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Championing climate justice

Environmental groups and science advocates staged a protest that coincided with the Global Climate Strike as world leaders take part in the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Egypt.

They called on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to “walk the talk” on climate justice by declaring a moratorium on destructive mining, reclamation, power and infrastructure projects, and stopping the killings of environmental defenders.

“Empty rhetoric will not bring back the lives of those who were killed in climate-intensified disasters. Nor will it bring back the shattered livelihoods of many Filipinos,” said Chuckie Calsado, chair of the Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (Agham), during the National Action for Climate Justice protest march held during the weekend.

“The President has the power to rescind the permits of destructive projects, including reclamation and big mining projects, both of which science shows to bring irreparable damage that are hardly commensurate to any benefits trickling down to Filipino communities,” said Joshua Miranda, climate campaigns officer of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan).

He called out Marcos Jr. for condoning environmentally destructive practices and allowing these projects “disguised as development” to flourish.

The protesters may have a point, as Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones has recently said that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources under this administration intended to strengthen the mining industry’s potential to help in the country’s development.

 It is easy to declare that intend to be a champion for climate justice, but in a country that has been labeled as the deadliest country in Asia for land and environmental defenders, backing up those words with action will be a lot harder.

People were surprised when Marcos Jr. spoke of climate action and climate justice at the UN General Assembly a few months ago. Now that the focus is on COP27 and the actions governments have to take as our leaders once again come face to face with their responsibilities the planet and their people, it is the best time for those who made promises to back those words up with concrete action.*

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November 2022
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