Millennials tapped to talk about, act on climate change
Climate change cannot be stopped or reversed, but there is something that people, particularly the youth, can do to minimize its effects even through small and simple acts.
This was what actor and National Youth Commission (NYC) commissioner Dingdong Dantes stressed during the launch of the #NowPH (Not On Our Watch) campaign at the UP Bahay ng Alumni in Diliman, Quezon City Tuesday afternoon.
#NowPH is an advocacy of NYC and the Climate Change Commission (CCC) that aims to gather at least a million signatures from the youth sector to urge world leaders to make firm stand on addressing climate change.
Saying that everyone should be included in the battle against climate change, Dantes said the campaign would engage, rally and deliver the voice of the youth in the upcoming climate talks in Paris in December.
“#NowPH aims to engage the youth especially in the grasroots para mas mapag-usapan nila, para magkaroon ng diskusyon. It will rally the voice of the Filipino youth toward the climate change conference in Paris. It aims to deliver—iko-consolidate ang boses ng lahat ng Pilipino. Mahalagang mahalaga ang boses natin ngayon hanggang December papuntang Paris,” Dantes said.
Urging young people to talk about climate change online, he said the social media will be one of the most important platforms to convey the campaigns in the digital age.
“Personally, I would still like to see my children enjoy the beauty of our environment,” said Dantes, who is expecting his first child with wife, actress-host-model Marian Rivera.
Noting the initiative of young people in international mass protest actions such as the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, NYC Chairperson Gregorio Ramon Tingson called on the Filipino millennial generation to take the lead and make a big step forward in the fight against climate change.
“Kapag kailangan mo ng stellar major na pagbabago laging kabataan ang inaasahan… Today is another opportunity for young people to be trailblazing, to push the envelope when it comes to climate change,” Tingson said.
“It takes a lot of effort but we know we can do this—to set the pace and say this has been affecting us and we will put an end to this,” he added.
CCC vice chaiperson and secretary Lucille Sering said the government needed the help of young people and celebrity ambassadors to turn more focus on the pressing environmental issue.
“Not in our watch will we allow an increase in temp above two degrees… We will be defined by how well we survive, not how bad we suffer,” Sering said.
“Dadalhin po natin ang signature na one million sa Paris at sasabihin natin sa mga Pranses, utang na loob, ‘wag na tayong magpatumpik-tumpik pa,” she added, noting that the campaign has garnered about 30,000 signatures so far.
Campaign organizers also invited celebrities and personalities which they called “#NowPH pillars of climate change action” to put across their message and promote ways to lower carbon emission.
Major Mario Jose Chico, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ peace process office, said the issue of climate change was something personal to him because his family was affected by the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda.
“Ang climate change ay hindi tayong mga Pilipino lamang. Kailangan natin ang tulong ng buong mundo,” Chico said.
Ben Muni, environmentalist and climate and energy campaigner of Green Peace Philippines, highlighted the importance of using renewable energy to lessen carbon emission.
“Ang pangunahing pinagmumulan ng carbon ay ang pagsusunog fossil fuels na ginagamit natin para sa kuryente… Ito ay tungkol sa ating kinabuksan, ito ay tungkol sa ating bansang Pilipinas,” Muni said.
Transgender and LGBT rights advocate Trixie Maristela, winner of Eat Bulaga’s “Super Sireyna” pageant, said she wants her future children to explore the beauty of the Philippines without being hindered by the adverse effects of climate change.
“I want my fiture kids to explore the world, to enjoy the beautiful beaches that we have in the Philippines. I don’t want them to be limited by the effects of climate change… I want them to explore and that will only be possible if we will work together,” Maristela said.
Echoing Maristela’s focus on family, rapper Gloc 9 added: “I support #NowPH dahil ako po ay isang tatay at masasabi kong I am for families showing their love for each other, at hindi dahil sa mga tragedies mahahadlangan ang oras para sa pamilya.”
Radio and television personality Sam YG, meanwhile, said everyone can participate in curbing climate change even through simple ways, such such as plugging of unused appliances.
“Lahat naman tayo gusto ng forever pero hindi natin ginagawa ‘yung part natin… Sana we do these small things na pwede naman nating gawing lahat. Oo merong forever pero ‘yung forever nakadepende sa ating lahat,” he said.
Broadcaster Jiggy Manicad, who promoted waste segregation, said his traumatizing coverage of Yolanda in Leyte made him realize the urgency of the climate change issue and the corresponding action needed to alleviate it.
“Hindi po ako natatakot para sa aking sarili pero sa mga bata na hindi makikita ‘yung magandang mundo natin,” Manicad said. “’Yung segregation po nagsisinuka sa ating tahana. ‘Pag naipon natin parang alkansya, mapapakinabangan bandang huli.”
Highlighting the importance of using energy efficient appliances, Renee Karunungan, communications director of Dakila, said no single person or group has the key to achieving “climate justice.”
“Ang problema ng klima ay problema ng isang sistema–walang isang tao ang may hawak ng solusyon, dapat isama ang kabataan sa paghahanap ng hustisyang pangklima,”
Young actress Janine Gutierrez urged her fellow youth not to be disheartened or discouraged by the big challenge ahead of them.
“Minsan nakakapanghina ng loob kapag puro negatibo ang nakikita. Kung sabay sabay tayong kikilos malaki talaga ang epekto,” she said.
Citing American politician and environmentalist Al Gore, ABS-CBN host and weatherman Kim Atienza added: “The age theory is finished. We are now in the age of consequence.”
The #NowPH campaign was also supported by the Embassy of France, United States Agency for International Development, Friedrich Naumann Foundation, and various government agencies and non-government organizations. TVJ
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