Connecting Youth Leaders with Climate for Change

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Climate change is one of the most critical global challenges of our times. And with an increasingly young global population, it is the youth who, by default, are the most vulnerable and directly concerned by the threats of climate change.

To address this alarming climate crises, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Philippine Information Agency (PIA), in partnership with the Presidential Communications Operations Office’s volunteer arm, “Pilipinas Natin”(PN) have organized the first(1st) youth congress dubbed as “The Climate Change Youth Congress” in Baguio City on November 27-30, 2014.

The programme is the biggest gathering of youth leaders from north and central Luzon in which some 660 students were engaged in new forms of action and activism that will generate effective responses to ecological challenges.

Along with the Climate Change advocacy campaign theme: “Nagbabago na ang Panahon, Panahon na para Magbago”, the participants were united into environmental activities that empowering the role of Filipino youth as protectors and as young environmental leaders who are committed to sustainable development. They were provided with first hand and nature experiences like climbing into a mountain, walking alongside the river, collecting different leaves specimen,   mass bathing in a fire truck water, jointly eating with bare hands as well as dancing and chanting lyrics in a bon fire together.

Planting trees in the vicinity of Mt. Sto. Thomas Water Reservoir in Cabuyao Mountain were likewise conducted in support of the National Greening Program.

“These nature experiences moved us from the level of awareness to a level where we seek for solutions and thru these, we now understand perhaps our important involvement in creating change”, Erwin G. Cruz, 3rd  year accountancy student from University of Luzon, Dagupan City said.

Furthermore, the event made use of social media in providing real-time information from among the participants urging them to broadcast to the world the ill-effects of Climate Change and the need to step up a collective action for environment justice. Thus DENR-CAR Regional Director Paquito Moreno stressed in his message “I believe that Filipino youth can make a difference in the life of our nation and the key to the unbridled exploitation of Climate Change. Let your voice be heard”.

Through their participation in the Climate Change Youth Congress, young people recently demonstrated that they are capable in decision-making and willing to act and be involved to effect real and positive change. Giving them confidence to say- “There is nothing we can lose by being involved”. (Joy Princess S. Aquino-RPAO)