Young ecowarriors fight coal
LUCENA CITY—The Church started a program here to turn the youth into ecology warriors as it continued to play a key role in raising awareness on the hazards of continued use of coal as a source of energy.
The Church program coincided with the global campaign called 350.org, which calls on investors to shun coal not only because of environmental concerns but also because coal is no longer a feasible investment area in many parts of the world.
In Quezon province, at least 35 youngsters took part in the first Church-initiated “Ecology Youth Camp” in Atimonan town to prepare them for their role in fighting climate change.
“Youth education has always been one of the most effective tools to combat the destructive potential of climate change,” said Jenny Tuazon, digital campaigner at Greenpeace Philippines.
“There’s a need for us to cultivate understanding among members of this generation because this fight is a long-term one,” she said in an online interview.
Youths from the towns of Atimonan, Plaridel, Buenavista and Pagbilao composed the first batch of the ecowarriors camp held on May 10-12.
“The younger generation is tech-savvy; we only need to provide them the proper tools,” Tuazon said.
After the camp, the young ecowarriors staged a protest march in Atimonan against a proposed power plant in the town which would bring to three the number of coal-fired plants in the province.
The plant would be built on an 80-hectare land in the village of Villa Ibaba.
Plant proponents had originally planned to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) combined cycle plant, but shifted to coal in the absence of government support for LNG.
More than 30 families near the plant site had resettled at a relocation site also in the same village.
In a statement, Atimonan One Energy Inc. (A1E), the plant developer, said the number of families was more than half of 72 households occupying the proposed site of the project.
A1E said the project would generate jobs for residents and “create a multiplier effect on the economy.”
But Fr. Warren Puno, head of Atimonan parish’s environmental desk, said that it was “truly worrying” for the province to host a third coal plant.
Two coal plants are already operating in Quezon—a 735-megawatt plant in Pagbilao town that is being expanded to generate 420 MW more and another plant generating 1,500 MW in Mauban town, along the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
Last week, protesters gathered in key areas in Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao to rally against continued dependence on coal for energy.
In a statement, lawyer Aaron Pedrosa, energy working group head of Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, said dependence on fossil fuel would lead to more human deaths. —DELFIN T. MALLARI JR.
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