Climate Reality PH, British Embassy, and Makati City bring arts and climate change closer to the youth

Makati City—As part of a larger effort to bring arts, culture, and youth engagement into climate discussions, the second Poets for Climate Exhibit opened yesterday at the University of Makati featuring selected poems and artworks depicting how the climate crisis is undoing and transforming the landscapes and places we call home.

Entitled “The Making And Unmaking of Places: Stories of Loss, Resilience, and Restoration Using Poetry and Art,” the exhibit was curated by The Climate Reality Project Philippines in partnership with the City Government of Makati and the British Embassy Manila. It will run on the 7th Floor of the Health and Physical Sciences Building of the University of Makati until Friday, February 24.

The exhibit is an off-shoot of Poets for Climate, a collaborative project between the Climate Reality Project branches in Africa, Canada, and the Philippines in response to When Is Now, a global art movement initiated by the Agam Agenda that links together poems, visual arts, murals, and more forms of creative expressions that reflect people’s lived experiences of climate change.

From L to R: Ichi Yabut, Head of International Relations, Makati City; Dr. Elyxzur Ramos, President, University of Makati; Councilor Dudong San Pedro, Makati City; Atty. Jose Layug, Dean of the University of Makati College of Law; Councilor Anna Alcina Yabut, Makati City; Councilor Dolores Arayon, Makati City; Prof. Mary Acel German, Dean, University of Makati College of Arts and Letters; Prof. Virgilio Tabbu, Vice President for Student Services and Community Development, University of Makati; Jacqueline Miel-Soliguin, Climate Change Attaché, British Embassy Manila; Nazrin Castro, Manager, Climate Reality Philippines.

The exhibit that opened today follows the first Poets for Climate exhibit hosted by Makati City and the British Embassy in October 2022 at the Makati City Hall; and the two Poets for Climate expositions staged by Climate Reality Philippines with Climate Reality Indonesia and the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) at the sidelines of the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt in November 2022.

“We couldn’t have asked for a more fitting next stop—the University of Makati, which is home to creative young Filipinos bearing an unprecedented potential as genuine advocates for climate action,” Nazrin Castro, Manager of Climate Reality Philippines Branch, said during the opening of the exhibit.

“We hope that the students of the University of Makati will use the arts to call for decision-makers to accelerate the country’s transition to renewable energy, mainstream zero-waste solutions, and prioritize inclusive, efficient, and sustainable urban mobility, including the creation of more interconnected, permanent, and protected bike lanes in Metro Manila,” Castro added. “Through Poets for Climate, we want you—the youth—to feel empowered not just in communicating the urgency and the solvability of the climate crisis but also in demanding our leaders to do right for the planet and the future of your generation,” she said.

Alistair White, Chargé d'affaires at the British Embassy in Manila, graced the launch of the Poets for Climate exhibit.

Alistair White, Chargé d’affaires at the British Embassy in Manila, thanked Climate Reality Philippines, Agam Agenda, and the CVF for promoting arts and storytelling as a platform to amplify the voices of the most vulnerable to climate change.

“The future of young people is tied to the future of the planet,” White said, emphasizing the critical role of the youth in climate action. “A part of our broader and longer-term effort is to drive the collaboration between the different climate and environmental stakeholders and that’s why we’re here today. That’s why this collaboration is so important for the present and the future,” he shared.

Carissa Pobre, Strategist for Creative Communication of the Agam Agenda, also highlighted the role of collaboration in climate action during the launch of the exhibit.

Explaining the concept behind When Is Now and how Poets for Climate has fed into the campaign, Pobre said, “We are seeding specific stories from specific places—places like Guiuan in [Eastern] Samar that responded to a particular contribution of poetry from a poet from Guam for instance. Here, Climate Reality Leaders and advocates responded to these various stories.”

Pobre shared that aside from Climate Reality, When Is Now is also supported by 58 vulnerable countries of the CVF. “We are proud that the CVF is a key partner to this, showing that culture is so integral to how we are fighting and advocating for climate action across the world, ” she said.

Makati City Vice Mayor Monique Lagdameo delivered a message during the opening of the Poets for Climate Exhibit at the University of Makati.

Affirming the city government’s continuous support to the fight for climate justice, Makati City Vice Mayor Monique Lagdameo, meanwhile, said that Makati City is proud to continue hosting Poets for Climate. 

“The power of art lies in its ability to bring people together to reflect, discuss, and take action. This exhibit will be an inspiring reminder to all of us that building a better future with collective action is possible,” she said during the launch.

Dr. Elyxzur Ramos, President of the University of Makati, also expressed appreciation for the opportunity to host the exhibit. “We hope that our students and other stakeholders in this university will have a greater appreciation of the efforts that you are doing to promote awareness about climate change,” he said.

University of Makati students participated during the pebble poem workshop facilitated by the Agam Agenda and Climate Reality Philippines.

Following the launch of the exhibit, the Agam Agenda facilitated a pebble poem workshop participated in by more than 40 students for the University of Makati.

The poems from the workshop will be published on the When Is Now platform, along with the more than 100 poems generated by Poets for Climate since its launch in July 2022 from youth leaders, climate advocates, and poets from Cameroon, Canada, Kenya, Nigeria, Philippines, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Zambia.

Climate Reality Philippines is inviting other local governments, organizations, and institutions to co-host a Poets For Climate exhibit. Interested groups could reach the organization at