by Moireen Espinosa
It has been a long COVID-19 year for all of us. Beth Gardiner of National Geographic published an article last April 2020 entitled “Pollution made COVID-19 worse. Now, lockdowns are clearing the air.” Read the article here for full details.
The Philippines was just two months into the lockdown when this article was published and we saw the effect of the lockdown to the air pollution in our country. People were posting photos on social media of how city-scapes look clearer than usual! On a similar note, temperatures have been increasing and were recorded the highest in 2020 as well! The country’s hottest temperature for 2020 was recorded in Echague, town of Isabela, at a smoldering 41.2 degrees Celsius! Read full details here.
What can we do here in the Philippines to create climate solutions, while also driving an economic recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic?
On 07 April 2021 at 9:00–10:30 AM, UPOU participated in a Global Dialog on Climate Solutions, Green Recovery and a Just Transition by hosting a webinar via Zoom. Similar events occurred in over 100 universities in 40 countries, including almost all 50 states of the USA, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. From Australia to Kyrgyzstan, Colombia to Malaysia, and South Carolina to South Africa, climate experts discussed the big, ambitious things that we can do in our own communities over the next years to help solve climate change and create jobs as we recover from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The webinar is in partnership with the Center for Environmental Policy, Bard College in New York, USA. The resource speakers of the abovementioned webinar are the following: Mr. Ralph Daniel Lumbres is an interdisciplinary visual artist, designer, educator, and woodworker; Mr. Jabez Joshua Flores is a UPOU Master of Environment and Natural Resources Management (MENRM) graduate and a candidate of PhD in Environmental Science in UPLB; Mr. Marlon Martin is the Chief of Operations at Save the Ifugao Rice Terraces Movement; and Prof. and For. Pastor Malabrigo, Jr., Associate Professor of Plant Taxonomy and Forest Biodiversity in UP Los Baños (UPLB).
The webinar was moderated by Dr. Consuelo dL. Habito and hosted by Dr. Joane V. Serrano.
And here are the three big insights – things that we need to do locally which can help solve this global problem of Climate Change. I think these three insights that I have learned from the webinar will be relevant to us individually.
First, there should be a system and/or mindset change.
Did you know that there are many ways and platforms for us to help and do our part for the collective good? There are a handful of local initiatives that we can join as individuals or as groups. Mr. Ralph Daniel C. Lumbres focused on how he used art in his initiatives on climate change. An example that he gave was his partnership with the Philippine Geographical Society. Mr. Lumbres applied the gamification process in one of his projects, which he facilitated in discussions and workshops. In the education sector, we can relate this to current and future projects that are related to climate change, especially considering that online platforms are a go-to initiative in times of the pandemic.
Second, there is and should be urgency in our actions.
Calling all plantitos and plantitas! “Is my farm beneficial to the ecosystem?” Questions like this are simple yet the answers may be complex to discuss. This was a question posed by Mr. Jabez Joshua Flores during the introduction of his segment. Although not all of us have farmlands that we own, sow, and tow — one way or the other, the pandemic paved way for people to care more for the environment through urban gardening. Personally, I have a handful of potted plants in my own apartment! It may not be as big as hectares of land, but at the end of the day, how can our individual actions – when combined – affect and effect the ecosystem that we currently live in?
Third, protect and preserve our forests.
The Philippines, albeit a small country compared to others, is an agricultural country comprising many islands. How does climate change affect not only our forests but also the indigenous people? Mr. Martin Marlon shared in his presentation three major areas of indigenous knowledge, namely: agriculture and food security, land use and environmental sustainability, and community values and customary law. Mr. Marlon further discussed that indigenous knowledge is a manifestation of the interplay of people, culture, and their natural environment. How does this relate to forest management? As mentioned by Prof. and For. Pastor L. Malabrigo, Jr. in his segment, forest management has the most potential to mitigate impacts on climate change. Most people do not think about climate change every day. Coming from the expert’s point of view, the message of what is being done – or fail to do – in the Philippines is to solve climate change and how this will have tremendous impacts on our own lives, and the lives of our children and grandchildren.
Interested to know more? The recorded video of the webinar is already uploaded for reference purposes. Please like, subscribe, and share the pages! Updates will be posted on a regular basis. The video link are as follows:
UPOU Networks – Multimedia Center Facebook Page
UPOU YouTube Channel
Edited by Joane V. Serrrano