The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I has recently released the Climate Report 2021. This report reaffirmed what we already know, that humans have caused the climate crisis, that some of these changes are irreversible, and that these changes are happening at an unprecedented rate. However, there’s still hope—we can still change the story. And young people are actively doing their part to rewrite the fate of this earth, making sure that they will inherit a habitable, safe, healthy, and just world.

 

From July to August 2021, the Youth Cluster of the Climate Reality Project Philippines, in partnership with East-West Center and Wavefarers, spearheaded and implemented “Project Niche: Claiming My Place in the Climate Space” with the goal of capacitating and inspiring budding climate advocates to become key players in local climate change action in their respective communities. It was opened to all budding young climate advocates who are currently taking their high school or college studies. 

Participants were called to submit project or campaign proposals to solve a local climate or environmental problem in their community. To help the participants develop their proposals, pre-pitch capacity-building workshops on proposal writing and pitching were arranged. 

Qualifiers were chosen from all proposals submitted. These qualifiers presented their project or campaign proposals at the Advocacy Pitch event. Project Niche was opened to all budding young climate advocates who are currently taking their high school or college studies. Aside from being provided seed money for the implementation of their projects, the winners will undergo the Project Niche Incubator and the Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training to equip them with the necessary skills and guidance to implement their projects or campaigns. (Read: Project Niche’s Theory of Change and Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Plan)

On August 14, 2021, 11 qualifying teams competed in the Advocacy Pitch Competition of Project Niche. The teams, composed of young climate advocates from different parts of the Philippines, pitched their proposals to the panel of judges coming from the organizations behind Project Niche: Ferth Manaysay (The Climate Reality Project Philippines), Ninna Catipon (Youth Cluster), Charisse Reganion (Wavefarers), and Lance Boyd (East-West Center). The following are the five (5) winning projects:

  • Project Green Hydra aims to address the problem on the availability of green urban spaces, air quality, and solid waste through Hydroponics – integrating a portable, and cost-effective prototype using plastic bottles and water hyacinths.
  • Plan Synergy (Sustainable and Yearlong Energy Source) intends to utilize solar energy as an alternative way of activating the pump wells to provide a sustainable and long-term water irrigation system.
  • Rio Flitter Collector is a stationary floating litter trash collector designed for flowing water bodies (e.g. river). It has an arm that traps and leads solids wastes into a removable trash cage that can easily be lifted for emptying when full.
  • Climate Learning Kit is K-12 curriculum aligned gamified learning kit that teaches Filipino high school students about climate change education in a local context, supplemented with an in-depth learning booklet
  • Alpas is an efficient waste management system which aims to create a healthy and orderly environment inside and outside the Classica Manor condominium. 

These projects will undergo the Project Niche Incubator, where they will be given Klima Pandayan access and mentors who will help them, on top of the seed money that they will use to implement their projects. (Read: Youth Engagement and Innovation to Promote Climate Action and Sustainable Development)

The participants of Project Niche are testaments that there’s still hope. Throughout this project, we saw how young people are eager to not only find their place in the climate space – but to claim it and own that place. All of us should be inspired by their passion and drive to help effect positive change in their communities.