Greenpeace Southeast Asia


Solar Generation helps me make a difference by itchywitch

From Solar Generation-Pilipinas

Solar GenerationAt nine o’clock in the morning my phone rang. It was Krissie, a journalist who had been contacting me all the way from Australia. She had a radio show and she wanted to interview me. INTERVIEW. ME. Me of all people! All the way from Australia she called me in the Philippines.

I couldn’t believe it was happening. Don’t these things usually happen to the “important” people “UP THERE”? Like some politician. Or some celebrity. And I am neither. I am simply just a 19-year-old… whom this journalist wanted to talk to and be heard all over Australia.

Despite the shock and butterflies in my stomach (It’s my first time to ever get an interview to be broadcast!), I went through the 20-30 minute interview over the phone. She asked me about my experience during the typhoon Ketsana and the aftermath of the whole experience. And so I did.

I was in UP Diliman, Quezon City at the time when the typhoon struck Metro Manila. I was waiting for the rain to shy away until I could go home. Unfortunately, it never did. It got worse. Apparently, I was not the only one stranded. My older sister and her boyfriend were in Manila area where they were stranded at Savemore. The flood was unbearable in the area. Transportation vehicles could not pass; buses were nearly covered in flood water. Throughout the chaos and panic because of the extreme floods all over Metro Manila, I could not contact anyone with my cellphone. Telecommunication was down and I had no idea what had been happening to my sister nor could I text my mom in Bacolod City that I was okay. Apparently, my sister and her boyfriend were both stranded there until night time.

The worst came the next day. I had news from my friends and classmates that many of them were affected by the typhoon. Greatly affected. Some lost their homes, properties, everything. In the news, many were dead, while some were missing. My friends from Marikina City were especially affected because the Marikina River Banks overflowed and almost covered the whole city overnight. One my friends had to use his prized guitar to make a whole in the ceiling so he and his family could go up their roof to get away from the flood that had risen so high inside their house that they had nowhere else to go. It was not just him. Many more had similar stories of fear, devastation and loss. Overnight, families lost everything they had.

More than that, Metro Manila is suffering from water shortage and food shortage. My sister and I have to buy water because there is no water in our street. I went to Jollibee Philcoa; they only had shanghai and pancakes. Angel’s Burger food stall across my apartment closed because their factory was flooded. I went to Rustan’s in Katipunan and Mercury Drug Store in Philcoa. There was no bread. People were panic buying. Drugstore counter lines were miles long. So many people were sick and are getting sick.

Typhoon Ketsana nearly wiped Metro Manila out of the map overnight. It left families displaced, properties destroyed, and lives tarnished forever by the continuous burst of this typhoon. We were not prepared for this. I never expected this to happen.

Because of this experience, I have become more challenged, motivated and urged to promote the campaign for climate change. As a campaigner for Solargen, I have more urgency than ever to spread awareness to the public about climate change and to pressure leaders to take responsibility in foregoing steps in reducing the carbon emissions of their respective countries.

The adverse effects of climate change are right here, right now. It has already destroyed the lives of Filipinos in my country. My countrymen and I are not prepared for such extreme weather conditions and its effects. We will remain helpless unless the leader of developed countries will take responsibility and pay for the consequences of their actions. As the leading countries, they are also leading in carbon emissions. It is unfair that developing countries like the Philippines have to pay the price.

Climate change is a threat to all of us whichever country we are from and it is a global effort to be able to address this problem.

As my message for the youth and to the leaders during the interview, I encouraged the youth particularly to take charge of their future since it would be the youth who would be greatly threatened by the effects of climate change. I asked the leaders to listen to the voices of the youth since it is they, the leaders who have the power and responsibility to answer to the mistakes they had made in the past.

I was so surprised that I was able to even answer Krissie’s questions and more overwhelmed by the fact that I was doing an interview. Nonetheless, I am so happy to be given the opportunity to share my experiences to the others and to be heard. It is such a rare chance to be able to do so, especially for a student like me. I am indeed so grateful to be a part of Solargen and through it, be able to make a difference.

Ysa Lluisma

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