Arts & Culture, Design & Innovation

Greeneration Summit: Gearing The Youth For Climate Change


Muni on this:

Given what we’ve done to the Earth, does it really still have a chance at survival? And why should we care?

Last November 22, 2012, I had the privilege of attending the Greeneration Summit, a national gathering for youth empowerment on Climate Change, organized by the Climate Change Commission (CCC) for National Climate Change Consciousness Week.

In the welcome address and opening remarks, Hon. Maria Cynthia Rose Bautista of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) shared that we’re still emitting higher amounts of carbon in 2012 vs 2002 in spite of our Climate Change mitigation and adaptation efforts, while Hon. Heherson Alvarez of CCC said that we’d need 3 planets to support the Earth’s population. According to CCC’s AVP on Climate Change, by the year 2050, we will experience the irreversible effects of Climate Change.

I must say, the future is looking pretty bleak for us abusive human earthlings.

Build Green Karma

The whole world is now suffering the bad karma of years and years of greedy capitalism, destructive tourism, and superfluous consumerism. And while it may be largely contributed to by monster-sized corporations or tour operators, every individual also contributes to this with the choices we make everyday.

I don’t know if we can really prevent more of the unusual weather occurrences from happening, but we won’t know unless we try now, won’t we? And with the young, impassioned leaders lending the youth a voice in government today, and the Climate Change Commission’s more accessible lifestyle approach to addressing Climate Change, I am hopeful that more progressive ideas and positive action will be introduced into what is largely an archaic body.

Young Movers in Government

Naderev Saño of the Climate Change Commission

Hon. Naderev  Saño of the Climate Change Commission shared a lot of interesting factoids like:

  • There is a projected 2-5°C increase in global temperature over the next 100 years, which will lead to a hastened melting of the polar ice caps, flooding and extreme weather conditions / disturbances.
  • In a 2011 world-wide report, the Philippines was found to be the 3rd most vulnerable country to Climate Change.
  • In research concluded in 1999, only 4.3% of the country’s corals are in excellent condition – and that was 13 years ago. While in 1996, 90% of Philippine fish stock was found to be depleted.
  • In 2005, a measure of the human ecological footprint states that we’re consuming 1.5x the capacity of our planet.

These are all very alarming facts, and we really didn’t need to wait for it to come to this point for us to start caring a little more about the effects of our daily decisions on the planet.

Leon Flores - National Youth Commission

I also loved the approach of the spirited Hon. Leon Flores III, chairman and chief executive officer of the National Youth Commission on Climate Change, as it mirrors the approach we try to adopt here at Muni PH.

Chairman Flores shared how we need to make Climate Change three things:

  1. A Conversation
  2. A Consciousness
  3. A Culture

We need to talk about it, raise awareness. It is no longer just a conversation for conservation groups or the government. It should be at coffee shops, dinner tables, road trips. We need to look at third bottom lines – or the impact of each action on the environment – not just for social entrepreneurs, but consumers alike. And we need change – a change in archaic, outdated frames of mind and traditions – and a new, proactive, citizen-powered approach to mitigating Climate Change.

Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to stay around for the entire summit, but I do believe that it was an effective event in gathering the nation’s youth and empowering them to address Climate Change.

The youth at the greeneration summit

Commissioner Saño shared a quote: “The Earth is one, but the world is not”. We must come together if we are to even hope that we can prevent even more hazardous effects of Climate Change from happening. And then maybe, just maybe, we can live on this planet a little longer, a little better for humans, animals, and plants alike.

[Author’s note: I do wish that the Climate Change Commission was also more mindful about the goodie bags handed out to attendees, particularly the rather redundant laminated handouts on their 7 strategies to address Climate Change. Just a thought. – UPDATE: See comments below on the Climate Change Commission’s action with regard to the said handouts.]