- New Colombo Plan
A commitment to seeking local and global solutions on issues related to climate change motivated 2018 New Colombo Plan scholar, Daniel Hay-Hendry, to explore firsthand the ever-growing impact that climate change is having on people’s lives across the Indo-Pacific region.
2018 New Colombo Plan scholar Daniel Hay-Hendry has been fortunate to study, intern and travel across a diverse range of Indo-Pacific locations since starting his scholarship in Japan in July 2018. The Murdoch University Bachelor of Environmental Engineering Honours student studied civil and environmental engineering at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan and has completed internships in locations as far and wide as Mongolia, China and Tonga.
“Between each of these program components, I was also able to travel through Sri Lanka, Indonesia, South Korea, Hong Kong, India and Nepal. During my program, I saw countless technologies and innovations that are being developed and employed to address the challenges associated with climate change. I’ve also seen many areas in which there is still ample room for improvement.”
Daniel has been able to attend events such as a mining conference and water management workshop in Mongolia, and the Australian Innovation Dialogue in Chengdu, providing opportunities to build his networks and expand his knowledge of the diverse challenges facing the region.
He has also applied his professional learning at grassroots level. His final internship with the Pacific Centre of Excellence on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in Tonga provided him with the opportunity to run a series of workshops in Tongan schools, engaging and promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency and gender equality to the students.
“Each aspect of my program has played a role in the path I am setting for myself. From experiencing the aftermath of landslides in Japan, to issues around ground water abstraction in Mongolia, to the coral bleaching and saltwater intrusion in Tonga, I have been exposed firsthand to the effects of the changing climate and the issues related to poor resource management. This has continually strengthened my drive and intention to work on mitigating the causes of these issues and reduce their effects. It has also provided me with the real-life experience that I will be able to draw upon later in my career.”
Daniel’s journey on NCP and immersion across many cultures has highlighted that while cultures and countries have their own intricacies, their people have much in common.
“We all worry about our future and that of our children – hoping that we will be able to provide for them and give them the best possible chance to have a happy life. These realisations make bridging gaps between cultures and countries such an important task.”
Whilst identifying one definitive highlight of his NCP program is difficult, Daniel has had many transformative experiences. He reflects that occasions where he has stepped outside of his comfort zone and connected with people have been the most memorable.
“In Mongolia, I was lucky enough to spend some time with a rural family in the countryside. Their nomadic lifestyle has remained relatively unchanged for decades; a tough but rewarding life. It allowed me to reflect on my life and what is truly important to me.”
For Daniel, his NCP experience was about building professional and personal relationships in the Indo-Pacific.
“Besides the professional relationships, I made some great friends that I will continue to stay in touch with from across the globe. A perfect example of this was being able to meet up with the family of a friend I made while studying in Japan as I travelled through Sri Lanka. The relationship I established with this family may also lead to me undertaking research for my thesis on water treatment in Sri Lanka.”