Environmental activist Nguy Thi Khanh has been working for the socially just development of Vietnam and Southeast Asia for almost 20 years, and received the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize for her work to push Vietnam’s energy transition.
Ms.Khanh started working with indigenous communities in the mountains area of Vietnam, focusing mainly on local development and women’s empowerment before diving into energy development and advocating for a more participatory approach around hydropower development in the Mekong region. Six years ago she was one of the main drivers to establish GreenID as one of the leading energy think tanks in Vietnam, championing sustainable energy development and climate action. We met with Ms. Khanh in a traditional Vietnamese coffee house close to her office.
Home for me is: A safe space, a place where I can live a lovely life.
I live by the words: Being in the present moment and always looking for solutions.
What inspired me to enter this field is: So many things. But mostly the vulnerability of the affected communities of climate change. For me, that’s always in the frontline.
I got involved in climate change because: I want a better life for my children and the future generations. It is time to act!
My favorite books to recommend are: Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution, by the journalist Thomas Friedman.
Climate change in Vietnam is: A real threat for all citizens and countries. We cannot deny climate change. It requires immediate but wise actions.
I would never compromise on: Allowing activities that destroy the community of people; any kind of development that makes the local people vulnerable by destroying the livelihood of people and environment. Securing that is my goal towards a sustainable development for Vietnam!
Clean air for me is: A basic need for people’s health. Healthy lungs mean good health for people and that should be secured.
I will always advocate for: A green Vietnam!
The accomplishment I am proudest of is: GreenID and my devoted team that is always working hard for our mission.
The main challenges of the fight against climate change are: The gap between the paper commitment and the real actions. It is mainly the irresponsibility of the main emitters but also the repetition of the conventional economic models by developing countries.
When not advocating for a sustainable energy I am: Cooking, reading and playing with my kids.
Today, I’m optimistic because: I see more groups and people involved in fighting climate change and working for a sustainable future.
My advice to inspiring activists is: Take whatever innovative action you believe is true and necessary for society.
I believe the next generation to be: The game changer!
Sustainable energy development has the opportunity to: Build community resilience, inclusive renewable energy, new jobs and new businesses. Furthermore, more justice and energy security.
I would love to spend more time: Studying, because that is my dream.
For me, the future is: Clean air, sustainable energy and green development for our children!
Nguy Thi Khanh is an environmental activist and has been working for the socially just development of Vietnam and Southeast Asia for almost 20 years and received the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize for her work to push Vietnam’s energy transition.
Interview by Anne-Sophie Garrigou, Editor-in-Chief of The Beam
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