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Remembrance and reflections on the Luntiang Dahon (Green Leaf) Climate Leadership Award

A couple of weeks after having been accepted as Organizational Development Specialist by VSO Cambodia, I received a notification that The Climate Reality Project will be conferring to me the first Luntiang Dahon Climate Leadership Award. It came as a huge surprise because awards are not something I really think about. Working in the environment sector since 2001 and being an active member of CRP since 2011, I never thought that my efforts would be given any recognition since I don’t do what I do for recognition anyway.

The Climate Reality Project Climate Leadership Awards were given to outstanding groups and individuals recognized by CRP Philippines in celebration of its first anniversary on March 16 and Earth Day on April 22. The awarding ceremony was conducted at the Philippine Senate on April 21.

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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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Why I’m doing nothing for Mother Earth

do nothing

Found in google images, credit to whoever owns it. 

Today is my birthday and I’m doing nothing for Mother Earth. If you know me, I know you would wonder why. Why do nothing when I have dedicated my life to do what I could for her? Why do nothing when last year I had a successful a green gifts for Gaia birthday wherein I asked my friends to plant trees instead of buying me gifts? And in response, my friends gave all sorts of wonderful gifts for Mother Earth in celebration of my birthday. One friend updated me this afternoon about the Spanish Plum that she planted for me last year. She said it is now three feet tall. It will be taller than me next year. Sweet! I even had a mangrove planting celebration with Climate Reality colleagues last year. And now I’m doing nothing?

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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.