Eleventh Hour: Finding your place in the middle of uncertainty

By Keith Ancheta


What should I do now?

I am writing this piece while Typhoon Falcon is ravaging the Philippines just days after Typhoon Egay wreaked havoc in the country. Based on the most recent estimates, these back-to-back typhoons brought about P1.94 billion in damages to agriculture and around P7 billion to infrastructure, leaving thousands of families homeless. 

In the middle of a climate catastrophe, young people are boggled with the question of what they should be doing, especially in a vulnerable country like the Philippines, where climate change-induced disasters like floods and droughts have become the norm.

Despite these paralyzing scenarios, many young people’s response is to find a way to change this. Young people, with their innate determination and willingness to help, would want to paint a new picture — different from what they are currently seeing. They are also equipped with creativity and skills to come up with innovative solutions to problems they are experiencing. With the right opportunities, they could fully become the changemakers their communities need.

Still, that question remains, “What should I do now?” Yes, we have the skills and talent we can use and are fueled by our passion and determination. But how can these be translated into concrete solutions? Especially now that we’re either still finishing our education (for children and teens) or stuck in our day job (for young adults). 

In our Project Niche, we developed a simple way of helping budding climate advocates be part of the climate space. It only has four steps: (1) Find your place, (2) Claim your place, (3) Own your place, and (4) Inspire others to do the same. 

Find your place. For newcomers in this space – first of all, welcome. Navigating a problem as complex as climate change is overwhelming. I know because I also felt overwhelmed when I started. But the good news is that you have a guide – your interests, passions, hobbies, and chosen careers can be your gateway to climate action. 

If you like arts, then participate in climartivism. If you’re a teacher, then integrate climate change into your lectures. You don’t need to be an environmental engineer or a meteorologist to be part of the solution. You just have to be you. And if you feel like you don’t know much about climate change, you can always read articles, attend webinars, or talk to other people who are part of the climate space.

Claim your place. Once you know where you belong, claim that place by doing a small project that impacts you and the people around you. You don’t need to do big things immediately.

As cliché as it might be, every journey starts with a single step. By doing small projects, you can explore different climate solutions in your chosen area of interest. This also allows you to learn more skills and pick up valuable lessons to use as you move forward.

Own your place. If you think you’re ready to scale up, then go! But you don’t need to do this alone. There are a lot of changemakers like you who want to spark solutions. You can also reach out to other organizations and agencies for additional support and funding to help you implement your projects. For sure, they would be more than happy to be your allies in this fight.

Inspire others to do the same. Once you’ve done all these and reached certain milestones in your climate journey, share your stories with others. Tell them how you’ve started in the climate fight and become one of the fiercest climate warriors the world has seen.

Remember how you were inspired by the stories of other changemakers? It’s your time to inspire a new cohort of budding climate advocates. We’re excited to hear your story.

If you’re still reading this piece, thank you, and I guess that means you’re really interested in joining this fight. I know you might also be afraid, terrified, and devastated; that’s fine. As Anouchka Grose penned in her book “Guide to Eco-Anxiety,” “…if you’re doing whatever you can, but finding it’s somewhat more confusing and complicated than that, you’re probably exactly the kind of person the planet needs right now. And if you’re worried about the future, you’re not alone.”

This is the most significant challenge the world has ever seen. This is the fight for our life. We’re glad to have you on our side. Now, let’s win this!



Keith Sigfred Ancheta is a climate advocate, communicator, and stubborn optimist. He volunteers as one of the Youth Cluster coordinators of the Climate
Reality Project Philippines and co-leads projects on youth empowerment, climate policymaking, and creative communications. In 2021, he became a mentor
for the global training of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps. Keith is a researcher-educator by training and profession, finishing his Bachelor of Secondary Education (Biological Sciences) in 2019 at Saint Louis University and his Master of Science in Microbiology at the University of the Philippines Diliman in 2023.


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.