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Melting Ice

                   Thank you fellow climate leader Dr. Antonio Ingles for the photos and collage.

 

(Note: This was supposed to be the first article for a magazine column that did not push through. I chanced upon it in my email while looking for a contact. I wrote it in June 2014.)

As a climate advocate, I try to maximize my trips with any occasion to speak on the issue. I had just that happy opportunity when a week before I left Manila, I got an invitation to give a talk at the College of St. Benilde for the country’s biggest and longest hackaton, “Hack the Climate Manila”. The event is the brainchild of two Princeton graduates, Jacob Scheer and Michael Lachanski, who are out to save the world by gathering techies to create climate change mitigation apps. Continue reading


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Cebuanos gather for local climate action

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To draw out collective and individual actions to help address climate change, The Climate Reality Project, Pagtambayayong Foundation, and Pusyon Kinaiyahan organized the 24 Hours of Reality: Dalan sa Kinaiyahan on December 6, 1 to 5 pm at the Full Moon Recreation Center, Kamputhaw, Cebu.

Nobel Laureate Al Gore, Founder of The Climate Reality Project said in an official statement that ‘the Paris Agreement has fundamentally and permanently altered what the world thought was possible in terms of addressing the climate crisis. The conversation no longer hinges on if we can do something to address climate change. Instead, world leaders, environmental activists and ordinary citizens are asking what we can do to solve this crisis and how we can work together to do it. This year’s 24 Hours of Reality will help the global community envision the Paris agreement coming to life, as we look at the elected officials, business leaders and activists that are making climate action a reality in countries around the world.’

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#ClimateHope at #VegFestPilipinas2016

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The Vegans of Manila asked me why went vegan. Here is a post I wrote last year: https://shielarcastillo.wordpress.com/2015/09/20/wecome-to-the-rest-of-my-life/

A couple of months ago, I celebrated my first year as a vegan. Since I was a vegetarian for 17 years, I didn’t have much of a difficulty. It was such a breeze that I asked myself why I waited so long. I guess the Philippines is really a late bloomer in this global movement. But as people always say, better late than sorry, or did they say it another way?

This year, I’ve been seeing a small but noticeable shift. A lot more people are going meatless, and others are even going vegetarian. But being vegan is still the diet destination for many seekers. Good thing the Vegans of Manila organized the very first vegan festival in the country  to spread everything good about this way of life.

They invited The Climate Reality Project to share about climate change. Rodne Galicha, TCRP Philippines Branch Manager sent me to give this talk, knowing that as vegan I would be able to relate climate change to raising animals for food, and the vegan alternative.VF_poster_blank_0810

The first half of my talk was mainly Nobel Laureate Al Gore’s updated An Inconvenient Truth presentation, which I always get new versions of since I did the Climate Leadership Training under him in Jakarta in 2011. The second half focused on veganism as a solution that we all can engage in more than three times a day. Here are the three main points I raised in the talk:

First, that our global food system, how human consume so much meat, aggravates the climate crisis, and emitting greenhouse gases even more than the transport sector.

Second, healthy vegan meals  can have 30 times smaller carbon footprint than their meat versions. So shifting to plant-based diets helps lower our carbon “foodprints.”

Third, we are facing a crisis of planetary proportions. There is simply no more time for business as usual. Such a crisis calls for radical solutions. Humans, as the cause of anthropogenic climate change, must also be part of its solution. It calls on us to transform our lives so soften our impact to the planet. For me, being vegan is a sure-fire solution to such a massive concern.

The event was really inspiring. I talked to the merchants, asked about their products and tried some awesome food. There were a lot of people interested about the goings on, buying and trying things, and enjoyed the concert, so I was sure we were not just preaching to the choir. I stayed on till they closed for the night. The next day, I saw a post that the crowd was ‘insane’, they probably heard about the wonderful first day and flocked to Eastwood.

VegFest had part two in Lucky Chinatown the next weekend, but I was already back to Cebu at that time. I saw photos and read social media posts. It was all feel good and positive vibes. There is hope after all. Humans who caused climate change will also save the day, I just feel this #climatehope.

 

 


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Five things you have to remember when you invite me as a speaker

 

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Instead of a tarpauline, student leaders of the Northwestern Visayan Colleges in Kalibo, Aklan prepared this creative and fun sign for my talk during the Eco-Leadership Conference held on August 5-6, 2016.

Here is the UNrider I give out to organizers when I get invited to present the Al Gore Climate Reality Presentation:

Divas and celebrities demand outrageous riders whenever they do shows or appearances. I am not a celebrity, and though I sometimes feel like a diva, I’m not the kind of person to act like one. However, the idea of a rider is especially appealing to me as a climate change communicator because I think it could help me communicate the cause better. As an environmental activist, I always try to raise the bar and be the whole package. As they say, the messenger is the message. From my clothes (definitely coming from ukay-ukay!) to my lifestyle, I try to be green. So many times I fail but I never fail to try again. So I have listed down my own rider that would align my environmental principles to how I want my hosts to receive me in the speaking events I’m invited to. Trust me, these will make the life of my host easier, and I will be happier getting closer to my whole green package goal.

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Of COPs and Christmases

great planetEver since I became a Climate Reality Leader after my training under Al Gore in Jakarta (2011), I became doubly aware of the Conference of Parties (COP) being conducted each year by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Each year, I wait with baited breath hoping a strong and binding agreement could be forged by world leaders to ensure a world more benign to the atmosphere. Year by year each COP failed to deliver what the people of the world long for and demand. Around that time, each year also, my country reels with the brunt of super typhoons and mourns the loss of so many lives, property, and livelihood.

In the last five years, and somewhere before, after, or in between COPs and Christmases, the Philippines was ravaged by extreme weather events like Sendong (Washi 2011), Pablo (Bopha 2012), Yolanda (Haiyan 2013, Hagupit (Ruby 2014), Nona (Melor 2015).  The tragedies unimaginable. The loss unspeakable. The damage immeasurable.

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