Al Gore Trains Filipinos To Be Climate Leaders
It was a regular Monday in March to most people however it actually was a day filled with hope and promise. The day was ripe with opportunity to address the pressing concern of climate change, it was the time to continue leading for our climate-vulnerable Philippines.
The Climate Reality Project held the 31st Climate Leadership Training, the 1st in the Philippines, on March 14-16, 2016. The event was a three-day intensive training conducted by former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore himself, probably the most well known climate advocate. The objective was simple, it was time to train the first group of Filipino Climate Leaders who shall be knowledgeable on climate change and shall initiate discourse and spark action to address the climate crisis.
Praise from Gore
Taking off from the recently concluded Paris Agreement, Gore praised the Philippines for playing a vital role as the voice of reason for climate vulnerable countries. The Philippines, Chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, engaged with the primary contributors to the climate crisis, such as the United States and China, to pave the way for a sustainable future. The Philippines more importantly became the conscience of those who are most in peril to the ills of climate change; them who are in rural areas; them who live near the coastline; and them who are now just part of the count of people who died from nature’s wrath.
The Paris Agreement forged the promise among countries that each and every nation shall contribute to a lower carbon-emitting, sustainable future. The Philippines, leading by example, intends to cut the country’s’ carbon emissions by 70% by the year 2030 with aid and assistance from developed countries; however is most unlikely given other nations’ historical behavior.
After Gore painted the global picture, he proceeded to present the Philippine national landscape, an image not one of the trainees have not seen before. The Philippines has long been the face of climate vulnerable countries. It ranks first in number of significant weather-related events from 1994-2013. The Philippines also ranks third among countries most vulnerable to climate change due to harsh weather patterns and rapidly rising sea levels. And to illustrate that much further, we are experiencing a drought due to the recent El Nino and have even named typhoons due to their regularity, the most devastating we called Yolanda.
Despite these conditions, the truth is the Philippines is only contributing roughly 0.3% of the global CO2 emissions. This means that climate action and climate justice become national battles that needs to be won in the world scale.
Present also were those who may have been looking for motivation to join in the movement, to those already fighting in the front for climate action and climate justice. Now, all sharing the burden of leading the charge against fossil fuels, against the continued greed of humanity.
The challenge for the new set of Climate Leaders is not only to raise awareness among Filipinos but to engage and enable more individuals to take action for our future across the globe.
The Philippines has not only been the face of vulnerability but now more than ever needs to be the voice of the vulnerability.
Fortunately for the world, if hope lies in us Filipinos, the same Filipinos who smiled after Yolanda, the same Filipinos who bet on hope when there is none, the same Filipinos who embody courage and resiliency; it will only be a matter of time until we change climate change.
Gene attended the Climate Reality Leadership Training held last March in the Philippines. He has always been a climate activist but now is a certified Climate Leader trained by Al Gore.