Hiayan. When we hear that name, we remember the strongest typhoon in history which hit the Philippines: My country. We remember the great Visayan lands turned into rubble and ruins; collapsed buildings, destroyed houses, uprooted plants and trees. We remember the cries of thousands of Filipino people grieving for the lives lost. This is a strong evidence of climate change and now is the time to stop and think of what should be done, what course of action should be taken. And I have three things in mind.
First is education: The number 1 step that needs to be addressed. There is a need to intensify public awareness on Climate Change for all because how can we help if we ourselves do not know and understand what is happening. There are 2 sectors that play vital roles in awareness and that is education and media. For education, environmental education should be implemented in the curriculum. As early as first grade, students should be taught of the importance of water, energy, life; and what happens when we abuse them. In St. Theresa’s College QC, Philippines, I am a student in the Advanced Environmental Education class and I can proudly that I have learned a lot and it is time to voice out, precisely why I am here. For media,we often turn on our televisions and see people endorsing shampoo or a new brand of dog food. How about in producing shows, short clips, or infomercials of any kind, the environment is a factor that is always considered. It would be a form of “regular art” that is featured by the viewer. It’s a win-win. They would love your product and the environment.
Second is conservation. This is to address the issue of the technocratic paradigm discussed in Chapter three of Laudato Si where Pope Francis stressed the tendency of humans extracting all possible resources from the environment without giving them the chance to be replenished. Government policies and laws should be enacted whether it be for the conservation of water or energy and the like. There should be concrete action. For example, the air-conditioning should be turned on from this time to this time only. Another example is one of our school projects in St. Theresa’s College which is the Rainwater Catch System. Due to the prevalent problem of water being wasted, the Rainwater Catch System will provide means to minimize water consumption, and instead use rainwater that is frequently taken for granted. Whether it be for cleaning purposes, watering the plants, and the like, we are able to contribute to the conservation of the environment’s natural resources and live out an advocacy to help save mother earth. I am very lucky to be studying in a school integrating this kind of activity and I hope schools all around the Philippines, or the world, can do the same nature.
Lastly is community involvement for sustainability. Our school directress, Sr. Josefina Nebres, ICM, once said that there are a lot of people who come up with very good, big, and grand ideas that that can really help the environment, however, the challenge there is how to sustain it. In an agricultural sense, there are people who plant the seeds, there are people who nurture them, and there are people who harvest them. It is time that we nurture and harvest our ideas. With that, there should be stricter implementation of laws. For example, a company should produce products that are manufactured with lesser carbon or no carbon emission at all. Pope Francis mentioned that that is already happening in one country so why can’t it happen in the others? In the Philippines, we have the Clean Air Act which aims to monitor and set standards for greenhouse gas emissions known to increase global temperatures. People should be educated and made well-aware of the policies and laws and the effects if not abided by for maximum compliancy.
We don’t have to wait for another Typhoon Hiayan to come and bring forth ruin for us to make a move. We don’t have to see destruction and hear cries of people for us to take action. Let us not be the silent partners of the plunderers of mother earth. Who else will make a difference if we don’t take the first step? Who else will inspire others if not us?
Written by: ROXANNE FRANCESCA R. MAGLAYA (STCQC PHILIPPINES)