As a resident of Cainta, Rizal which frequents news headlines or contents whenever a typhoon hits Luzon, it is safe to say that I and my family can indeed experience the effects of climate change. In the last three years, the effects have become more definite and inconvenient. Typhoons were frequent and stronger, and so does the floods, while the heat has become unbearable even beyond summer season.
Miles away in Baler, Aurora where my relatives reside, the effects of climate change are destructive and harrowing. I can recall the moment my Aunt broke down because for the first time, the rice fields owned by the family were submerged after two super typhoons hit the area in a span of six days. Not only livelihoods were affected, but also education as schools took weeks to re-open.
Recently, as a program development officer of a non-profit organization that co-organizes an annual summit for youth leaders, we conducted a poll on which of the Sustainable Development Goals the youth are most interested about and believe they can contribute to most. Of the 3, 209 respondents, 49% responded with Climate Action which took it to Top 4. We can only conclude from this poll alone that young people of today are aware of climate change and its effects, and are keen on finding ways on how to contribute or take action.
While we are waiting for the current President to approve the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, it will not hurt for us, citizens, to take our own actions to curb its effects. In simple ways such as spreading helpful information on climate action, we can help in advancing the message that climate change is real and it is affecting all of us. We can also participate in urging our local leaders in LGUs to plan, approve, and implement Program, Activities, and Projects (PAPs) that supports climate action. Not only is this sustainable but more convenient in the long run; as the old saying goes, “prevention is better than cure.”
We can organize a mangrove tree-planting project, or volunteer in one. Avoid using plastic materials. Recycle, because climate action starts at home. There are a lot of ways an individual can contribute, and together we can do better. When it comes to outcomes in our plight to combatting climate change, we can always hope for the best, but we must also work for the best: for the people, for the communities, and for Earth, our only planet.