Seeking to capitalise on Cambodians’ embrace of social media, the Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) will launch a selfie-taking campaign this month to build awareness about Cambodia’s deforestation problem.
The group will urge Cambodians to post pictures of themselves with trees to remind the government of the pledges made last year at the Paris climate change conference, COP21, to increase the country’s forest cover to 60 percent by 2030. The campaign will last through November as leaders gather in Morocco for COP22.
“We aim to mobilise social media users so they will spread the word about the forest cover problem,” said Mory Sar, vice president of the Cambodian Youth Network and a PLCN member. “We’re asking everyone to tag five friends so more people will know about it.”
The effort marks the first time the PLCN has actively campaigned online.
Cambodia’s forest cover is currently about 47 percent, but illegal logging remains rampant. The group Global Forest Watch found that between 2001 and 2014, Cambodia experienced the highest rate of forest loss in the world.
According to Courtney Work, a researcher focusing on land use in Cambodia, social media has become a powerful tool for educating young, urban populations that may not be aware of environmental issues. “Social campaigning is increasingly important as the problem of resource theft persists and grows in Cambodia,” Work said.