By Aimee Oliveros
February 28, 2022
Having been in the corporate world for over 10 years, starting my climate journey was intimidating and entirely out of my comfort zone. It was all new to me—climate science, Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), Conference of the Parties (COP), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Paris Agreement, and climate adaptation and mitigation. Every day is still a learning experience.
I also identify myself as an introverted extrovert. I prefer quiet weekends and keeping a tight circle but I also enjoy great and meaningful conversations and connections.
The most meaningful leap for me was the idea and responsibility of being visible, of being heard, of being vulnerable. I was used to being private and keeping my guard up, but joining The Climate Reality Project Philippines gave me the opportunity to be among earth-loving people that would support my journey and help me use this visibility as a source of strength.
My journey may have just begun but the most challenging yet most rewarding part so far is learning and re-learning about myself and my place in the sun. I always liked the idea of becoming a difference maker, it took me some time to find it, but now I know that I want to make a difference in this wonderful world of ours. It’s a beautiful and painful process, but always hopeful.
The Do’s and Dont’s
Every month, we will feature honest-to-goodness tips from #LuzonLeaders about life, love, and of course the climate. Just like any protagonist, we all have our own origin stories.
Here are some amazing tips from our #LuzonLeaders on how to become a climate advocate:
The Highs and Lows
This month, we officially launched our very first online regional hang-out with Climate Reality Leaders in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), and regions of Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, and Central Luzon. The session was strategically organized per region in order to establish a pathway for initial communication, connection, and collaboration among Climate Reality Leaders within the same region or locality.
This month’s low is about the top climate issues identified by Climate Reality Leaders within their localities. Waste, pollution, and flooding were among the top issues across all the regions.
Our country is producing way too much garbage beyond its solid waste management capacity with a production of over 20 million metric tons of garbage in 2020 as reported by the National Solid Waste Management Commission (NSWMC). While the National Capital Region (NCR) is projected as the biggest producer of garbage in our country, Central Luzon has steadily increased garbage production annually and now averages to over 5,000 tons daily.
The region of Cagayan Valley, meanwhile, has witnessed extreme flooding for years, most notably during Typhoon Ulysses in 2020 which left devastating effects on the lives of our kababayans. While the flooding could be attributed to the fact that the region is situated as a catch basin from the surrounding mountain ranges and its proximity to Magat Dam, the unprecedented flooding was also caused by illegal logging and unsustainable agriculture, particularly in the mountain slopes.
Baguio City also experienced heavy rain and flooding after over 15 years when it was hit by Typhoon Ompong in 2018, which also triggered landslides across the city claiming multiple lives.
Ilocos region, on the other hand, experienced the devastation of Typhoon Maring in 2021 with flash floods and landslides damaging infrastructure and claiming multiple lives.
While flooding is commonly attributed to geographical conditions, it is quite disturbing to observe how typhoons, even monsoons, are becoming intense over the years, which can be attributed to our changing climate.
But with the lows come the highs. Climate Reality Leaders from these regions collaborated during the networking session to plan out actions for these identified climate issues.
Actions on waste focused on systematic waste collection, proper solid waste management education and implementation, stricter implementation of policies, and innovations and new technologies on waste management. Other interesting ideas on waste management include partnering with local plogging (jogging and picking up waste or litter) groups and expanding ideas and innovations on recycling and upcycling plastic waste. It’s interesting to see how simple ideas can eventually lead to organized actions, but it is even greater to see how these actions can forge lasting relationships and connections. Watch this space to learn and re-learn with us. Let’s all be difference makers together!
Congratulations to Ressie Joy Duerme for garnering the most reactions to our question of the month, and to Team Ilocos—Christon Jairus Racoma, Gaylord Brent Rabang, and Keith Sigfred Ancheta—for winning our Act of Leadership (AoL) online bingo during our networking session. Amazing eco-friendly prizes will be sent your way.
What’s in store for #LuzonLeaders?
Join our upcoming online regional hang-out:
We would love to hear from you! Do you have any climate questions but are too afraid to ask? Do you have a comment or insight on our monthly column? Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aimee is the Luzon Coordinator of The Climate Reality Project Philippines. She is a human resources professional with over 10 years of corporate work experience in different local and multinational industries. With her experience in organizational development, training and employee engagement, Aimee is deeply passionate about promoting learning and wellbeing. She is a Climate Reality Leader having joined the 2020 Global training which solidified her inner passion for community work and service. Being an advocate for the environment, she co-founded RE-Store MNL, a small shop promoting refill and reuse in Paranaque City. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences at the University of the Philippines Baguio.
ABOUT ANG KALUSUNAN
Ang Kalusunan or the “Northern Part” is a space that aims to amplify the climate stories and initiatives of the more than 1,200 Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders in Luzon.
It is one of the monthly columns launched by The Climate Reality Project Philippines to elevate the climate discourse and strengthen climate action across all regions in the Philippines.