Filipino Youth in fear of a Possible Doomsday with a No Deal Scenario in Paris,
held a Funeral March at the Climate Justice Rally
Thousands of Filipinos marched for climate justice today, March 28, and converged at the Quezon City Memorial Circle. Broad groups of social movements, religious groups, trade unions, farmers, urban poor and NGOs took part in the Climate March carrying climate related issues – energy transformation; right to food, land and water; justice and reparations for affected people; protecting our common home (from Laudato Si); jobs and just transition; and carbon emissions reduction.
For the artist-activist group Dakila, the climate march is crucial in ensuring that the world listens to the voice of the Filipino youth who fears for their very own survival when no deal is sealed at the COP21 in Paris. Youth members of Dakila, differing from the general festive theme of the assembly, held a funeral march carrying with them images of their own gravestone inscribed with their own epitaph. Inscribed in their gravestones are their own photos, date of birth and their projected death in 2025.
According to Dakila spokesperson and Climate Revolution Campaigner, Stephanie Tan, “The global warming forecasts warned that in 2025, global temperatures are projected to increase by 2% if nothing is done to prevent global warming. This will result to sea level rise, warming of the oceans, intense heat waves, unpredictable weather patterns that will affect lives, livelihood and our way of life. The Earth has came close to a tipping point and if we don’t act on this now, the survival of humanity is at stake.”
Renee Karunugan, Communications Director of Dakila and dubbed by The Guardian as one of the young climate campaigners to watch out for at the COP21, has been tracking the negotiations. “Many countries in the ASEAN region are vulnerable to climate change. The Philippines, for example, has been experiencing extreme weather events that claim thousands of lives every year. The success or failure of Paris will largely depend on how much countries are willing to commit. This is an issue mostly of developed countries who want to commit — but not too much, just enough to say they have signed an agreement to act on the climate crisis.” Renee said.
Renee further added, “But this is not the time to commit half-heartedly, this is the time to commit to the strongest actions we can do to solve the climate crisis. Sure, there are already climate impacts which we can no longer solve but deciding to act today will lessen other potential, graver impacts we have to face in the future. For developing countries, climate change is a matter of survival. A failure of a strong commitment in Paris means taking away our right to live.”
Last year, in commemoration of the 1st anniversary of the landfall of Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, Dakila joined the 40 day, 1,000 kilometer Climate Walk from Kilometer Zero Luneta in Manila to Ground Zero Tacloban with former Climate Change Commissioner, Yeb Saño. This year, two Dakila members, musician Nityalila and visual artist AG Saño, have also joined the People’s Pilgrimage for the Planet, which traveled by foot from Rome, Italy to Paris, France in time for the COP21. The pilgrimage reached Paris today.
Nityalila said, “The epic journey that started last year from Kilometer Zero Manila to Ground Zero Tacloban and this year from Rome, Italy to Paris, France, ended today. We have taken thousands of steps to reach this destination. We see this as our symbolic pledge to be more vigilant about our individual and collective carbon footprint, to participate more in the global conversations on climate change, and to remember that a small step today in the right direction will make waves in the future.”
“However, our real destination is not Paris but as what Yeb Saño said, the hearts and minds of the people. We bring to the COP21, stories of how climate change affects real people, and world leaders meeting for the COP21 should know that whatever action they take will affect millions of lives in developing countries like the Philippines”, Nityalila added.
Dakila’s symbolic gesture at the March for Climate Justice registers the fear of Filipino youth for a possible doomsday scenario in 2025. The chilling effect of the projections in 2025 prompted vulnerable sectors like the youth to fear the death of their future. “What will happen to us? At an age when we are just building our lives, we will be faced with catastrophic challenges beyond our control”, said Floyd Tiogangco, a 20-year-old fresh graduate who participated in the funeral march. Floyd will just be 30 years old in 2025. “I am afraid that in 10 years, all that I have worked for will be wasted. They say the Philippines is extremely vulnerable in the ravage of climate change. I live in a low-lying area where an increase in the sea level will bring floods that will wash away my home.”
Climate Reality leader and Dakila’s Campaigns Director, Micheline Rama, who has come to Paris to join the global actions for climate justice shared, “Two years after super typhoon Haiyan wreaked havoc in the poorest regions of the Philippines, the conscious global unity pushing for climate justice — instead of charity — has been waning. In the Herculean task of forgetting the things tragically lost, the trudge for international accountability via a fair, equitable, and binding global agreement on climate change by 2015 must remain afloat in everyone’s minds. This can only be achieved through constantly reminding our current world leaders of the plight of disaster-vulnerable countries, of the many lives and livelihoods permanently marred by the negative effects of climate change.”
“ A flutter of a butterfly’s wings on one part of the planet may cause a tsunami on the other. When former world leaders did not bat an eyelash about scientists’ warnings about climate change years ago, they allowed for unimaginable consequences, which lashed more at developing countries with little capacity to avert disasters” Rama warned.
As a creative campaigning organization Dakila has been involved in the fight for climate justice since 2009 together with international organization Oxfam. It has gathered celebrity and artist advocates in creating awareness on climate change and its impacts. Among its roster of celebrity advocates are Up Dharma Down vocalist Armi Millare; pop culture icon Lourd de Veyra; internet celebrity Ramon Bautista; fashion designer and London-based musician Kate Torralba; rockstars Buhawi Meneses of Parokya ni Edgar, Ebe Dancel, Aia de Leon and Rico Blanco; Asia’s Got Talent hosts Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez; celebrity chef and socialite Stephanie Zubiri; Kiko Machine cartoonist Manix Abrera; rapper Gloc 9; jewelry designer Joyce Makitalo; filmmakers Jim Libiran, Dante Garcia, Tara Illenberger and Ditsi Carolino; actors Ronnie Lazaro, Tuesday Varga, Ping Medina and Alessandra de Rossi; photographers Veejay Villafranca and Raffy Lerma; and former beauty queen Miriam Quiambao.
“By engaging celebrities, artists, lifestyle influencers, Dakila has been building an arena where art meets science, film meets social reality, where public discourse on how we can bring solutions to climate change are welcome, where we can be catalysts of change.” Rama added.
One of the Philippines top musician and Dakila Vice-President, said “We can no longer deny the impacts of climate change to our people. Climate change is not just about the environment. It is ultimately about people. We can no longer count the amount of losses and damages we have incurred because of climate change and we are seeking for justice. Climate change has stripped our people of their dignities and rights. It is only fitting that those who have caused climate change must be held responsible for their actions.”
“This convergence of civil society, youth, students and teachers, government, religious groups, artists and individuals for the March for Climate Justice, only shows that the Philippines clamor for climate justice.” Cabangon added.
The funeral march staged by Dakila ended at the Quezon City Memorial Circle where members laid down the mock up tombstones with their epitaphs, lighted candles and offered flowers to symbolize their grief over the grave situation of the future of their generation. A eulogy was read. It mentioned the phrases, “In loving memory of our future, in loving memory of our planet, in loving memory of humanity.”
Dakila spokesperson Stephanie Tan, in ending, said, “Our dramatic depiction of this doomsday scenario expresses our message of grief that we have come to this point in time where our very future is threatened by climate change. But it also expresses our collective anger and passion that we will not succumb to a future that sows fear to our people every time a typhoon hits our land. We refuse to accept that suffering from devastation is a fact of life. We refuse to surrender the dignity of life of our people. We refuse to yield powerless against climate change. A better world is possible.”
“We are a nation of heroes. We are those who refuse to suffer another Haiyan, and other catastrophic effects of Climate Change. We need to fundamentally change the way we live and the way the system works in our planet. We are waging a Climate Revolution.” ##
28 November 2015
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