Action plans, tree-planting lead proposals vs. climate change
posted 10-Dec-2019  ·  
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Aside from information campaigns and strict implementation of environmental laws, various groups which participated in the recent Provincial Convention on Ecology and Climate Change have proposed the crafting of Local Climate Change Actions Plans by early 2020 and the planting of thousands of trees every year.

Organized by Caritas Virac Justice & Peace, Inc., and backed by the provincial government, the October 30, 2019 event held at the Catanduanes Convention Center was prompted by the United Nations-based Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggestion that urgent adaptation and innovative actions are the only way out to the increasing earth temperature with only 12 years left before the tipping point of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

According to Rev. Fr. Renato R. Dela Rosa, director of Caritas Virac, this “breaking point” that Pope Francis stated in his “Laudato Si” encyclical letter in 2015 presents “a global phenomenon that is not strange to us but rather so close and real which is the rapid climate change and degradation of the environment, food, livestock and human health deteriorations.”

A series of workshops followed discussions on environmental laws, 13 action points in the Pope’s encyclical letter, and the rights of nature, among others.

The 13 Action Points consist of the following factors: 1) Integration of “Laudato Si” to Practice and Teaching; 2) Integral Waste Segregation; 3) Growth and Recovery of Forest Ecosystem and Biodiversity, Resist Destructive Mining and Dirty Energy; 4) Promotion of Diversified Sustainable Agriculture, Avoid Genetically-Modified Products; 5) Protect and Preserve Seas, Oceans and Fishery Resources; 6) Watershed Protection for Preservation of Ecological Balance and Biodiversity; 7) Immediate Transition to Safe, Clean, Affordable and Renewable Energy, Support the Use of Solar Power; 8) Investment and Divestment; 9) Integration of Laudato Si in Curriculum and Formation programs; 10) Educate and Organize a Well-Informed and Empower Citizenry, Rights, Bills, Laws and Acts; 11) Networking with Local, National, and International Bodies to Convince Aggressive and Irresponsible Industries and multi-national corporations to lower emissions; 12) Respect/Recognize/Support Indigenous People on ancestral domain; and, 13) DRRM Strengthening and Adaptation, Prioritization of Government Budget Allocations.

As a result of the final workshop, the different groups proposed numerous activities, including the following: formulation of Local Climate Change Action Plans; creation of Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO) in each town; an intensive advocacy campaign using all media and venues; a robust, year-round reforestation program, including mandatory tree seedling production, and clean-up drive along coasts and riverbanks; implementation of waste segregation among households; establishment of bicycle lanes; strict monitoring of land use conversions, particularly prime agricultural lands; watershed and biodiversity protection; design and construction of disaster-resilient public infrastructures and facilities; and, a heightened campaign against violations of environmental laws, including illegal logging and illegal fishing.

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