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Confronting the climate crisis head-on

By: Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos - CDN Digital | January 02,2020 - 08:08 AM

Wishing our readers and kababayan a peaceful and resilient 2020, amid a vast array of climate and biodiversity challenges confronting us and the rest of humanity.

Northern Cebu and other provinces hit by Typhoon Ursula, the 21st and last typhoon in 2019, are still reeling from its devastating impacts. Some of the survivors are spending the start of the new year in evacuation centers, having lost homes and properties and, for others, grieving the painful death of loved ones.

In Australia, Sydney’s New Year fireworks became controversial as the country is battling its worst wildfire disaster, destroying homes and wildlife such as koalas who are said to have lost at least 30 percent of their habitat.

My dream for this year as the beginning of the third decade for the 21st century is for decision-makers from all branches of government and stakeholders to confront the climate crisis head-on and treat it as a survival issue.  Many political authorities still cannot even talk openly about the ongoing catastrophe that we have inflicted, willingly or unwittingly upon our planet, our oceans and people,  with its dire consequences to lives, livelihoods, communities and biodiversity.

Without such an acknowledgment and constituents’ knowledge and understanding, concrete steps towards sustainable solutions to respond to it in a timely, participatory, cohesive and adequate manner, will not take off and will further aggravate the crisis.

I want to see more of our youth take on direct action to make our environmental laws real and to call on government to mainstream science-based decision-making.

We are witnessing perhaps the most transforming/transformative decade of our planet, with an eminent writer, broadcaster and commentator on sustainable development, United Kingdom’s Keele University Chancellor Sir Jonathon Porritt, describing 2020-2030 as “the most critical decade in humankind’s short history.”

He referred to the September 2017 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finding that we had 12 years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. On the issue of biodiversity, he cited the Living Planet Report that 60 percent of the vertebrates population  as being already lost. “The Living Planet Report 2018 is the twelfth edition of the report and provides the scientific evidence to what nature has been telling us repeatedly: unsustainable human activity is pushing the planet’s natural systems that support life on Earth to the edge.”

In his lecture, Porritt discussed opportunities for solutions and windows of hope such as technology, the Green New Deal and the Extinction Rebellion as actions that we can do to immediately stem the accelerating impacts of climate change  and biodiversity loss, and have a sustainable and inclusive world that our children deserve.

Let us do what we can, in the roles and position that we are in, to avert the collapse of our natural world. Each one of us matters and each step towards protection of our home planet counts.

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