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October 7, 2014

Final Call: Walk The Climate Talk

7On going right now is Climate Walk which cries for climate justice, that is, calling on everyone concerned to respond urgently to the deteriorating condition of the earth due to global warming and climate change. While talks regarding the issue are relentless in the United Nations, individual countries, Non-governmental Organizations (NGO), People’s Organizations (PO), and Church Organizations (CO), are all contributing their voices and resources to this cause. Furthermore, some individuals, like Commissioner Naderev Sano, who is leading the Climate Walk, are intensifying the awareness and the need for a unified action.

Climate Walk was launched in the early morning of October 2, 2014 near the carabao statues at the Luneta Park. Commissioner Yeb Sano, joined by two other Climate Commission members, Heherson Alvarez and Dingdong Avanzado, led various concerned organizations in intensifying the action in obtaining climate justice. The move is promoted as a walk, “From Kilometer Zero to Ground Zero,” referring to the zero kilometer mark in Luneta to the center of Yolanda’s devastation, Tacloban City. The “climate walkers”, about 30 of them, are estimated to walk about 1,000 kilometers in 40 days. Everyday they will walk in the morning, give some talks in the afternoon and rest in the evening. Parishes along the way, with the help of the Ministry of Ecology of the Archdiocese of Manila, will take care of the accommodations of the climate walkers.

 

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Another climate walk was supposed to have happened around Manila last September 19. However, due to inclement weather, the walk which would have included His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal G. Tagle, D.D., was postponed. A mass presided by the cardinal, a sharing by Commissioner Sano regarding his experiences, especially his recent visit to the Arctic, and a “salo-salo” followed after. It was supposed to synchronize with the “Climate March” event before the start of the Climate Summit in New York City.

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“Walk the climate talk,is the battle cry. A lot of talks had been done but few actions and implementations are happening. It seems that this problem of lack of committed human action had invaded even these people who had been tasked and given the power to address them. Every year, about six international meetings are being done. Yet, arriving at a concrete and common action is still hanging and long in coming. Even locally, our Congress had created a lot of laws to address environmental concerns. However, these beautifully crafted laws are left unimplemented, if not disregarded. Some of these laws are: Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999 (R.A 8749), Philippine Solid Waste Management Program of 2001 (R.A. 9003), and The Renewable Energy Act of 2008 (R.A. 9513).

5The Clean Air Act is being taken for granted as evidenced by the burning of thrash and other materials. R.A. 9003 is supposed to be spearheaded and implemented by the local government officials. Yet, they are the ones in violation of some provisions by still contracting a garbage collecting company and by not instituting segregation practices in the community. Lastly, the Renewable Energy Act, the supposed “wonder fuel” of the Philippines due to its high potential in renewables, did not proceed as expected after the passage of the law. Add to that the mixed signals being sent by our present president who either doubts it, will give it a chance, fully support it, or just issuing statements for the press.

The climate change issue is a global issue that requires a global response. Global meetings agree that it is real and had been caused by human activities. Nations also agree that there is urgency in addressing them and sacrifices must be made. It is also unquestionably believed that the devastations will be beyond what we can measure. Thus, as far as principles and basic things are concerned, we are knowledgeable and aware. Just one thing is lacking: common committed and sustained action. And it happens to be the better part.

In our younger days, we say, “Puro ‘wento, wala naming ‘wenta!” (All talks, no action!)

 

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