Baguio high school students launch climate strike
BAGUIO CITY –– Saying they are fighting for their future, about 200 high school students and Baguio environmentalists launched the city leg of a global climate strike to prod world governments to reduce carbon emissions and reduce global warming.
The students, many of them from the Saint Louis University, participated in the campaign called “Baguio rising for climate action,” which denounces nations and big corporations that fail to address “the heat waves, violent storms, warmer oceans, vanishing coastal towns, the extinction of species and raging forest fires” plaguing the world today.
These disasters were committed in the name of profit for which impoverished counties like the Philippines are suffering the most, said Cyrene Reyes, one of the crusade’s local co-convenors.
Farmers, fisherfolk, and indigenous Filipinos were hit hard by the recent droughts and by typhoons Pepeng (2009) and Ompong (2018), which are extreme weather events that killed people and damaged properties and food stocks, she said.
The language of discourse regarding climate change has changed because “we are now talking about a climate crisis and a climate emergency,” said fellow convenor Victoria Bautista.
Citing the 2018 report of the intergovernmental panel for climate change, Bautista said slow reforms or inaction regarding fossil fuels and deforestation has led to rising by 1 degree Celsius of the planet’s temperature.
“When there is an emergency, you run to the hospital. When your normal body temperature of 37 degrees rises by a digit that means fever. We are no longer asking why is this happening. We are asking when will the worst happen? And what exactly will happen,” she told the teenagers at the launch program at the compound of the Baguio Bishop’s Residence.
“Our ambition is to keep the planetary temperature at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” Bautista said.
“At the rate we are going, we Wil likely breach that target as early as 2030 or 2040. You (teens) will be 27 years old by the time the temperature reaches that level in 2030,” she told the high school audience.
Many Filipinos still refuse to entertain the notion that they must be responsible for the climate, Bautista said. “I told a lady one time about the Rising temperature and she replied, ‘We can use the air conditioner.’”/lzb
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