I find it interesting, to say the least, that Filipinos are looking to the “developed” countries of the world to take responsibility for the purported climate changes that, according to Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III, are “playing havoc” on hapless developing countries like the Philippines. Over in Warsaw, Poland during a United Nations conference on climate, Philippine delegate Naderev “Yeb” Sano reportedly “broke down in tears” as he appealed for more “meaningful” outcomes in efforts to curb climate change.
Scientists say single weather events cannot conclusively be linked to global warming. Also, the link between man-made warming and hurricane activity is unclear, though rising sea levels are expected to make low-lying nations more vulnerable to storm surges.
So we need to be a bit more circumspect and less judgmental in our calls for “developed” nations to be more “responsible” for their actions.
After all, the Philippines cannot really claim to be a paragon of environmental awareness, much more a champion of mitigating action. The country is a vast dumping ground of millions of tonnes and billions of dollars worth of cheap plastic trinkets shipped thousands of kilometres on diesel-powered vessels from China. Most of these end up being processed via the nation’s decrepit waste management infrastructure. Its public transport system is propped up by millions of rustbucket jeepneys and tricycles that poison the air with their leaded exhaust. More importantly, the Philippines produces the ultimate source of all that environmental degradation in copious amounts — people…
University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy figures that 75 to 80 percent of the devastation can be blamed on the human factor.
Meteorologists point to extreme poverty and huge growth in population—much of it in vulnerable coastal areas with poor construction, including storm shelters that didn’t hold up against Yolanda.
The population of the devastated provincial capital of Tacloban City nearly tripled from about 76,000 to 221,000 in just 40 years.
But let’s say, for argument’s sake, that human activity does cause this “climate change” which then causes super-typhoons like Yolanda (a.k.a. Haiyan).
If Filipinos are really serious and sincere about contributing to the cause of curbing climate change (assuming that it is as it is claimed caused by human activity) and, presumably, reducing the incidence of appalling disasters such as that wreaked by Typhoon Yolanda, they should look to the coming Christmas season as a brilliant opportunity to walk their talk.
During the Holiday Season, Filipinos spend vast sums of money buying what are essentially useless consumer goods and consuming millions of tonnes of paper products to present them artistically all for the purpose of upholding a quaint tradition that traces its roots to ancient European pagan practices. At the moment, Facebook and Twitter timelines are flooded by an increasingly annoying torrent of charity appeals. Will there be a similar flood of appeals to buy sensibly and focus on the real point of it all when the Silly Season rolls in over the next several weeks?
That remains to be seen.
Filipinos, after all, are chronic point-missers. Indeed, there is very little evidence throughout their history that Filipinos take away valuable lessons whenever tens of thousands of their compatriots die in the routine “natural” disasters that hit their islands. Indeed, before we try to encourage others to pay their dues, we as a people should first settle our own debt to our immediate space — clean up all the garbage we dump in our own backyard, cure ourselves of our addiction to idiotic consumerism, and stop making babies we cannot feed (or protect when disaster strikes).
It’s simple. Really.
But then the Crying UN Delegate carries on…
Sano said he hoped his fast [to protest what he called a lack of “meaningful outcome” in climate change efforts] would put pressure on delegates to agree a new loss and damage mechanism to compensate poor countries for damage from global warming. He also urged more action by developed nations to curb their emissions and raise climate aid towards a promised $100 billion a year from 2020, from about $10 billion a year in 2010-12.
Somebody fire this guy.
We need to send a real scientist to these U.N. conferences. Not some emo boy who uses emotional blackmail to extort more aid out of the governments of “developed” nations.
Filipinos need to grow up and take responsibility for their own future. We like crowing about our nation’s imagined greatness but shrink away whenever we need to step up to a call to face the obvious gap between that aspired-for greatness and the pathetic state of our society that, today, squarely looks us in the eye. If there is any real opportunity presented by this disaster, it lies in the chance to face that greatness gap and implement the hard changes that impact even our most cherished traditions and beliefs.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.