'Climate Change' for Ordinary Folks

'Climate Change' for Ordinary Folks

Jun 24, 2024, 12:23 AM
Erlie Lopez

Erlie Lopez


Imagining a doomsday scenario for the world easily takes us to the unabated bombing of Ukraine by Russia, genocidal attacks on Palestine by Israel, and territorial usurpations in parts of Africa and Asia. Closer to home, there’s China arguably and relentlessly preying on the oil - and marine life - rich waters of the Philippines and its neighbors. Geopolitics, in a word manifesting the imperial dreams of the biggest powers in the world.

Climate change, in contrast, is a slow-burn crisis that can actually be more widely destructive and irreparable. The intensity, though, may be blowing the minds exclusively of environment scientists, academicians, big business titans, and passionate advocates.

Well, also leaders and pillars of government who are the mandated guardians of a nation’s progress and the well-being of citizens.

Expectedly, the United Nations is on it from the start, and there have been historic international conferences to address the impacts of climate change, most prominently the Paris Conference of Parties (COP21). The Vatican for its part leads the world in prayer with Pope Francis even coming up with a book, Laudato Si, containing his encyclical letter on care for the earth, our common home.

Many governments are also giving more attention to crafting environmental laws and implementing environment-friendly actions in their respective countries.

Care For Mother Earth

How relevant and palpable is climate change, however, to ordinary folks?

At the very least, we feel it in our skin as unbearable heat and massive floods that claim lives and destroy properties and public infrastructures.

Fine, such are human effects of the intensifying global warming due to uncontrolled fossil fuel emissions and the rise in sea level due to the melting of ice caps in the northern hemisphere, two manifestations of climate change.

But once springing back from disasters, many of us tend to go back to normal ways and leave the responsibility to experts and authorities to deal with the crisis.

Looks like climate change is not yet largely tracked back to its basic root - the care for the earth - and stewardship is still an alien behavior for the thinking, rational human species.

The Alarm Bell

With this assessment, the Green Convergence (for safe Food, healthy environment, and sustainable economy) coalition held the 4th Philippine Environment Summit in February last year to highlight the climate’s emergency status and discuss scaled-up solutions offered by select innovative participants among some 800 attendees.

The ideas were then expected to be echoed to people outside the conference halls to spread awareness and understanding of the crisis.

In his keynote address, Federico Lopez, Chairman and CEO of First Philippine Holdings Corporation and also of energy companies First Gen Corporation and Energy Development Corporation, said with alarm that “the exponential deterioration of global climate systems and the environment will make it impossible to solve other problems like poverty, inequality, disease, food production, freshwater scarcity, mass migration, social displacement, mass extinction of species and biodiversity loss among others.”

All of these, he added, we will feel during our lifetimes and they’re undeniably accelerating.

That should make climate change more real to ordinary folks and make them hear the alarm bell.

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