February 21, 2023
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.
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, 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.