Recap- Stories From The Homefront: Climate Justice!
Berkeley, CA - "All of this together will amount for so much for the Philippines"- this is the emotional statement of Bibeth Orteza, Chair of the Concerned Artist of the Philippines and moderator in the FaceBook (FB) live event entitled "Stories From The Homefront: Climate Justice" Friday, January 28th.
The event which was primarily aimed at generating donations for the local communities in Negros Oriental which was devastated by the super typhoon Odette in December also became an opportunity to create serious conversations regarding climate change and climate justice.
Ginger Leopoldo, executive director for CIRCA Pintig and moderator of the event, in her introduction, provided detailed insight into the catastrophic damages of Typhoon Rai, locally known as Typhoon Odette, while urging for the need for solidarity and progressive action on climate justice.
Sylvio Tamayo Dorig Jr., community organizer and volunteer correspondent of the Center for People's Media (CPM), who himself lost his home during the onslaught of the typhoon gave updates on the situation in the province of Nergros Oriental which he described as the ground zero. "We are almost 50,000 people affected... 300 people are missing", Sylvio reports in a video demonstrating not just the physical damage Typhoon Odette has had on his community, but more disturbingly, the emotional and financial burden as well.
In the midst of desperation and the struggle to start anew, Sylvio disclosed that the majority of the community do not feel the help being provided by [their] local government. "There are places in our city where the debris of the typhoon are still there because the funds promised have not been delivered", Sylvio narrated.
He said that all the help they have received such as water, relief packs, etc.- were donated by the NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) while others come from universities, like Silliman University. "The people are frustrated, tired, and in desperate need of help," Sylvio added.
Wilson Fortaleza, Journalist, and Environmentalist, then gave a presentation on climate justice- specifically detailing the pollution and environmental damage the Philippines repeatedly experiences, being at the receiving end of the uncontrollable use and misuse of energy by developed countries and mega-corporations.
Fortaleza argues that developed countries and corporations are major contributors to GHG (Greenhouse gases, compound gases that trap heat or longwave radiation in the atmosphere ) emissions. "They have accountability and responsibility (climate debts) to address, including a faster and wider cut on carbon emissions, as well as financial obligations to meet for climate actions especially for most vulnerable countries like the Philippines," Fortaleza explained.
Fortaleza said, in order to achieve true climate justice, there needs to be an overall recognition of the harmful production and consumption processes made by developed countries and mega-corporations, a switch to low-carbon economic activities, and a payment of climate debts to nations like the Philippines. He stressed that the impact of the climate crisis is not equal where developing countries get most affected and solutions to fix this are long overdue.
Bibeth Orteza, actress, writer, director, and a staunch activist for political reforms and environmental protection, talked about her own experience with calamities as her hometown is getting hit by disasters regularly. "It isn't just words or something that you read on Facebook, these people [Wilson's groups] really go into solid research," she said, urging everyone to continue raising awareness on climate justice.
She called on people to listen to Sylvio's concerns, do their own research on the situation, and actively respond by donating to his community and other affected communities, specifically her Filipino Kababayan's abroad, like in the US to help, saying that "[they] are a part of this. We are all a part of each other's struggles... we always need to pay things forward because we are Filipino."
The event ended with a beautiful song from Noel Cabangon, Filipino Folk Singer, Composer, and member of Concerned Artists of the Philippines, as well as a rendition of the Panatang Luntian "Stories From The Homefront: Climate Justice" is a collaborative project of Circa-Pintig, People's Media Advocacy Asia- Center for People's Media (PMAA-CPM), and SENDWAVE to help the people of Negros Oriental, Philippines. Anthem by Sining Obrero (Concerned Artists of the Philippines).
You can still donate to the cause! "SENDWAVE" is extending a free credit of $25 for any new users who download the app and use the promo code "PMAA" to remit money to families in the Philippines.
"We hope to raise $2,500 to help at least 50 families. Be a part of the change." ends Ginger Leopoldo. PMAA
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