By McRey A. Sario
November 2, 2022
#Decarbonize seeks to gather the voices and opinions of youth worldwide on climate change and climate action, with this year’s run focusing on food sustainability and the links between climate change and agriculture. Through the program, young climate advocates will deliver a manifesto during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or COP27 in Egypt happening this November.
My mentees, Irene Desiree C. Reyes and Vince Alphart O. Pallera, were selected to represent not just the school but the country in COP27. They will present a position paper on behalf of the youth of the Global South, alongside their counterparts from different parts of the world.
In preparation for COP27, our school is doing its best to raise climate change awareness among our students through different learning modalities and a variety of engaging activities. We mold our students to be agents of change who are actively involved in the social, moral, and political issues affecting society and its environment.
To realize this, we collaborated with The Climate Reality Project Philippines, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, and Living Laudato Si Las Piñas for an impact screening of DELIKADO, a documentary film that tells the story of environmental defenders trying to stop politicians and businessmen from destroying the Philippines’ “last ecological frontier.”
The screening, which was held last Oct. 7 at the SJA Auditorium as part of the culminating activity of the Laudato Si Season of Creation, served as an eye-opener for my students on the realities of environmental conservation in the country:
The issues showcased in the film, specifically the struggles of environmental defenders in the country, are now included in the position paper that our students will present in COP27.
Truly, defending the environment has never been more challenging. This could not go on any longer. If we want the younger generation—our kids and grandchildren— to experience a healthy life communing with nature, we need to protect our environmental defenders, ensure the implementation of the country’s environmental laws, and deliver climate solutions to the last mile.
McRey A. Sario is the head of the Student Services Department (a former school principal), a Senior High School professor, and a Management Committee member at St. Joseph’s Academy of Las Pinas. He is a Climate Reality Leader and a mentor. He is also the founder and animator of Living Laudato Si’ Las Pinas, where he advocated for his students, faculty, parents, and the community to take good care of the common home, the earth. He is a faculty mentor to COP27 student delegates, ARTIVISTA, and the Asia-Pacific Regional Youth Environment Forum.
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This article was originally published on The Climate Reality Project Philippines’ weekly column for the Manila Bulletin called Eleventh Hour.
This column serves a digital space to discuss our organization’s work on supporting the country’s just transition into a clean, affordable, and self-sufficient energy system; advancing sustainable urban mobility to highlight the issues of equity and democracy; and raising public awareness about the need to phase out single-use plastics. It also serves as a platform for Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders to share your stories, promote your climate initiatives, and provide critical insights to issues that matter to climate action, environmental protection, and sustainable development.