Climate Reality and Filipinos

By: Climate Reality Mentor, Jaazeal Jakosalem

Our country is situated in one of the vulnerable areas of the Earth, along the typhoon belt of the Asia-Pacific region. It is a living testimony of the climate crisis.

Reality
Climate related disasters can be felt on all of the islands. Typhoons most greatly impact life in the Philippines. We have almost too many to name. Reality is telling us that typhoons are becoming stronger and more violent, surpassing even the estimated limit of the 'strongest level' from super to mega typhoons. The devastating effects of climate change are literally killing our people.

This is a reality in our country, climate change is changing Filipino lives. After the devastation left by Typhoon Haiyan, we are now conscious of the need to build typhoon-resilient houses, the advantage of disaster-mapping for our islands, and even constructing bunkers for disasters.

From wilderness to reality
The climate campaign of Nobel Laureate and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore started as a lone visionary, his was a voice from the wilderness. And yet, so compelling that people started thinking about the climate crisis. For a long time prior, we did not hear about how the melting polar ice cap connected with our tropical climate, we did not measure the rising sea levels happening right in our backyard - all that we were aware of was that we were catching less fish. Indeed, Mr. Gore facilitated the clarion call making us aware that there is no Planet B, telling us straight that we need to protect the 'blue marble' from being a 'red planet.' His love for the planet started young and was emboldened by the astonishing events of 'reality' happening in his lifetime. His film, "An Inconvenient Truth" highlights the awakening of making us be vigilant of the 'reality' - that climate change is real.

Al Gore will be in the country to train the next batch of Climate Reality Leaders on March14-16, 2016 The participants come from many different backgrounds including environment, academe, government and cso. A majority of the participants are from the Philippines.

Now is the time
The time to make a difference is now. The Paris Climate Agreement will be signed a month from now on April 22, 2016 and our country as an active participant will get to sign the agreement - once and for all.

The Climate Reality Project's role in highlighting the events leading to the Paris agreement was invaluable. The words and actions of trained Climate Reality leaders across the globe fueled the hearts and minds and of people around the world working to combat climate change.

The goal of the Paris Agreement, put simply, is to stop the deterioration of our planet. The Filipino people have suffered enough from environmental destruction--many communities have been destroyed by mining companies, pollution from factories, devastation of the remaining forests, indiscriminate destruction of our oceans (an important food source).

The Climate Reality Project calls for a global awareness and recognition that we need solutions to stop the warming of the Earth. The campaign provides the template for maximizing renewable energy, the fact-based climate change awareness, and grassroots organizing for global climate action initiatives.

Every Climate Reality Leader is a catalyst for change, from the boardroom to the remotest communities of the planet - encouraging communities to act for the climate.

Filipinos for Climate
The reality of the climate crisis is already present in the social consciousness of Filipinos. We are aware that the Earth is deteriorating.

The reality of the climate crisis, proven by the catastrophic impact of typhoons and other disasters have made us aware that the time to act is now, not tomorrow. We must activate climate action in behalf of the voiceless people and planet.

The reality of the climate crisis, should convince our political and institutional leaders to respond seriously to the Paris Climate Agreement - by stopping the construction of coal-fired power plants, embrace the renewable models of our power structure, respond to climate adaptation.

About Brother Jaazeal Jakosalem:

Brother Jaazeal lives in the Philippines and has also worked with Catholics and people of other faiths to combat climate change. He is especially active in engaging young people in the Philippines to raise consciousness of environmental destruction and solutions for a greener future through art-making.