By Francis Ryan B. Pabiania | News Writer
Vol. XCIII No. 7
Sept. 27, 2019
“It is not enough to just wake up. We need to rise up and actually do something,” said Maria Jaya Ariola, Silliman University Student Government (SUSG) Environment Committee (EnviroCom) chairperson on their campaign for the BANGON: Parada para sa Klima, climate strike in Dumaguete City on Sept. 27.
The strike is organized by the SUSG EnviroCom in partnership with Sangguniang Kabataan Pederasyon ng Dumaguete, Ang Sandigan and Association of Young Environmental Journalists, who are mobilizing the strike in the city for consciousness about the issues.
Ariola said they expect to gather 300 youth environmental advocates and organizations to kick-off a protest parade from Quezon Park and will end at Freedom Park. She said that several organizations will have their statements of commitments on the climate crisis.
Moreover, Ariola said the city is a “University Town” and should be at the forefront in dealing with the climate crisis in Negros Oriental. She added that Silliman University is known as an environmentally-sustainable institution, and she wants to make certain that it is a fact than just a title.
“As Sillimanians, we are experiencing life from a place of privilege and so we must understand the climate crisis and how it affects the marginalized, the oppressed, and the masses,” she added.
She stressed that students’ learning in the university must be used to fight for their rights and persist to see real climate action from the government.
“Let’s get out of our bubble of privilege and use the quality education we have to protect the underprivileged who are affected by the climate crisis the most,” she said. She encouraged students to participate in the event, to approach teachers and explain the purpose; and to present proof of attendance such as pictures and videos to be excused from classes.
Recently, the Department of Education released a memorandum urging educators to excuse elementary and high school students from their classes provided they present a parent’s consent and proof of attendance.
Among the pressing issues Ariola mentioned are the “Coal-Free Negros” campaign and its Renewable Energy Ordinances; the saving of Mt. Talinis and the protection of areas against energy exploitation; and the appropriate funding for the Center for Tropical Studies.
Meanwhile, Ariola added that on Sept. 20-27, young people around the world are responding to the third global call to strike for the climate to urge world leaders in the United Nations Climate Summit to act and declare a climate emergency.
She said that the Philippines has already around 12 actions registered online. Since Sept. 20, around four million students have been striking for “climate change” all over the world.-
These climate strikes, formally known as #FridaysForFuture, were started by Greta Thunberg, a climate activist from Sweden.
According to Ariola, the effects of climate crisis are not in the faraway future, and they are only going to get worse, especially if we just sit and complain about them. “I don’t want you to regret when you grow old, that you didn’t do enough for your future grandkids, the ones who will inherit a broken world,” she ended.