According to UP Mindanao professor and environment advocate Kim Gargar, profit-based, natural-resource-exploiting companies are the biggest challenge in attaining environmental justice.
Gargar added that these companies are the “deniers of climate change” during a round table discussion.
The immediate rise of oil, coal, and mining companies was said to be the sole cause of the constant destruction of natural resources.
“We should stop these rich companies in exploiting our environment. Kung patuloy pa rin ang mga kompanya na kumukuha na mga resources, mas nasisira ang environment natin,” Gargar said.
The climate advocate also explained that people should stop neo-liberalist consumerism as this economic ideology motivates companies to destroy the environment.
“Hindi natin masisi and consumerism kasi nasa culture na natin iyan. The problem is that consumerism is not about us consumers. It’s about the capitalists that benefit from us. The culture is (then) propagated by the consumers for profit,” Gargar expounded.
Meanwhile, Jayvee Cabajes, Kabataan Partylist Vice President for Mindanao, raised his concern for the Lumads in the exploitation of lands and their right to education.
The arrival of mining and logging companies was said to be the cause of the evacuation of indigenous people and the closure of Lumad schools.
Cabajes explained that the affected schools were the “physical manifestation of resistance to mining and logging companies that planned to use the land.”
This manifestation is then supported by Gargar, who said that the round table discussion would be a tool for educating more youth on what is happening to the environment.
“We should make the youth more engaged with this action. Makakatulong ito para makuha natin ang environmental justice,” Garagar asserted.
“If we keep on educating the youth through environmental projects, protests, and activities, we can give assurance na maging aware ang kabataan to save the environment,” he continued.
The round table discussion’s theme was “Laban Kabataan, Laban Bayan, Kalikasan Depensahan!” and was held at Dave Salem Hall, UCCP Haran.
This event was sponsored by the PANALIPDAN Southern Mindanao Region (PANALIPDAN-SMR) in partnership with Kabataan Partylist and Save Our Schools (SOS) Network.