"What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so," Gore quoted Mark Twain in An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary film on climate change and global warming. Although the Philippines was never mentioned, I think the film’s message would make one think of the various consequences global warming can inflict in this country. He stressed the public’s indifference to climate change, which is attributed to insufficient knowledge. Filipinos have little to no understanding of the catastrophic outcomes of their neglect of the environment, which they might have no idea too that they are doing so.
Even without the government’s aid in promoting public awareness, we should make ourselves mindful of the things we do that harm our environment. The littlest of things, such as segregating waste, unplugging electronics and appliances when not in use, biking or walking to and from work, make a difference. In addition, I think it should be imperative for everyone to watch eye-opening documentary films like Al Gore’s. I propose that the Climate Change Commission allocate a portion of their budget toward showing these films free of charge in cinemas across the country. Likewise, it would beneficial if it is included in the science curriculum in schools.
There are existing public policies on climate change but are being neglected. Revision or stricter implementation of environmental laws – such as Republic Act No. 8749 (Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999), which prohibits incineration among other things, and Republic Act No. 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act), whose backbone is segregated waste collection – should be pushed in Congress.
As a supplement to renewable sources, nuclear power should also be reconsidered as an alternative power source. At the recently concluded United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP21, held in Paris, nuclear power was contemplated as an important climate mitigation option. Generation of electricity through nuclear energy lessens the amount of power produced from fossil fuels, consequently lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
The increase of private vehicles is directly proportional to the increasing atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases. Metro Manila’s mass transportation system should undergo a massive renovation so as to improve air quality by reduced personal vehicle use and motor vehicle emissions.
Government action is and will never be enough. Stricter implementation of deforestation laws, government subsidization of electric vehicles, housing programs for informal settlers to unclog waterways and countless others are ways our government can help in minimizing, if not eliminating, contributors to climate change. But all of these would be deemed useless if we do not start action within ourselves. Not only should we get ourselves informed, we should also get ourselves involved. Vote for politicians whose advocacies include effective climate policies. Contact your local representatives and remind them that they are in their positions for a reason, that they are “representing” you and your community and that climate change needs immediate action.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “the ozone layer is healing and should fully recover by about 2065.” There is still hope.