Walk the Talk

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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.

In Administrative Order No. 022, Series of 2019, dated February 13 this year — poignantly on the eve of Valentine’s Day — City Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan created and tasked a technical working group (TWG) to prepare the city’s Eco-Green Master Plan that will serve as a requisite to the declaration of Baguio City as an Eco-Green City. Chaired by the City Engineer, the TWG has 7 other members, 5 of whom are government agency heads, while 2 other seats are for yours truly and another private personality representing the Glad to Be Green advocacy group.

All of us deeply involved in espousing environmental causes welcome Mayor MGD for this breakthrough initiative. We at G2BG can do no less than take the time, the effort, and whatever else may take from us to get ourselves consecrated in meriting substantial global support for specifically-designated eco-green projects. Far too long have we advocated nothing less than a dynamic public-private partnership that can ensure, even beyond the borders of territorial demarcations. I can only recall how in 2016 we have begun 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.

Indeed, these are exciting times, and we in Baguio can always be up the challenge of rising up much more under the direst circumstances. Getting on board any think tank for environmental goals is one thing though; getting the work done from a harmonizing symmetry of actions brought together simply by a unifying purpose is quite the challenge in this regard. From where we are, we will humbly oblige the city’s Chief Executive, even as we thank him for the privilege to part of this breakthrough group.

THE CHALLENGE is clear enough for us: 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 climate change adaptation, disaster resiliency, environmental upgrade, and clean energy projects.

In recent years, several multinational companies deeply involved in green energy projects have been extending technical and financial assistance to interested local governments that are willing to be declared as an Eco-Green LGU. Their support will go a long way in eliciting the financial wherewithal for eco-green environmental aspirations.

There is much to hope for from Mayor MGD’s initiative 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. 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.

The time may well have come for the entire constituency of Baguio to come together once more — as it has done so in many critical instances in the past —and by consensus of interest be able to forcefully address critical issues through evolving public-private partnerships that can endure greater years of cooperation, unity and teamwork, that can withstand the usual political challenges that blur and besmirch men and women of varying, and at times, contending persuasions.

As a people, we need to fortify 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 stay the course, to avoid arguments meant to divide, to sidetrack issues of less consequence, to offer middle grounds where attitudes and interests can capably converge, without anyone feeling bruised or waylaid.

Progress comes to those who strive the hardest. We must show the way to it, leading from the heart, exerting by our humble might that we can be stronger from the goal we can set through the time-tested recipe of hard, honest work done in teamwork, in unity, and in genuine love for Baguio.

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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