe Mongolia, we are planning to implement public impact projects related to the mitigation of air pollution and climate change. It’s fitting that we’re starting with knowledge challenges on the TomYo platform as it’s an intersection of both our organizations’ missions,” explained Irene Ba, Co-Founder of Green Dot. 

Ten questions will be released for each week of the challenge. And the theme of each week’s challenge will alternate between climate change and air pollution. If you want to participate in our competition, you can install the TomYo application on your phone and go to the “Challenge” section to answer the questions.

By participating in this competition, you will learn about climate change and strengthen your knowledge and apply it in your everyday life. Organizers emphasized that this type of digital content is rare within Mongolia, so this is a great and unique opportunity.

Enkhuun, Operations Lead at Breathe Mongolia

In this regard, Enkhuun Byambadorj, who is the Operations Lead at Breathe Mongolia – Clean Air Coalition said,

“We have been disseminating information about air pollution to the public and organizing various campaigns for the past three years. For us, the goal of this challenge was to produce content that linked air pollution to climate change. I am sure that by participating in our competition, students will obtain basic information about the topics that can promote healthy habits. The competition is conducted in the form of questions and answers rather than long articles, so it will be fun and interesting, inspiring people to do more research. I would also like to note the fact that this competition is only the beginning of our cooperation [with Green Dot]. Based on the results of this content, we will decide what impact projects to work on next. Therefore, if you have any feedback related to the competition, please contact us.”

When we asked Gereltuya Ba, co-founder of Green Dot, why the competition was mainly aimed at high school and university students, she replied,

“The world’s biggest problem is climate change. If we don’t cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2030, and if we can’t keep the average temperature increase well below 2 degrees, or even 1.5 degrees, in 2100, we won’t be able to live on this planet. It will significantly affect our lives. More than 30% of our country’s citizens are engaged in caring for livestock, forestry, and hunting. Then, herdsmen will lose their livelihood due to natural disasters such as desertification and drought.”

“This will affect the country’s economy. The land where my grandparents grazed their cattle when I was young is now deserted, and drought has made it difficult to live there. We must make everyone, especially the future generations, understand this. Because they are the next leaders, the future owners [of our planet]. Therefore, our youth should understand the problem they are facing, follow consistent and sustainable policies and create new, healthy habits. We have selected our participants with the aim of encouraging the younger generation and spreading this message. When we first started this project, we asked the TomYo team for cooperation, and the team gladly accepted. To take on the opportunity, we express sincere gratitude to the TomYo team, who actively supports education and innovation,” continued Gereltuya.

As mentioned above, this will be the beginning of the cooperation between Breathe Mongolia – Clean Air Coalition and Green Dot organizations. Both teams expressed that they will do more significant work on these topics and support each other in climate and air pollution-related activities.

If you, the reader, have any information or suggestions related to the competition, please visit Green Dot and Breathe Mongolia – Clean Air Coalition.

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