HO CHI MINH CITY, 1 APRIL 2016 Today the I Can’t campaign launches with the support of eight renowned Vietnamese singers, artists and actors emphasizing the message: “Don’t let coal pollution destroy your life.” The photo album portrays the deadly impacts of emission from coal-fired power plants on daily life [1]. The burning of coal is a major contributor of climate change and causes over 800,000 premature deaths worldwide annually [2].

In the coming months, I Can’t will continue to raise public awareness for major cities and towns affected by air pollution from coal, and inspire individuals to become more concerned about environmental issues and understand the country’s energy plans. Vietnam has the third largest pipeline of new coal plants in the world, with the government planning to build a massive 55 Gigawatts of new coal by 2030 [3]. According to a report by Harvard University, pollution from coal-fired power plants already causes 4,300 premature deaths in Vietnam annually. By 2030, this number could increase to 25,000 if all the planned coal plants are built [4].


The eight artists featured in the campaign are hugely popular in Vietnam: principal of SOUL Music and Performing Arts Academy Thanh Bui, songwriter Tien Tien, singer Trong Hieu, singer Bich Ngoc, singer Hoang Quyen, actress Diem My, international choreographer Alexander Tu and dancer Do Hai Anh. They are transformed into different characters wearing gas masks to demonstrate the struggle they will have to go through in a coal-polluted Vietnam.
“I devote myself to inspiring my students and pointing them in the right direction in life. I want them to have a clean safe environment so that they can grow and shine while pursuing their dreams. However, their dreams, life and future are seriously threatened by the worsened air pollution caused by coal. As a teacher and an artist, I feel the responsibility to speak up. Now or never” – said Thanh Bui, sharing his reason for participating in the creative campaign.

The campaign, coordinated by CHANGE with support from 350.org, Global Greengrants Fund and creative agency Rabbat, is the follow-up activity of a photo album of the same name, launched on social media in 2014, and of the Climate Action Festival POWER UP which enjoyed the participation of over 20 acclaimed artists and 1,500 youths in Ho Chi Minh City in November 2015.

Besides the focus on the eight artists, the campaign will also launch two other I Can’t photo albums focusing on family life and daily life with the participation of youths who are environmental enthusiasts from various parts of the country. The campaign also includes other activities to engage the community, such as the “Gas Mask Challenge”, the “Create I Can’t Slogan” competition and other communications activities on different social network platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This is a chance for the Vietnamese to join the fight against climate change, demand changes to the country’s energy policy and spread the message even further among the public.

Please visit website www.changevn.org, or Facebook page www.facebook.com/vietnam350 for more information about this campaign.

Hong HOANG (Ms)
350.org Vietnam Coordinator/Executive Director of CHANGE
Mobile: (+84) 903 403 686
[email protected]

[1] High resolution images are available for download here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/141445602@N07/
[2] CoalSwarm, Greenpeace, and Sierra Club. 2016. Boom and Bust 2016: Tracking the Global Coal Plant Pipeline.
[3] Prime Minister. 2016. Revised Power Development Plant VII
[4] Harvard University. 2015. Coal-fired Power Plants Research in South East Asia

Editor’s notes:
List of eight performers and their individual photo concepts are as follows:

Artist Thanh Bui – principal of SOUL Music and Performing Arts Academy: image of a teacher sitting beside his broken piano, unable to teach while his students also struggle to learn in their gas masks.

Songwriter Tien Tien: image of a young artist holding a broken guitar, feeling hopeless as she cannot continue her dream.

Singer Trong Hieu – Vietnam Idol 2015 Winner: image of a singer longing to free his voice from the gas mask and escape from the destroyed world.

Singer Bich Ngoc – Vietnam Idol 2015 Runner-up: image of a nightingale not only losing her beautiful voice, but also facing death from pollution and climate change.

Singer Hoang Quyen – Vietnam Idol 2012 Runner-up: image of a mermaid living a tragic and hopeless life as she is unable to let out her charming voice.

Actress Diem My: image of an actress unable to continue the art of acting in a world in ruins.

International choreographer Alexander Tu – Director of Performance Department at Soul: image of a dancer constrained from dancing in a broken world.

Dancer Do Hai Anh – So You Think You Can Dance 2015 Winner: image of a swan with broken wings devastated when realizing that her dancing dream has ended because of pollution and climate change.

Center of Hands-on Actions and Networking for Growth and Environment (CHANGE), registered under the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) is a Vietnamese non-profit organization. CHANGE is the official national partner of 350.org in Vietnam. The organization aims to develop and mobilize resources in order to raise awareness, change behavior and build capacity for the community to tackle environmental and climate change issues.