By Abigail Jabines, Solar Generation Coordinator

After walking 3 days under the scorching sun for the Chang(e) Caravan,

I am welcoming the thunder storm that is raging while we seek shelter

under the roof of a Buddhist temple at Nakhonratchasima Province in

Thailand.

For 15 days, I am part of a team led by Greenpeace that is traveling

250 kilometers through Thailand with 5 majestic Asian elephants from

Khao Yai National Park, a world heritage site, to Bangkok, in time for

the preparation meeting of the United Nations climate change summit

that begins in the end of the month.

Along the route of the Chang(e) Caravan, the team and I visit schools

and communities to share stories on how climate change threatens

people and the environment. We are also raising a challenge to US

President Obama and other world leaders to follow the examples of

simple citizens from Southeast Asia who decided to be part of the

solution to climate change.

One of these inspiring individuals is Um, a fourth-year student of

Silapakorn University in Petchaburi.

Like everybody in the Chang(e) Caravan, Um has a task at hand to make

sure that things runs smoothly. As part of the team that provide the

needs of the elephants, she cleans up after the stars of the show --

this means she’s responsible for shoveling elephant dung to the side

of the road!

According to Dr. Alongkot Chukeaw from the Thai Elephant Research and

Conservation Fund, Um is taking on an important task as it maintains

cleanliness while enriching the soil, as these pachyderms eat at least

2,000 kinds of vegetation.

This task is also back-breaking, especially when the 5 elephants decide

to relieve themselves at the same time. But Um is taking on her role

with dedication! Her enthusiasm for the Chang(e) Caravan is still the

same as when I first met her a day before the launch while we cleaned

the tank that now holds the water used to spray the elephants with

when their body gets to warm while walking under the sun.

As a youth, Um has managed to juggle her passion for environmental

activism and studies. She's an active volunteer of Greenpeace - Solar

Generation (www.solargeneration.org) and is currently the top student

of her university major which is Community Development.

Like Um, US President Obama is also at the top of his class. And with

this power comes great responsibilities. As a world leader, he can

break the deadlock on climate action and deliver on the “change” he

promised.

The time is ticking Mr. President – the world needs you to take

leadership on climate action by personally attending the United

Nations Climate Summit in Copenhagen this December and force decisions

that will “change” the shape of humanity’s future.