Climate Reality Training in Manila

After a final no, there comes a yes, and on that yes, the future of the world depends

The climate Reality Leadership Corps training took place this year from March 14th to March 16th, in the beautiful city of Manila, Philippines inviting over 650 delegates across the world in the Manila Bay. The program took place in the Sofitel hotel right beside the beautiful ocean. The beautiful place, gushing ocean, climate change presentations, and all the enthusiastic people led way to a very informative and inspiring 3 days, leaving everyone with a new zeal to do more to combat climate change which is threatening the survival of species on earth. There were five New Climate Leader from Nepal, with Country Manager and Mentor Mr. Phurpa Lama.

Mr. Al Gore started the training session with the emphasis on the anthropogenic climate change that is happening now, and impacting survival on earth and the urgency with which we need to turn to renewable energy sources. Mr. Gore started the slides with pictures of earth taken from space, which was a turning point in view of humans, that earth was a finite resource. Also, as he always states, “There is no planet B”. We only have earth as our home, and we are destroying our home, we are using the resources and destroying nature and wildlife without any consideration whatsoever to the future generations. Global warming, climate change, pollution, deforestation, extinctions, etc are what has happened because of the haphazard use of earth’s natural resources by human beings. The emissions from factories, and vehicles especially after the industrial revolution, released a huge amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These carbon dioxide acts as a trap, letting the sunlight enter the earth’s atmosphere, but preventing them from radiating back into the atmosphere, and increasing temperature on earth. The increasing temperature has resulted in melting of glaciers, arctic caps, and has negative impacts on our water, wildlife, infrastructures, livelihoods of people, and in all aspects of life. As easy as it was to release all the pollutants into the atmosphere, the difficult it is to remove it. The impact the climate change is bringing about is extreme, and what it may bring about is uncertain. As he put it, we have a dauntingly short time, to act on climate change and reverse the harms it is bringing, for a greener future for our planet that is our home.

Along with Al Gore, we also had other experts and experienced speakers. Father Edwin Gariguez is the Executive Secretary of National Secretariat for Social Action, and also 2012 Goldman prize winner. He was motivated by his faith to lead a movement on Mindoro Island to protect ancestral forests of indigenous from extractive industries. He talked about ecological spirituality, which is linked with life of all creatures on earth, and also about Christian responsibility to care for the poor and vulnerable. The super typhoon Haiyan, effected so many lives in Tacloban, therefore bringing out emphasis on the fact that resilience is extremely important. The livelihood of people changed, and he focuses on forest to improve the resiliency. The marginalized are more vulnerable because of the storm surges and drought. He also quoted Pope Francis, that it is always the poor who are most vulnerable to the harms of climate change.

 

Ken Berlin the president and CEO of the Climate Reality Project talked about the COP 21, and clean energy sources. According to him, our mission now is to catalyze global solution, and switch to a clean energy, low carbon highly efficient and sustainable economy. The solution that we have to the ongoing problem is to switch to renewable energy. The amount of solar energy and wind energy we get is sufficient to provide for the livelihood of the people. The conversion is important for energy sustainability. The costs of the renewables are or soon will be cost competitive with fossil fuels. The solar price is also declining with increasing efficiency. During the Cop 21, 185 countries have agreed to reduce emissions, and hold global warming to well below 2 degree Celsius. But the current commitments are not enough to do that. The Cop 22 to be held in Marrakeh, Morocco in November will focus more on technical works.

The Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest typhoon to cause landfall creating devastation of 50000 homes with over 4000 casualties. Alfred romualdez, Mayor of Tacloban city gave a very personal and heart touching account of the devastation. The evacuation place was not enough. There have been many storm surges before as well, but their intensity and frequency has increased by many folds now. The people would rebuild their lives in may be 15 years, but now they do so in 7 or less, and they are tired.

In this way, the three day training dealt with the issue of climate change, the vulnerability and resilience options, from grassroots to global levels, and switching to alternative energy sources. The Philippines is now the country most affected by sea storms, making the training more personal to everyone involved and leaving everyone with the zeal to work for a better future, and a hope, that it will work

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