Ang Kalusunan: Climate action with impact

By Aimee Oliveros

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When I reflected on how I started my journey towards sustainable living—from my early recollection as a young girl of not using spray net or anything in Styrofoam; putting candy wrappers in my pocket or wastebasket, or cleaning up every time I eat out; to more intentional actions like removing meat from my diet and supporting cruelty-free products; to practicing mindful consumption to lessen my waste like Bokashi composting for my leftover food; doing less time in the shower to save on water; switching to reusable options like menstrual pads and tooth tabs; DIY personal home care products; supporting local vendors in our community; and buying strictly essential items with less to no carbon footprint (no new clothes for over three years)—I never imagined that it would lead me to build up our humble refillery store RE-Store MNL and that it will provide an opportunity for me to work in the climate and environmental space by engaging and collaborating with a network of climate leaders. This, for me, is the power of little “atomic” actions. Our 1% effort can lead to 100% over time through commitment and learning. 

Change comes from individual efforts compounded over time. All you have to do is take that first leap out of your comfort zone—your first 1%—and you will be surprised at how you have improved, learned, and contributed. Whether it’s a new habit that you want to start like cycling, urban gardening, and composting, or a lifestyle shift to zero-waste or veganism, or grassroots community building, climate campaigning, and deepening your expertise on climate science, your individual effort is critical in saving our planet today.

This journey, like any other, has its fair share of bumps along the way. There are times that I felt that no one supported me which deeply affected my motivation. It tested my willpower and integrity, it challenged me and everything that I think I know, I learned that people can be unkind and condescending, and there were times that I felt unsure if I was making an impact in my actions. But with these bumps are the wonderful lessons that I have learned (and continue to learn)— trusting myself more, humbling myself from the stories and experiences of others, distancing myself from negativity, challenging unconscious biases, and committing to doing 1% effort daily, continuously, and meaningfully. 

Extending these individual efforts to collaborate with others and take part in the climate movement could hold a truly remarkable power for ushering in the transformation we need to address the climate crisis. 

The Do’s and Dont’s 

Every month of April, we celebrate Earth Day—a special day to engage in active climate action towards the protection and preservation of our one and only home.

As Climate Reality Leaders, our role toward climate action is necessary. As we forge a #BetterReality for all, this month we asked some of our leaders, “How could you know if your climate action is making an impact?” 

 

“Creating the level of awareness among students about climate change and Climate Reality Philippines, which would then encourage further initiatives and call to action for the environment. Another impact is within the administrators to encourage them to forge their own climate advocacies as part of their performance management. Another impact is through engagement in social media to connect and further engage and influence our circle of friends towards climate action.”

– McRey Sario 2020 Global Training, from Las Pinas

“We would not know the full impact unless there are metrics to understand community engagement and participation, and more importantly the commitment.”

– Atty Dulce Blanca Punzalan 2016 Manila Training, from Quezon City

“Creating awareness with other people regarding specific groups such as The Climate Reality Project and other similar groups – and they realize how important caring for our environment is.”

– Nikki Limlengco 2021 Global Training, from Quezon City

“Measuring our own carbon footprint and commitment to offset our personal emissions.”

– Victoria Segovia 2016 Manila Training, from Manila City

The Highs and Lows 

This month, we continued with our regional hang-out with Climate Reality Leaders from the National Capital Region (NCR), home to over 650 leaders. As we celebrate Earth Day, we emphasize that individual and group actions are very critical for the protection of the environment and the mitigation of the effects of climate change.

Here’s are a some of the ways our Climate Reality Leaders celebrated Earth Day:

Our new Youth Cluster members from the 2021 Climate Reality Leadership Global Training—Alexa Martina A. Cruz , a Chemical Engineering student, Erika Rosales, an accountant by profession and enjoys graphic design, and Isabelle Basa, a graduating student of K-12—celebrated Earth Day by joining the online launch of the Stories for a Better Reality.

Climate Reality Leader Ace Jonathan Pascual, who is currently supporting the creation of a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Scorecard of electoral candidates through his work in 2030 Youthforce in the Philippines Inc., celebrated Earth Day with the events of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Central Office.

Atty. Dulce Punzalan, a bamboo ambassador, musikera, and lecturer among others, joined and hosted online engagements about bamboo, digital agriculture, transportation, and mobility.

McRey Sario, head of student services, principal, and theology instructor, said he discussed a proposal for environmental action with his management team, conducted community talks about water pollution for better health solutions, and facilitated a mentoring session about carbon footprint. 

Michael Lance Domagas, a community leader in the technology and developer space, celebrated Earth Day by being more conscious of his personal carbon footprint.

Nicole Limlengco, who is currently working on a documentary about the impacts of climate change in a community in Tawi-Tawi, celebrated by joining online forums and being mindful of her consumption.

Working with Haribon Foundation and being part of MUNI Community, Althea Serad spent Earth by going out, experiencing and listening to nature, and pledging to grow healing communities in the future.

Victoria Segovia, head of the environmental science program of the Philippine Women’s University, just recently gave a talk about wellness in the environment in celebration of Earth Day.

Climate Reality Leaders from the different regions also engaged in various climate and environmental activities—from mangrove planting to clean-up drives, grassroots community work, or scientific, developmental, and legislative work. It’s truly amazing to see how each leader is forging a #BetterReality for all. 

What’s in store for #LuzonLeaders?

Climate Reality Leaders in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, and Central Luzon, join our upcoming online Regional Hangout on May 12!

We would love to hear from you! Do you have any climate questions but are too afraid to ask, or maybe just a comment in our monthly column, just email me at aimee.oliveros.ph@climatereality.com.

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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.”