Filipino Youth Beyond Paris (and yes, youth pa rin ako)

Ang suwerte ng kabataan ngayon. Ang dami nilang opportunities for youth engagement. Basta may event o program na meant for youth participants, tsine-check ko kaagad ang age qualification. Hindi na kasi ako pasok sa Philippine definition pero sa UN, youth pa ako so wapakels ako sa inyo, haha! Joke lang.

Anyway, inorganisa ng Climate Reality Project Philippines ang “Filipino Youth Beyond Paris: Acting on Climate, from Paris to Kigali and beyond,” isang climate action conference para sa mga youth (yes!). Ninais din nitong pag-usapan ang national youth statement on climate na ibibigay sa Philippine delegation sa 23rd Conference on Parties sa Bonn, Germany.

Hindi iyan isang bonggang party. Meeting iyan at negosasyon patungkol sa Paris Agreement. Ang Agreement na ito ay naglalayong i-limit ang pag-init ng mundo below two degrees at tinatarget nga natin ay 1.5 degrees kasi just a slight increase in temperature could mean the end of the world as we know it. OA?! Pero seriously, remember Yolanda? Bagyo pa more ang dala nito.

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Picture ng aming mock negotiation (Photo from Climate Reality Philippines).

Eh, ano naman iyong Kigali? Bale siyudad ito sa Rwanda kung saan na-ammend iyong Montreal Protocol. Iyong Montreal Protocol ay nagpa-phase out ng mga ozone-depleting substances. Dahil walang effect sa ozone ang hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) ginawa siyang substitute as refrigerant pero powerful greenhouse gas pala siya. So doon sa Kigali Amendment, kailangang i-phase out na rin ang HFCs. Gets?

Policy work can actually be exciting pag naiintindihan mo ang mga galawang nagaganap. Isa pa importante rin siya kasi ito iyong nagiging basehan ng mga pagbabagong ninanais natin. At sa mga policy work na ito, siyempre dapat involved ang all sectors including the youth. Kasi nga, tayo raw iyong pag-asa ng bayan na paulit-ulit binabanggit na para bang nakalimutan na natin. Kasi feeling nila puro selfie ang alam ng mga millenials. Pero sa totoo lang, sa tingin ko mas empowered at proactive ang mga kabataan ngayon, which is an awesome thing!

So balik tayo sa climate action, you want to know what you can do? Check out 101 ways to fight climate change. Sali ka rin sa iba’t-ibang youth initiatives at sabihan mo ako kung merong event pang-youth, iyong UN definition ha, hehe! But at the end of the day, bata o matanda, lahat tayo may magagawa para masolusyonan ang climate change. And the time to act is NOW!

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Advocating for ecological agriculture and mindful consumption

Last year, I was inspired to learn about the positive side of technology in Rappler’s Innovation + Social Good event. This year, I got to actively participate in the Social Good Summit (SGS) as I was able to share the campaign of #IAmHampasLupa.

If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the video:

Rappler also wrote about our story here. Thank you, Rappler!

The SGS with the theme, “#HackSociety 2017: Innovate with purpose, leave no one behind,” focused on media and democracy; environment and climate change; peace, governance, and local development; and public health and well-being. It featured innovative solutions to society’s real life problems. It was also an opportunity for different groups to showcase the projects and the work that they do contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking of SDGs, The 2030 Project organized “LEADERS Unite 2017: #OurGoals.” This is a youth initiative committed to supporting the attainment of the United Nation’s 17 SDGs Agenda by 2030. For this activity, I was invited as a Youth Champion for SDG#12: Responsible Consumption and Production where I discussed how our consumption behavior can contribute to climate change.

Both of these events were a reaffirmation of how this generation, branded as indifferent millennials, is actually doing its part to solve the problems of the world. So despite all the negativity these days, it’s nice to know that there are still a lot of good things happening around us.

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Let’s #BeInconvenient Together

Why is truth inconvenient? We know that climate change is real but why do some people deny it? Why don’t we seem to care much?

Maybe because we don’t belong to the underprivileged sectors of society who are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Maybe our priorities are corporate agenda and economic development which doesn’t factor in sustainability.

Maybe we feel that climate change is too big an issue and is out of our hands.

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Photo from https://inconvenientsequel.tumblr.com/

As a follow-up to Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” a documentary focusing on the realities of climate change, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” premiered in the Philippines on August 28, 2017 at Trinoma. The movie further takes a look at the urgency of the issue and likewise highlights the Climate Reality Project, the climate negotiations held in Paris, and the shift to renewable energy.

And while we watch this sequel and is reminded of the devastation brought about by climate-related disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan, Hurricane Harvey wreaks havoc in the US and just recently, devastating floods hit India, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

Facing these realities of climate change can be overwhelming. But according to Al Gore, despair is another form of denial. He draws hope from individuals and groups doing what they can, contributing to climate action.

Maybe we have a better capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Maybe we don’t see the connection of how so-called development contributes to climate change. Maybe we feel helpless and even indifferent. But as emphasized by Al Gore, the climate crisis is a moral and spiritual challenge to us all. And therefore we have to fight like the world depends on it because our world depends on it.

There’s still a lot of work to be done. Be inspired by the growing number of Climate Reality Leaders, environmentalists, and advocates fighting for the planet. Let’s #BeInconvenient together!

Catch the movie exclusively shown at Ayala Malls Cinemas (Trinoma and Glorietta 4).

Wondering what you can do? Check out “101 ways to fight climate change and support the Paris agreement.”

Turned off from switching off?

It all began in Australia in 2007 in a lights off event. Now, dubbed as “Earth Hour,” it became an annual worldwide movement organized by WWF encouraging people to switch off their lights for an hour as a support for climate change action.

But is this simply another feel-good event that doesn’t really have any significant impact?

Critics say that the reduction in power consumption is negligible. Well, that’s true. And Earth Hour events when not managed well actually contribute to a lot of waste generated and more energy consumed.

But the whole point of Earth Hour is raising awareness on climate change and other environmental issues. Because frankly, there are still climate deniers, people who are oblivious to how we are destroying our planet, and those who need a little nudging to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.

So I say switch off the lights. As you go beyond the hour and be more proactive in conserving energy.

Switch off the lights and let this be your vote in support for cleaner sources of energy.

Switch off the lights and continue doing something to combat climate change by reducing the stuff you buy, by being a responsible consumer, by re-using and recycling, and by lessening waste.

Switch off the lights and be part of this collective environmental movement.

Let the naysayers be for at the end of the day, taking action is better than inaction.

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Climate change could ruin Valentine’s Day forever

I have always thought that romantic love is overrated but that won’t stop capitalists and corporations from taking advantage of so-called “heart’s day.” Valentine’s Day originated from a Roman fertility festival, became Christianized in honor of St. Valentine, and now is a major marketing ploy for those selling flowers, chocolates, stuffed toys, cards, and other gifts. Since we’re at it, we might as well talk about a much more important issue that could be the end of Valentine’s Day as we know it – climate change.

You see all those flowers you love to receive on Valentine’s, they could go instinct. Why? Because bees and other pollinators which contribute to the growth of fruits, vegetables, and flowering plants are disappearing. Thanks to climate change, the destruction of their habitat, and other factors.

For chocolates, another staple for Valentine’s, we could run out of these because climate change and poverty are driving cocoa farmers to produce other crops.

And how about those romantic getaway destinations? They could be destroyed by climate change induced typhoons, floods, and droughts.

So while you’re preoccupied today to be as romantic as you can to your sweetheart, I hope you could also spare a little love for the earth. Check out these Green Valentine’s Gift Ideas.

Renewables in the Philippines

Here’s the lowdown on climate change. It is real. You may deny it all you want but it won’t simply go away. The increase of global temperatures leads to catastrophic weather disasters. Greenhouse gas emissions are the culprit. Around 50% of which come from the energy sector powered mainly by coal and other fossil fuels. Thus the campaign to shift to renewables.

The energy mix of the Philippines is composed of 30% renewable energy (RE) installed capacity, 30% natural gas, 30% coal, and 10% oil. According to Atty. Jay Layug, Chairman of National Renewable Energy Board, the target for 2030 is to increase RE installed capacity from 30% to 50%. This is possible as the country has a lot of potential for renewables namely biomass, geothermal, solar, hydro, and wind.

However, as explained by Atty. Layug in a forum, there are challenges and mostly it’s the cost. Coal with its Php 3 to Php 4 generation rate is ideal for base load (minimum level of demand on an electrical grid over 24 hours). Hydro and geothermal could compete with coal cost-wise but it’s not easy to build dams plus there are also NCIP (National Commission on Indigenous Peoples) issues to deal with. For geothermal, we have already tapped most of our reservoir.

How about solar? We can use this energy source at daytime. It can be stored but the price of battery is prohibitive. Nevertheless, solar can replace the more expensive diesel.

We should understand that the low cost of coal is because the negative impacts to health and the environment are not captured in the price. Carbon pricing, putting cost to carbon pollution, can give us a clearer picture of how costly coal really is.

We can still develop as a nation if we stop using coal and other fossil fuels. If we think long-term, in the context of sustainable development, it can be done.

Ratifying the Paris Agreement

Climate change is real. I suppose we have already established that. And the Paris Agreement, though not perfect, is a welcome attempt to combat climate change.

One key point of the Paris Agreement, as summarized by The Guardian, is limiting the temperature rise to 1.5C. The layman may not understand how that is important but let’s just say that a mere 0.85C increase of temperature spells death through catastrophic weather occurrences so we could imagine how worse it could get. We have, however, already reached 1C and according to data, this would continue on.

There are commitments of reducing carbon emissions, the culprit of climate change, but they are simply promises. Reduction of emissions would in a sense, stymie our development as claimed by President Duterte although the agreement recognizes that peaking will take longer for developing countries. So I guess that allows us to continue trashing the planet? Well there is also a provision on financial support expected to help developing countries adapt to climate change and transition to clean energy.

The Philippines is one of the 197 nations which signed the Paris Agreement. However, we haven’t ratified it yet. To date, 92 parties already did. For a vulnerable developing country such as ours, ratifying the Paris Agreement would let us fully engage and negotiate with other parties so that gaps in the treaty may be addressed.

Again, the Paris Agreement is far from perfect but it’s better than nothing. At the end of the day, curbing climate change is dependent on humanity’s collective political will. We either wallow in the blame game or we can choose to take action. We decide.

 

Take action now and sign the petition asking for the Philippines to ratify the Paris Agreement.

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