ECOSS recently held its second PINKAPALOOZA Block Party, celebrating businesses and diverse communities that are being empowered to be more environmentally sustainable. At the celebration, ECOSS invited employees, former and current, as well as community members to tell their environmental stories. Here is one of the night’s stories:

Yug Dabadi works for the Bhutanese Community Resource Center (BCRC). Partnerships with other community-based organizations ensures that ECOSS’ education and outreach is culturally-relevant. Photo Credit: Rachel Lee.

“नमस्ते, मेरो नाम युग दबाडी हो र म भूटानबाट |

Hi everyone! My name is Yug Dabadi, and I am a refugee from Bhutan.

To be born and grow up in Bhutan was fun. I spent my childhood days walking miles in bare foot, walking uphill, running downhill, and jumping with the little kite we made out of bamboo bark. My little legs did just fine, my lungs were strong.

I attended some years of school in Bhutan. Every single day I walked five miles to school.  This was normal to me. One day while returning home from school, I saw a man carrying a cow on his back by himself. His cow fell on the creek and could not move. That time I only wanted to be as strong as him. I asked my dad how people can be that strong, he replied smiling “we drink water from the mountains”.  It did not make much sense to me that time but now I think mountains and forests are our health. My dad had learnt that by experiencing good, I learn by reading and experiencing bad.

While in refugee camps in Nepal, everything was scarce. I saw locals felling trees and steal woods. Hot summers, monsoon floods, and drought were what I saw. While in Kathmandu, air pollution was extreme. Kathmandu was dusty with unmanaged garbage and sewer leaking on the roads. There was scarcity of water, and people drank bottled water. It was a new thing to me, in Bhutan water from creeks, rivers or springs and city supply were safe to drink.

Photo Credit: Rachel Lee.

As someone who once lived in a pristine environment and has studied graduate level microbiology, I can see what damage we as human race is doing to the environment. I wanted to take responsibility and help in whatever ways I can. ECOSS has helped me do that.

The Bhutanese Community Resource Center and ECOSS have been partners for four years. Together, we have taken hundreds of our young people to the mountains and forests. Like me, they spent most of their lives in refugee camps and only knew about nature from the stories of our elders. ECOSS has helped our community connect with nature through many experiences like fishing, camping, planting trees, habitat restoration. And as we speak, we have a group out in the mountains learning about foraging for seasonal edibles and wild berries.

ECOSS’ New Arrivals program improves lives and connects immigrants and refugees to their new environment. It has helped us change from observers to participants, and now stewards. We care and want to do our part for our shared environment. Thank you ECOSS for helping us find our home in Washington.

Thank you everyone for believing in this organization and the good it does in the world.”

Thank you Yug for sharing your story. Your success inspires ECOSS to continue promoting access to environmental sustainability for all.

Support culturally-centered community empowerment with a donation

Whether it is $5 or $50, your support will help promote champions of environmental equity and justice. Be on the lookout for the night’s other stories!