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International confab drives for climate action efforts

In order to discuss pressing issues on climate action efforts, youth delegates from Southeast Asian Countries gathered in the first-ever climate action summit dubbed as Power Shift Philippines on March 10-12, 2017 at Patio de Cagsawa, Daraga, Albay.

A total of 79 delegates from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Cambodia participated in the said event.

In line with one of the Sustainable Development Goals laid by United Nations, the summit targeted to create and mobilize action plans relating to climate action initiatives of the youth delegates.

The Bicol University - University Student Council together with The Climate Reality Project Philippines and other partner organizations spearheaded the three-day summit composed of talks and discussions from environmentalists and climate action advocates.

A.G. Saño, a world-renowned artist and conservationist, delivered a talk about how the youth should see the world and the environment. He shared his learnings and experiences during the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) which urged him to be an advocate of climate action.

Engr. Marjorie Atole, Assistant Professor I of Partido State University; Atty. Allan V. Barcena, Manager of the Watershed Management Department; Ms. Liezel Bobadilla-Salagubang, Forester; Mr. Ludwig O. Federigan, the Executive Director of Young Environmental Forum; Mr. Vince Cinches, Oceans Campaigner of Greenpeace; Dr. Noralene Uy from Oscar M. Lopez Center, and Ms. Ma. Andrea Jane A. Pimentel were the resource speakers in the first day of the summit.

Participants expressed their excitement towards learning new ideas and meeting people through Powershift Philippines.

"Basically, I could use it to further analyze my arguments. I could also apply it to myself, though I could also share it with another person. Lastly, as a contributor to the society, at least a person could help, at least a changed person could help," Paul Lester Dellosa, a participant from the Philippines said.

A delegate from Indonesia, Rizcar Maulana, stated that he will share all the learnings he will gain from the summit through the social media to influence the youth and generate change through actions.

Meanwhile, the second day of the climate action summit, Power Shift Philippines, revolved on the discussion of environmental issues and online campaigns spearheaded by The Climate Reality Project Philippines and Rappler held Saturday, March 11, 2017 at Patio de Cagsawa.

Speaking at the said event were Rodne Galicha, the branch manager of The Climate Reality Project Philippines, Mayan Quebral of Oscar Lopez Center, Jasmin See of Alliance for Earth, and Dann Diez of Seed4Com who tackled environmental advocacies and threats people may encounter.

A community immersion at Taysan Resettlement Site, Legazpi City was conducted in the afternoon.

SHARING INSIGHTS

Galicha stated that industrialization is the most significant change he has seen in the past ten years. He reminded that there is a need for people to act together before profit. “Small things done are better than big things planned,” he added.

Quebral of Oscar Lopez Center stated that with regards to climate change, people don’t talk about prevention anymore. She stated that people need adaptation.

Meanwhile, Diez discussed about Project Enkindle while See invited the participants to join in their organization’s Break Free Campaign.

Also included in the discussion was the household carbon footprint calculator which enables the computation of carbon emission through energy consumption, transportation, and waste.

Liz Nicole, a mining engineering student from Bicol University, said that she was enlightened by the meaning of carbon footprint and at the same time, interested in computing her monthly contribution on carbon emission.

ADVOCATE ONLINE

The panel discussion did not only tackle environmental advocacies but also discussed the importance of online campaigns.

Rupert Ambil, the executive director of MovePH, Rappler’s citizen engagement arm, discussed the good practices of using social media for social action.

“Rappler's first major advocacy is to teach the value of information and use of social media for disaster risk reduction,” Ambil stated.

Rappler’s Voltaire Tupaz further discussed the significance of online presence in advocacy campaigns. Tupaz specifically talked about platforms for online environmental campaign amplification and community building.

He also reiterated the power of social media and its impact to people’s relationships in the community and that the power to change the lives of the people is in the youth’s hands. “We don't just write stories. We harness the power of the crowd,” Tupaz added.

ADDRESSING ISSUES

Ben Muni, an advocate from Greepeace, joined the discussion as he pressed on the issue of mining, coal and renewable energy.

Muni said that for people to get interested in this undertaking, explanations must be simplified to gather an audience who will join and listen.

When asked about responsible mining, Galicia stated: “This is a multi-faceted issue. We need to study this from all aspects. But we need to go back to the policies that we have.”

Pam Dela Cruz, a geology student from University of the Philippines-Diliman raised her sentiment on the issue. “It’s unfair to us, science and engineering students, who plan for the procedures and the steps to be done yet because of the advocacy, all the technicalities will be disregarded,” she stated.

However, the delegate added that they have become more aware and realized that they can be responsible enough in adapting to the inconsistencies in the environment. By Ivy Cuebillas, Gladys Ebrada and Joshua Mirabuna with reports from Alyssa Marie Bonaobra, Maria Vanessa Bernardo, Gladys Ebrada and Renzle Mae Miranda | Photos courtesy of BU University Student Council)

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