Getting things done the right way

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Getting Baguio declared as an Eco-Green City is just the first major step. Getting Baguio to finally merit interested MNCs — the big boys in the Green Club worldwide — to pry open and let loose direly needed funding support for Eco-Green projects is quite another thing, literally a long, arduous walk past major roadblocks along the way. I’ve been told it’s not just a walk in the park, something to breeze through with ease. That so many things can still pose as serious challenges along the way. Ok, ok, but it shouldn’t deter or hamstrung us a bit, considering the big stakes at hand.

That is why, despite the seemingly hard days, weeks, even months ahead, we boarded the bus towards the Eco-Green Baguio that we’ve been striving for these past many years. After all, we’ve been hollering since way, way back for us to get going in our advocacy to give Baguio a break after having been just led through the maze of environmentally challenging times. As first disclosed last week, finally, after months of getting the city interested enough to pay serious heed to climate change challenges, there’s a window of opportunity that has been opened for us in Baguio to get going in so far as clean and green issues are concerned. About time indeed, no matter how belated.

We at G2BG can do no less than invest more of our time and effort to help the city in every way reasonably possible. As the city’s chosen advocacy group, no stone should be left unturned for all of us in government and non-government sectors to get ourselves consecrated towards the identified goal. We do know the difficulty in meriting substantial global support for specifically-designated eco-green projects. We do realize that intentions are never enough, no matter how pure and unstained, for everyone on board the technical working group to remain focused, unaffected by differing perspectives from where we are.

Indeed, far too long have we advocated nothing less than a dynamic public-private partnership that can endure the test of time, even far beyond the borders of territorial demarcations. Far too long has Baguio’s pristine but precariously growing environment been at grave peril, long before Boracay and now Manila Bay have merited national attention. And far too long has Baguio’s green projects been in doldrums, not because of lack of persistence on the part of our leaders, not because of lack of funding considering Baguio’s financial strength. Where we have been these past several years could have been the result of far too many cooks dipping into so many sauce, uncognizant of time’s punishing effects. Too much time had whizzed by, while the difficulties of ten years ago have festered to put us where we are.

In fact, our experience way back in 2016 — just three years back — should have sufficed to make us pause and ponder if advocating for somethings to get going is worth the brickbats thrown our way. Recall dear reader that we have gone on a limb just propagating the use of solar energy as a worthy cheaper alternative to power lighting needs, as exemplified by the simple amenities of lighting up the Cathedral grounds. We then followed it up by introducing electric-powered public vehicles on thoroughfares within the CBD area, hopeful that government support for transport innovations would come in from enlightened policies. The rest has leaped from public demonstration into the dustbin of the city’s history, or how one group’s advocacy for transport systems reliant on clean energy can just as easily be cast aside.

But no matter. We have cast these memories aside this time, opting to work it out with our government policy makers, whose involvement and passion we share. Thanks to Mayor MGD — he who has grappled with much of Baguio’s environmental challenges all these years — he has gratefully acknowledged the precise role that advocates like us can serve. Stripped of all political niceties, he took the bull by the horns and blazed a new trail in getting Baguio environmentally prepared for eco-green projects that can sweep past years of rhetoric that have besieged us since way, way back. No doubt, it is time to walk the talk, no matter that it’s all taking place in an election season.

Again, we raise what the stakes are: to initiate and craft the benchmarks for eco-green programs and projects worthy of invaluable support and assistance from the multinational companies that have had proven global reputation in helping advance local governments that have identified, with an advocacy’s support, projects involved in climate change adaptation, disaster resiliency, environmental upgrade, and clean energy application. MNC support will certainly go a long way in eliciting the financial wherewithal for eco-green environmental aspirations.

Indeed, there’s much to hope for in getting solutions to our woes, beginning with the way we’ve been ridding ourselves from all the waste we generate from economic activities. Garbage alone has lingered far too long. Converting waste into something productive and usable seems to be the model everywhere else, and surely Mayor MGD’s initiatives in this regard can begin to yield far better results when globally recognized endeavors are applied, possibly either through clean grants or liberalized loans.

What seems clear at this stage is the convergence of public-private interests to finally get Baguio well on the road to environmental progress, rather than on the wings of degradation that has been the bane these many years. To reiterate, we have the unique character of being an environmentally-resourced highly urbanized and modernizing upland city that has had its share of urban difficulties common to similarly-situated human settlements anywhere else. All it takes is the will power to get things done in perhaps far better ways than ever thought of.

As a people, we have the strengths that have historically been our chief asset in getting things done, despite the odds besetting us every step of the way. As leaders, we should all the more feel challenged to hold the fort and stay the course, to sidetrack issues of less consequence, to offer middle grounds where attitudes and interests can capably converge, to argue from commonly shared interests, disregarding whatever feelings are bruised or waylaid.

Lest we forget, it is time to realize that progress comes to those who work the hardest. Yes, let’s show the way to it, leading from the heart, working ourselves to the bone by the time-tested recipe of hard, honest work done in teamwork, in unity, and in genuine love for Baguio. Less than that is simply empty talk, not worth the walk at all, not deserving of history’s kind judgment.

AS WE COPE with climate change, let’s not forget that we’re doing everything humanly possible to alleviate us from the very scourge that has now been upon us for decades now. Again, it’s all about Mother Nature’s extreme behavior, and what we’ve been all taking recklessly for granted all these years.

Weather temper tantrums in utterly extreme conditions, that’s what we’ve been experiencing worldwide, in a relentless fight-back that Mother Nature has been unleashing in erratically worsening form and shape. When the earth shakes up, it does so not just in mighty heaves, but in suddenly deadly fits and turns. When the weather turns hot, it’s become lethally scalding. When it rains, they come in torrential force, whipped up by lashing winds like no other.

The stark reality is that we are among the most vulnerable places in the world. Accordingly, the effects of climate change are decidedly far-reaching and will greatly impact on us due to the humanitarian crises that it spawns, the displacement and migration of victimized people and the loss of livelihood.

Archipelagic as our country is, climate change will simply cause coastal areas to shed portions of shorelines, throwing in helter-skelter movement our compatriots who live in these threatened places. Even now, we are witnessing erratic weather patterns taking place in alarming regularity. Subtropical deserts are expanding; arctic glaciers are melting down.

Scaling down carbon emissions — singly and collectively as no less embedded like being etched on stone in the Paris agreement on climate change — is the only sensible thing to do. And that is simply because it is the only right thing to do.

It’s bad enough that we’ve been abusing our fragile environment, since way, way back. It’s bad enough that we’ve been wreaking havoc on our precious ecosystem that is our lifeline into the future. But when scientists have been repeatedly warning us, that by 2047, the earth’s surface temperature would have drastically altered, enough to scald us all, that should have been the final-final tolling bell to heed for us to take drastic action. That should have been our clarion call to prevent by concerted collective action mankind’s own ill-fated annihilation and extinction. Hold your breath, 2047 is just a scant 30 short years away!

Given the country’s extreme vulnerability to climate change, it is simply right that we do our share in lowering the polluting emissions that have in fact been on the rise from 1990 to 2010 by a surging 65%. When our government set a 70% emission reduction by as much as 70% by 2030 — committed when we signed up our pledged commitment in the global accord forged in Paris — we did so from a conscientious acceptance of a sense of national responsibility. Clearly, we joined up in the worldwide effort to do our share in giving Mother Earth a respite from man’s continuing criminal folly. We recognized the need to be in concert with each other, to abandon our wanton ways and behave as responsible, caring stewards of the only planetary home we can bequeath to generations next.

To reiterate what our task is: bring down the level of massive pollution now afflicting the world. This means reducing strategically the greenhouse gas emissions into the earth’s atmosphere. This means putting in place a strategic policy to reverse our energy use from coal to alternative energy sources. This means removing the incentives that firm up our over-reliance on coal as principal source of our energy use. This means adding up our voice, no matter how tiny, to the global pressure for the world’s leading polluters to walk their talk.

About time that, by the work that our TWG for Eco-Green Baguio, we now have a chance to make our feet do the talking for us, hopeful that the MNCs out there will give us a listening ear beyond the borders put up by greed and avarice.

In the end, it is people — yes, you and I and the rest of all us — who must do its share, even at the cost of the most extreme of sacrifices to keep Planet Earth a worthy hand-over liberated from the clutches of fossil fuel, free enough to use alternative clean energy sources with less pollutive effects to the global atmosphere, free enough go beyond the borders of our self-serving attitudes, free enough to break the barriers that the sins of inhumanity have imposed.

We at G2BG are ready to do our share. Are you?

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