Giving light to the urgency of responding to climate injustices, acclaimed speakers of Ecosummit 2020: 1st National Youth Environmental Forum, emphasized the importance of building environmental awareness among the youth to heed the call for climate action.
In the virtual forum held last December 12 via Zoom, Marble-Diocesan Social Action Center director Fr. Jerome Millan, Congresswoman Loren Legarda, and House Committee on Climate Change chairperson Congressman Edgardo Chatto highlighted the youth’s role in catalyzing the movement towards climate justice.
“Taking care of our Mother Earth is all our mission. Taking care of our planet is our task. If we want to live healthy, if we want to be happy, then we have to take care of our only home—our only Earth,” Millan said.
Legarda then urged the youth sector to continue calling for greater leadership and lobbying the right people to uphold the laws, in the name of climate justice.
“Climate justice is the demand for what is right and just for the Filipinos, who every day fall victim to climate change. It is to uphold the right of every Filipino for a better life,” she addressed the youth participants, saying that they have the power to bridge the gaps within the system.
Moreover, Chatto asserted that with the youth’s influence to spark change, the nation may be able to overcome the challenges brought by the crisis.
“With your help, we can survive and thrive in this new climate reality,” he said.
Focusing on creating impacts and serving the environment, Environmental Lawyer Tony La Vina, and Youth Advocated Building Opportunities and Network in Governance (YABONG) founder Dun Abiera, explained that knowing how your actions affect the planet is one of the important things to keep in mind.
“Climate change requires real change; changes in our lifestyle, changes in our society. All the challenges that Earth is facing, there is always some connection to our daily lives,” La Vina stated.
“Everyone is connected, everything is connected. God did not make us masters of the universe, but God chose us to be stewards of the Earth,” he added.
Meanwhile, Greenpeace Philippines Director Lea Guerrero, and Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability Executive Director Chinkie Pelino-Golle, talked about the need for revamping the economic system as it greatly hits the environment.
“Sustainability is really systems change. It’s not something to be achieved incrementally. Not just the external systems, but also a change in how we perceive the world.” Guerrero said.
Approximately 380 students from different parts of the Philippines took part in Ecosummit 2020: 1st National Youth Environmental Forum, a virtual convention organized by SAMAHAN along with the Ecoteneo Student Unit, in celebration of the university’s #EcoWeek2020.