Filed under: Philippines, Stop climate change | Tags: 350.org, greenpeacebuzz, International Day of Action against Climate Change, PRRM, solar generation
350.org reported on their website that last 24 October, people in 181 countries came together for the most widespread day of environmental action in the planet’s history. At over 5200 events around the world, people gathered to call for strong action and bold leadership on the climate crisis.
Looking at the computer screen and the wide array of images of climate change related activities in the Philippines makes me feel both encouraged and at the same time alarmed.
The site of the various climate actions that happened over the weekend encourages me as I find it really good that the issue of climate change or global warming is no longer in the language of a handful of eco-warriors like Greenpeace, but at the same time I am also because the actions it also means that the broadening of people’s awareness on climate change also means that it has now evolved into a far greater problem that is no longer confined to environmentalists but also to that of regular folks.
How bad is it?
If we are to define what is climate change its basically the drastic change in the global temperature or climate where greenhouse gases that warm the Earth’s surface are being drastically contained within our atmosphere in the same way that a greenhouse stores up heat, therefore upsetting the natural balance of things in our ecology.
Climate change is caused by what scientists call the greenhouse e¬ffect which is the accumulation of warmth in the atmosphere.
Without it, our planet would not be habitable. If some of the warmth reflected from the earth was not ‘captured’ by natural greenhouse gases, our planet’s surface would be 33 degrees Celsius colder. The problem is that we human beings are now releasing more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and this is seriously upsetting the delicate natural balance.
Average global temperature has risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius since the start of the industrial revolution. This may not sound like much, but the consequences are enormous. Glaciers and polar icecaps are shrinking year by year island nations and low-lying communities are at risk to increase in sea level; and extreme weather events and cyclones are on the rise. Climate change is already damaging ecosystems and endangering the lives and livelihood of millions of people.
A very vivid description of how we humans contribute to climate change can be seen in the image of an addict be it alcohol or illegal drugs where climate change is the symptom of an addiction that we humans have and that is our addiction to fossil fuels and to a highly carbon intensive lifestyle. And it should be treated in the same way as all addictions and that is to ‘quit’.
If we are to look at it from an environmentalists’ perspective it would also mean that the way upon which we consume and degrade our ecosystem has now elevated to a level that has escalated beyond that of local pollution in one sense it means that it has gone now to a level that it has become a global phenomenon that neither recognizes nor respects geographical, territorial, political, ethnic and ideological boundaries.
This problem is unlike anything seen in the past. It affects the whole planet and threatens human beings living in all countries on all continents.
How does this affect us?
Climate change is a reality. All of us can attest to the sudden unpredictability of the weather. Today, our world is hotter than it has been in two thousand years. Scientists have predicted that by the end of the century, if current trends continue, the global
temperature will likely climb higher than at any time in the past two million years.
The bad news there is that according to experts Philippines is among the countries in the world that is most vulnerable and least prepared in terms of adopting to the effects of climate change, and the recent extreme events that we’ve experienced are but indicators of how susceptible and helpless we are indeed if climate change is not acted upon immediately.
The implications of such impacts would mean a more difficult life for all of us in the future. Like in the case of extreme weather events like violent typhoons and heavy rainfall if combined with the problem of deforestation would mean more landslides that would cause damage to both human and animal life on the planet. Or take the example of droughts combined with sea-level rise happening on top of the present crisis of water pollution, wherein we would be forced to buy more expensive clean water for drinking (and I am not even factoring in water pollution…)
Furthermore climate change also becomes an issue of social justice as the people that are most vulnerable to climate change are that of the economically challenged.
Einstein once said that in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. Greenpeace is among those who believe that we can do something about climate change. We believe that if we started it ourselves, we can stop it ourselves, too. The necessary technologies already exist.
We only need a realization on our part to step up to the challenge of climate change, by changing the way we live and at the same time encouraging those in positions of power to stand up to the challenge of securing and implementing good policies in the government as well as in the private sectors that pushes factors in clear reductions on Co2 emissions and in the protecting the remaining ancient forests. To borrow a verse from an Earth First! Musician named Robert Hoyt, we need to “step on the breaks and make a u-turn from the brink”.
“Must I paint you a picture?”
Although originally the quote was from a love song that Billy Bragg wrote in his album Worker’s Playtime, I cannot help but use the quote to illustrate what I at times see as the utter disregard by global decision makers when it comes to climate action.
The large turnout of climate change related activities that is no longer confined to ‘the usual suspects’ like Greenpeace and other environmental/activist groups can be best explained with our country’s recent bout with Ondoy, Pepeng and Ramil.
Hopefully the actions would not be spur of the moment activities that came about because the recent storms have roused our emotions into putting the issue of climate change top of mind in the long list of problems that need to be addressed in the global level.
Hopefully, this is but a build-up for something way bigger…
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