April 20, 2023
To ensure a livable future, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that global emissions must fall by 43 percent by 2030 compared to 2019 levels.
While individual actions matter, what will ultimately save our only home, the Earth, from deterioration are systemic changes across the energy, transport, forestry, and other sectors, and the adoption of low-emission or zero-carbon pathways.
This is why we need to band together to demand our leaders and decision-makers both in the public and the private sector to shift from the current extractive, carbon-intensive, and exploitative economic system to a sustainable and low-carbon economic system.
But everyone has to start somewhere somehow. And to jumpstart your journey of being an environmental and climate warrior, here are a few tips:
First, if you can, shift to reusable and eco-friendly products.
Expand your list of reusable and eco-friendly home items from eco-bags, tumblers, and bamboo straws to shampoo bars, all-natural tooth powder, and refillable beauty and care products. Imagine the tonnage of waste, especially plastics, that can be avoided by shifting away from single-use and investing in more sustainable home items.
Second, if you can find a space, grow your own food.
Start saving the seeds of your favorite fruit and vegetable, and plant them in your backyard, pocket or vertical garden, or even in small containers or pots. Adding edible plants to your home jungle can help protect the health of your soil, reduce your own carbon footprint, and live more self-sufficiently.
Third, use active and renewable transport.
Cycling to work, to school, or to run errands is good for your heart and health. The world we live in today will never be the same in the future because of climate change. While we still have the time, cycle going to local cafes and shops, in parks, or in places that bring childhood memories.
Both the government and private sector must work together to invest in end-of-trip facilities and bicycle-friendly infrastructure like safe bicycle lanes and public parking spaces to encourage more Filipinos to cycle and walk.
Fourth, join the call for a renewable energy transition.
We need to view renewable energy development not just from an environmental or climate standpoint, but from an economic standpoint as well. Many studies and experts are saying that renewable makes good economic sense here in the Philippines, where most electricity is sourced from dirty, expensive, and imported fossil fuels.
Renewable energy will bring down our electricity rates, allow for grid stability and fewer brownouts, provide energy access for all Filipinos, especially those living in communities not connected to the grid; create more jobs, and ultimately result in healthier for the people and planet.
Fifth, share the reality of climate change and the urgency of acting now with your family, friends, and colleagues.
Change starts at home. It starts with planting a seed of information that everyone can be part of the solution — may it be changing our own personal lifestyle to be more mindful consumers, writing to your local government leader to support a policy banning single-use plastics, or discussing with a private business owner the opportunities of installing solar panels.
Sixth, protect your mental health.
The impacts of climate change and the anxiety of climate inaction from our leaders are putting a strain on people’s mental health. When everything feels overwhelming, breathe and reconnect with nature by hiking, swimming in rivers and lakes, walking in the park, or tending to your edible home garden.
Seventh, find local climate and environmental causes to support.
Be involved in your community. Learn about the climate and environmental issues in your city or municipality. Find local organizations supporting environmental protection and climate action in your city or municipality. Whenever possible, volunteer your time and talent to help make the local climate and environmental initiatives a success.
Lastly, join a climate change / environmental group.
Find a community or group that will support your climate and sustainability journey and will help you become a better advocate.
Fighting for our planet is not something you should do alone. You are not alone. We cannot work in silos. We should come together and create dynamic synergies in climate action so that we can build replicable, scalable, and sustainable projects, programs, and practices.
Collectively, our voice is stronger. You have many roles to play — from grassroots mobilizers, educators and influencers, to policymakers and project implementers in your own right.
ABOUT ELEVENTH HOUR
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.