YRE 2014 Portugal | Part 1

Guilty Conscience, 2014

Hey Bandits, it’s Connie!

     Earlier this year I entered Environmental Defence’s contest, Canada’s Next Green Journalist, submitting my photography that investigated an environmental issue in my community. My photo, (above) titled Guilty Conscience, won 1st place in the photography category, for the age group 15 to 18. While walking the streets of Toronto, I found this pile of trash hidden behind a bin. It was most likely hidden because the litterer had a guilty conscience for their actions. This creates a bigger problem for the environment because the pile will continue to grow, since no one can see it and clean it up. A simple solution is to hold onto the trash until we can dispose of it properly. 

     When I entered this contest for Canada’s Next Green Journalist, I did not expect to win, neither did I expect to take place in the international Young Reporters for the Environment contest and be given an opportunity to attend an international Litter Less workshop all the way in Cascais, Portugal. Not only was this an all-paid expense trip, I was also going on this journey with my brother, Vinh, who won 1st place in 19 to 21 age group in photography as well. On this six day excursion, students from Latvia, Israel, Macedonia, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Slovakia and Kazakhstan came together for one main cause; the environment.

     The students who took part in this workshop were split into groups, each focusing on an environmental issue around Cascais, Portugal. My group was given the topic of electronic waste and as field work we went to an organization called European Recycling Platform to investigate how electronic waste is managed in Portugal. Filipa Moita was our guide and we learned that each electronic device has different materials; some may be poisonous which will require a specific treatment of recycling. 

     Although we had to report about our field work and prepare for presentations, we also had free time to explore Portugal as well; visiting Belém and Sintra. Before this entire experience and competition, I didn’t fully understand the impact of our actions and the issues the environment faces. After coming back from this workshop, I have become inspired to do more to protect the environment. 

     This short expedition has been an experience of a life time. I met the most incredible people along the way and we created unforgettable memories. I would like to thank Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE), the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), and Environmental Defence Canada for this amazing opportunity! 


Day 1 

Vinh and I, as we are about to meet up with Jen and the rest of the Canadian group

Team Canada, ready to board!
The world together, all in one place

 Day 2

Enjoying the view from my room at Cidadela Hotel
Team Canada's adventure to Belém
Portugal's sidewalk is entirely paved of limestone cobble
Afonso de Albuquerque Square
Mosterio dos Jerónimos (Jerónimos Monastery), a spectacular monument
The sunset was beautiful in Portugal
The best Portuguese tart I have ever tasted, from Pastéis de Belém. I am definitely coming back to Portugal for these

Day 3

Exploring around Hotel Baía, before inspirational speeches begins and interviews
Photographs are memories captured in time. We take pictures only to end up storing them away on hard drives and on the web, and over time, they become lost and forgotten.

Paper Bandits is a storage space for visual memories through the perspective of Ca and Connie.