A series of exclusive webinars featured a roster of international experts who shared knowledge and tips that will help participants become better climate communicators and advocates. 

 

During the twice-weekly sessions that lasted for one and a half months, climatologists, oceanographers, visual storytellers, and researchers shared their insights that benefitted fellows of the Climate Media Labs. 

Subsumed under the Balangay Project of the Oscar M. Lopez Center, the Labs have featured 22 experts based both here and abroad. 

Among these experts include Lourdes Tibig, lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel (IPCC) on Climate Change Special Report on the Ocean and the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate; Dr. Laura David, the first Filipina among the Philippines’ six oceanographers; Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz, the founder and director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, Chris Wright, the founder and managing director of Climate Tracker, and others. 

During the Labs’ first session held early September, an expert talked about the importance of holding meaningful conversations with communities affected by impacts of climate change. 

“Sometimes, it’s very tempting to go to a community and lecture them all about climate change,” said Dr. Laurice Jamero, a contributing author of the recently released Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Reporter of the IPCC. “But first of all, you have to look at their past disaster experiences, their existing development problems, and their existing coping capacities.”

Using this approach, Dr. Jamero said that she started with a community’s “experiences and actual observations” when introducing the concept of climate change and its impacts. 

She once conducted research on an island in Bohol that experienced tidal flooding for the first time owing to land subsidence in the aftermath of an earthquake in 2013. 

“Although this was an event that was triggered by land subsidence, our study tried to use it as an analogy for what the future might look like for other small islands around the world that are projected to be affected by sea level rise,” Dr. Jamero said.

The lecture of Dr. Jamero was preceded by the one from Ms. Tibig, who gave participants a brief refresher course on the basics of climate science. 

The participants, belonging to ten groups located across the Philippines, are all recipients of the Umalohokan Fellowships that entitled them to attend the two-hour, twice-weekly Climate Media Labs. 

While the ten groups were all considered fellows, eight were further qualified to receive P35,000 each as part of the OML Center’s Umalohokan Grants, which is named after the town criers that spread the news in pre-colonial Philippines. 

The seed grant was intended to help teams “conduct a climate communications study on the knowledge, perceptions, values, behavior, and other meaning-making factors to sway public opinion and inspire climate action,” the OML Center said on its website about the project. 

Climate story pitches submitted by the fellows range from narrating the stories of a women’s group working to protect coral reefs in Camiguin Island in Mindanao to the stories of residents living in small islands currently threatened by rising sea levels.

Once the Climate Media Labs are finished, the OML Center, through the Balangay Media Project, will release an additional P70,000 to five teams with the best media blitz plan to implement their campaigns. The two teams which failed to receive the initial seed grants can still catch up to be part of the five, according to Perpi A. Tiongson, Associate Director of the OML Center. 

Another final grant of P150,000 awaits the team with the most creative and successful media blitz, the OMLC said. 

The Climate Media Labs, the Umalohokan Fellowships and the Umalohokan Grants are all subsumed under the Balangay Media Project, which seeks to create an ecosystem of journalists, communicators, and advocates to cover underreported climate issues on the ground. 

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This is a media release from the Oscar M. Lopez Center for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management Foundation, Inc. (OML Center).

The Climate Reality Project Philippines is a media partner for the OML Center’s Balangay Media Project.