Klima Kabisayaan: Gugma Para sa Kalibutan (Love for the Planet)

By Paula Bernasor

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Basta umaabot ang Pebrero impossible na dili makahuna-huna ug gugma. Ang gugma dili lalim. Love is never easy. Sama sa atong paghigugma sa atong kalibutan, daghan kita mga challenges na makatubang.

 

This month, Visayas Climate Reality Leaders were reminded that they are not #ForeverAlone in their climate action. We hosted our First Visayas Regional Hangout entitled “Feb-ibig Party: Hearts for the Planet” last February 17, where we talked about the roses and thorns of being a Climate Reality Leader, got to know the leaders from Western, Central, and Eastern Visayas, and shared our hopes, dreams, and projects for this year.

 

Falling in love with the planet

Have you ever stopped in awe of a natural landscape? We all experience a feeling of deep awe and love whenever we witness the beauty of the Earth.

What makes a person fall in love with the Earth enough to become a Climate Reality Leader? 

“I learned to love what gives me life, what gives me purpose, and what gives me the drive to keep going. Everything around me seems to be like an imperfect piece like I am. There is a need to fix me and fix something which is contributory to my being.”, according to educator and Climate Reality Leader Nancy Mae Omandam.

Indeed, the more we understand the complex science behind it, the more we fall in love and feel a deeper connection.

Showing love

How do Climate Reality Leaders in Visayas show love for our planet? How do they love the Earth?

Let me count some of their ways. There is no act too small or too big for this much-needed green revolution. Just as how love comes in different kinds, Climate Reality Leaders lead different initiatives to show their love for our planet. Here are a few of them:

For Dr. Rebecca Tandug of Aklan, love for the planet means leading a conservation hike initiative for Mt. Madjaas (a biological reserve) to data-mine for eco-tourism sustainable road mapping and lobbying for policy creation by the local government unit and the tourism office. 

For Alexander Española of Antique, love for the planet means advocating for sustainability across his business venture—from following sustainable farming practices to working towards the full transition to renewable energy.

For Atty. Nel Ediza of Cebu, love for the planet means actively rebuilding highly climate-vulnerable islands like Olango Island and providing support for the locals.

For Nancy Mae Omandam of Siquijor, love for the planet means integrating environmentalism into the school curriculum—from initiating clean-up drives with student organizations and organizing environment-focused competitions in their high school to overseeing eight days of waste collection in her local barangay and other rounds of collection in eight barangays.

For Fel Caesar Cadiz of Iloilo, love for the planet means advocating and catalyzing sustainable fisheries management through behavior change interventions and integrating climate resilience in the fishing sector.

Falling out of love

Just like romantic love, we can get lost, isolated, and lonely. We end up abusing what is given to us.

Abuse can be in the form of conversion of Cancabato Bay in Tacloban City into a commercial business district, destroying watersheds in Cebu to create residential areas, or illegal fishing within the Tañon Strait. We get too busy, too restless, and too distracted over toxic cycles like overconsumption. We forget our interconnectedness with Earth.

 
As the wise Thich Nhat Hanh said: 

“There’s a revolution that needs to happen and it starts from inside each one of us. We need to wake up and fall in love with Earth. We’ve been homo sapiens for a long time. Now it’s time to become homo conscious. Our love and admiration for the Earth have the power to unite us and remove all boundaries, separation, and discrimination. Centuries of individualism and competition have brought about tremendous destruction and alienation. We need to re-establish true communication–true communion–with ourselves, with the Earth, and with one another, as children of the same mother. We need more than new technology to protect the planet. We need real community and co-operation.”

– THICH NHAT HANH

This is the kind of awareness and awakening we need to secure the planet and our own future. It is up to us to cultivate this and change our way of life to regain a better relationship with the Earth.

When you realize how much of your life is shared with the planet, you’ll be moved to protect her like how you would protect yourself. It’s time to wake up and fall in love again with Earth.

Luckily for us, the Earth is always there for us, offering us everything from food to healing, whether a nourishing grain of rice, a relaxing ocean breeze, or even a simple rain pitter-patter.

 

Just as the Earth is there for us, The Climate Reality Project Philippines family is here for you. Stay tuned because next month, we are highlighting women leaders in the Visayas.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
 

Paula Bernasor is the Visayas Coordinator of The Climate Reality Project Philippines. She is a Climate Reality Philippines Leader and Mentor, Chapter Director for Startup Grind Cebu, and a volunteer for Project Sharklink and Thresher Shark Research and Conservation Project. She previously worked as an Associate for Partnerships for Rare Organisation’s Fish Forever in the Philippines. She started Project Library in the Philippines, a grassroots movement that helps underprivileged communities in remote areas gain access to books and reading materials, as well as Ocean Love Philippines, which uses social media to spread awareness on pressing environmental issues and to promote a sustainable lifestyle and the circular economy. 

ABOUT KLIMA KABISAYAAN

Klima Kabisayaan is a space that aims to amplify the climate stories and initiatives of the more than 300 Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders in Visayas.

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.