Ang Kalusunan: Starting your climate journey and forging new partnerships for climate action

By Aimee Oliveros

|

Forging our own path in the climate space can be unconditionally rewarding but at the same time completely overwhelming.

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: 

“Have empathy. Be a conscious consumer. Spread awareness. Learn that every little action you do creates a bigger impact on the future. As they say, we may never reach zero in zero waste but that's no reason to take zero action. Go save your future!

– Angelic Pedroso, 2021 Global Training, from Zambales

“Try finding out how climate change affects your situation (your food supply, living situation, health, etc.) and ask questions about it! You can talk to climate advocates or even just search online. I’d recommend joining an organization so that you have more resources and reliable people to talk to. When you know the problem that you want to solve, try solving it in any way you can, whether that be through personal action, arts, sciences, or anything in between. If you want to dance, dance! If you want to do research, do resear ch. If you want to reduce your waste, do that. Anything you do counts.”

– Beatrix Eloise Tanglao, 2020 Global Training, from Pampanga

“For every little experience we encounter every day, a communication to a stranger is a simple step yet an effective one to spread every awareness we want to start. Set an example.”

– Christon Jairus Racoma, 2021 Global Training, from La Union

“As Pinoys, we learn to value what our family values as well so climate advocacy starts at home. Back in the day stories can tell us a lot about our parents' climate stories. We can better localize climate change adaptation in the home and in our community when we listen to each other's climate stories.”

– Ethel Baquiran, 2020 Global Training, from Baguio City

“Raising sensitivity. What I do is, I make my students an article review. Translation of research data on the implications of the impacts of anthropogenic activities in our community.”

– Gaylord Brent Rabang, 2021 Global Training, from Ilocos Sur

“Raising sensitivity. What I do is, I make my students an article review. Translation of research data on the implications of the impacts of anthropogenic activities in our community.”

– Gaylord Brent Rabang, 2021 Global Training, from Ilocos Sur

“Find your place in the climate space. Find what aspect of climate & environmental advocacy you resonate with. And then, claim that place in the space.”

– Keith Sigfred Ancheta, 2020 Global Training, from Pangasinan

“Learn first about climate change. Raise our voice. Engage with youth and build trust. Make campaigns and take action! Focus on developing a love for nature and environment.”

– Ressie Mae Duerme 2021, Global Training, from Cagayan

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!

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:

  • 17 March 2022: Climate Reality Leaders in CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, and Bicol Region
  • 20 April 2022: Climate Reality Leaders in Metro Manila 

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 aimee.oliveros.ph@climatereality.com. 

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
 

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.

“Find your place in the climate space. Find what aspect of climate & environmental advocacy you resonate with. And then, claim that place in the space.”