Ang Kalusunan: Building sustainable and inclusive climate actions

By Aimee Oliveros


I came across the concept of the SCARF model when I was researching leadership and power for a training seminar. This model was developed by David Rock where SCARF stands for status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness. These social domains help to understand what triggers our threat and reward responses in social situations.


Status is about our perceived importance to others. Certainty is about predicting the future. Autonomy is our sense of control. Relatedness is how we feel safe and belong with others. And fairness is associated with justice and equity. 

While I relate to all these domains, I realized that my main domain is fairness. It now made sense why I get easily irritated when people jump queues in lines. I get affected when I hear stories about hate crimes, gender-based violence, or bullying and discrimination. I get critical when I hear stories about unequal access to information and opportunities, and the systemic inequalities affecting the most vulnerable members of our society. This fuels me to learn and promote inclusion, diversity, and equality in all the spaces within my influence.

Climate change affects us all but the impact will be felt differently, even greater by marginalized sectors of society, including the LGBTQIA+ community. 

LGBTQIA+ folks do not just face discrimination, they also lack access to safe and adequate shelter, facilities, and social services during and after climate-related disasters and emergencies. 

There is so much more to be done at the policy level, and in structures and systems, to enable more gender-sensitive climate actions. But incredible work has begun by advocacy groups, the academe, and individuals on raising awareness about the LGBTQIA+ community’s role and challenges in climate-vulnerable areas. More can be done and should be done to understand and address the climate impacts on the LGBTQIA+ community, and systemic action must be taken by all sectors to eliminate the social stigma and injustice. All forms of injustice are linked and the pursuit of climate justice should not be separate from queer and social justice. 

The Do’s and Dont’s 

As we celebrate the Philippine Environment Month and Pride Month this June, it is critical for Climate Reality Leaders and advocates to pursue not just sustainable and regenerative climate actions but to prioritize equality and inclusivity, especially to the marginalized sectors of our society.

This month, we asked our Climate Reality Leaders: “How can we build sustainable and inclusive climate action?” 

“While we are all affected by the global climate crisis, we are not affected in the same way. To ensure inclusivity in climate action, we must take into account the social inequalities that make a huge chunk of our global population more vulnerable than others. A wide range of communities, including the most marginalized communities, must be involved during planning and implementation to ensure that they are heard and their needs are met. We need projects and strategies that will directly benefit those who suffer the impacts of climate change the most.”

“For sustainable and inclusive climate action to happen, we have to involve the very communities that are affected by the climate crisis. We have to (1) start co-creating solutions with these communities so they feel included, and (2) make sure to communicate with them (ideally in their native languages) to counter misinformation around climate change.”

“Building sustainable and inclusive climate action should always start with a family which is the smallest unit of the society. Society wouldn't function without a family and society wouldn't have the culture and tradition that we've seen and encountered today. Building a great foundation for Sustainable and Inclusive Climate Action would be difficult because of the different cultures and traditions of people around the world but if we include Sustainable and Inclusive Climate Action in our education system it would help people from different sections of our society to fully understand how important Sustainable and Inclusive Climate Action in our daily lives."

“From an environmental communication perspective, there could be a two-pronged strategy to build sustainable and inclusive climate action– to promote and to prevent. First, we must promote programs and initiatives that are based on science combined with relevant information on the ground to make them more adaptable to the local setting. Collaboration and alliances with different sectors must also be established to push for better reforms and government policies on climate. Second, we must prevent the proliferation of misinformation and denialism on climate change. This calls for a proactive and consistent communication of facts and truthful climate information. Doing this can also add up to the credibility and generate acceptance of outstanding programs. I believe these would help us move forward beyond building awareness.”

“According to recent political science research, there are two elements crucial for governments to change. One is structural transformation and two is social movements. It is crucial that changes in the system are more inclusive, especially because it gives to the voices of the marginalized of which activism is crucial in highlighting and defending said voices. These two elements go hand in hand. A system that hears more voices serves more people.”

“Building sustainable and inclusive climate action should be linked to non-stop and disruptive innovation. Participatory involvement from the grassroost going up is needed to meet agreeable results.”

The Highs and Lows 

This month, we continued our regional hang-out with Climate Reality Leaders from CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, and Bicol Region. The CALABARZON is home to around 280 Climate Reality Leaders; MIMAROPA is home to 20; while Bicol Region has over 60.

I am happy to share amazing stories from these Climate Reality Leaders on how they are contributing to climate actions.

Hanna Camille Aguilon of Oriental Mindoro is a member of our Youth Cluster and is actively involved in community and social media engagements. Nestor Baguinon of Laguna is a former professor and is about to publish “Atlas of the Philippine Trees” and “Exotic Trees in the Philippines.” Rachel Baldonado of Cavite is a retired teacher and an active member of  Bayanihan sa Kalikasan and other climate advocacy groups. Kevin Bautista of Laguna is currently taking Asian Studies at UP Diliman and plans to pursue climate work through engagement in the Knowledge and Capacity Development Cluster. Christian Bolaños of Palawan is currently taking up his internship in NFA-Palawan and working towards cultural representation for IP communities. Jordan John Cabarles of Cavite is an Environmental Protection Officer II of DENR-NCR and has actively joined clean-up activities in the coastal areas of NCR and is involved in other information, education, and communication campaigns. Rizza Estadola of Batangas is working online as a pre-school teacher and has recently attended the Philippine Environmental Summit of UP-Los Banos to increase her knowledge and field experience. Ismael Magculang of Marinduque is currently working with EMB-MIMAROPA and finishing up his graduate thesis on solid waste management. Earl Fitts Mattamu of  Rizal is currently a Political Science student and working with a non-government organization on energy transition and environmental protection. Raul Norbe of Cavite is actively engaged in urban organic gardening cum bokashi ball making and composting. Bernardo Sepeda of Cavite is currently active in his academe and climate work through social media engagements. Reynier Tasico of Batangas is currently working at the UP-Resilience Institute, engaged in climate finance work with UNFCCC, and a member of the National Youth Commission. Raiza Mae Togado of Laguna is a licensed forester and currently working with DENR-IVA engaged in different advocacy works related to the environment, youth education, and animal welfare, among others. Jerald Villarmino of Laguna is a QA Supervisor and an advocate of Green Chemistry or Sustainable Chemistry and he is actively engaged in environmental awareness for the youth. 

I asked our Climate Reality Leaders what they consider as top climate issues within their localities and there’s consistency on biodiversity loss, deforestation, solid waste management, and food and water security across all the regions.

To address these issues, most of the attendees who are from the CALABARZON area agreed that there should be more direct engagement with different agencies on related projects and policies and there should be more continuous environmental and leadership awareness campaigns focused on the youth and specific communities.

It’s interesting to see how the next sessions would bring about more connections and collaborations. Watch this space and connect with us!

What’s in store for #LuzonLeaders?

Climate Reality Leaders in Metro Manila, join our upcoming online regional hang-out on 13 July 2022.

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 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.


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.