Climate change activism: mere farts in the wind

Another United Nations (UN) climate summit, another bunch of promises. Has the UN really been an effective body in efforts to mitigate the worst of humanity’s many scourges that Planet Earth suffers? Considering that China is, today, the single biggest producer of “greenhouse gases”, the role the UN plays in an effort to curb emissions can only attract increasing skepticism. For a long time now, China has thumbed its nose at the UN on many matters across military, diplomatic, and cultural, affairs. The least of its worries are environmental issues which are fundamentally anathema to its singular goal of growing in planetary power, influence, and wealth — fast.

That’s unfortunate for the little countries like the Philippines who only have the skirt of the UN to hide behind whenever the neighbourhood bully walks into the school yard.

The Philippines, as usual, is a victim of climate change. In his speech before the summit, Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III emphasized that “Filipinos bear a disproportionate amount of the burden when it comes to climate change.” President BS Aquino was likely referring to the annual typhoons that routinely kill tens of thousands of Filipinos every year (another one of the subtle aspects of his blame-someone-else presidency). But you really cannot take seriously the words of the leader of a nation that basically has spread its legs wide to be happily engulfed by China’s mega-tonnes of cheap planet-killing products.

Indeed, Filipinos import just about everything they need to scrape together their wretched lives — food, fuel, t-shirts, underwear, and the yero and used tires they need to build their homes — as well as pretend to be anything but the Third World society that they constitute — cheap smartphones, cheap fashionista threads, cheap television shows. To fund that monumental consumerist binge, it also imports much of its capital — practically pimping the best of its natural resources, the primest spots of its big cities, and the prettiest of its women to the rest of the world’s capitalists.

And as Filipinos collectively engage in that shortsighted and evidently futile race to plug the ever-widening gap between the richest 20 percent of its population and the lot of its poorest 75 percent, Filipinos continue to multiply. The number of Filipinos has far far exceeded any inherent capability of their society as a collective to honour its unwritten commitment to employ and ensure a decent life for their lot.

To re-visit my seminal definition of poverty:

Poverty is a habitual entering into commitments one is inherently incapable of honouring.

In that light, the poverty equation in the Philippines is an intractable one, specially when one considers how the country’s fate is a mere sub-function of the global economy and the geopolitics that drive it.

Because the Philippines is an utter failure at producing stuff, but a runaway success at buying and consuming stuff, it is doomed in the spiral to impoverished irrelevance that it is already hopelessly caught in. Whatever “growth” it aspires to is always underpinned by external dependencies — the remittances of its vast army of overseas foreign workers, the politically-correct goodwill and pained altruism of its former imperialist “friends” in the international community, and its rapidly dwindling share in the global pot of “foreign investment”.

That infamous Aegis Global “anti-Philippines” video that Filipinos and their government have thrown a monumental national tantrum over represents but a small leak in the dike that protects Filipinos from the mountain of reality checks piling up behind it. Perhaps Filipinos can apply their 100-million-strong “wealth” of warm bodies to plug all the holes in that dike. But truly great people do not shy away from life’s reality checks. They face them and overcome them.

Are Filipinos up to the challenge of thinking their way out of the rut they had dug themselves into?

The untenable nature of “climate” activism’s goals and the non-control the Philippines exerts over its fate given that has been reduced to a sad activist cliche. Words uttered and poetry waxed about it may comfort. But the trajectory has been set and the rocket already launched a long time ago.

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12 Comments on “Climate change activism: mere farts in the wind”

  1. We can all debate about climate change, but Nature has the final say.

    World leaders want to slow down the effect of climate change, then solve first the population explosion. If lesser population would mean lesser demand for fuel. But, if it doesn‘t work, then only few would endure the harm effects of climate change. Think, if the population of the Philippines is only 50 million and not the current 100 million, it would be easier for us to adjust and to cope with climate change.

    Overpopulation and pollution jives together.

  2. Nature has its way of balancing things. High population growth produces greenhouse effect. Humans emit heat, use carbon fuel and destroys the forests.

    The poorest countries in the whole world would be greatly affected by impact of climate change. This includes the Philippines. Even Nature has its way of eradicating poverty. By simply wiping out poor countries with super typhoons. What a natural way to reduce human population.

  3. The Philippine government claim to be actively doing something to address climate change concerns but they have not done the following:

    1) Jump our fuel standard to Euro 4/5 already and not allow fuel companies to delay this any further beyond 2016. I saw some articles saying Euro 4 fuel standard for 2016 may get pushed back still because the big 3 will not be able to comply completely yet. That should be their problem because that’s been in the pipeline and delayed from 2014 to 2016 if I recall correctly.

    2) Incentives for installing alternative energy sources for buildings (Be it residence, commercial or industrial). These should be technologies that are VAT free and ideally even excise tax/import tax free because they aim to help the environment in a grand scale if you allow movement to start even in a smaller scale. Even if I buy a small 1kw solar panel, that is still 1kw I am not drawing from the grid during daytime. Just to cite an example.

    3) Alternative fueled vehicle incentives. For some reason, up to now, there is no clear signal as to what has happened to this law. It’s already approved last I checked but no IRR til now. But it’s more than 30 days which is normally the standard for release of IRRs after a law is signed. This will affect not only private vehicles but technologies for public transport to be pushed to ubiquity. by making the commercial investment towards them more viable.

    4) get their sh*t together as to action plans. It is still just seeming to be all talk to no action when it comes to the government. Actions to “fight” corruption by the government have not lead to criminal convictions. They are only detained for legal proceeding but are not technically jailed because they are guilty. It’s something that is a clear example of how flawed government action is with anything it does. Streamlining operations also is out of the question for most agencies because they prefer it to be as messed up as possible so that they can get as much grease money from every one to get things moving. That’s why computer integration and interconnection between agencies doesn’t seem to work. This would make records keeping more efficienct and trace backs be quick and easy for all types of checks and balanced. It won’t waste time and energy of everyone concerned and make personnel operation efficient and less wasteful on a big picture scale. Savings all around for everyone.

  4. The “Greenhouse Effect” has already destroyed the Solar Shield of the Planet Earth. It is caused by too much pollution and too much emission of Carbon Dioxide.

    Our forests are denuded…our oceans , rivers and lakes are polluted. The Schumann Resonance which is the “heartbeat of this Planet Earth” is already 13 Hz…

    So, expect weird weather to continue…the Pacific Ring of Fire is already disturbed. More volcanic eruptions, earthquakes tsunamis, etc…

    It is our fault, we did not took care of Mother Earth, our home, which is called: “the Blue Planet”…

    1. Filipinos are multiplying like Rabbits…with small landspace and 100 million population. The gap between the rich and the poor is too wide; and widening, everyday…corruption widespread…the best and the brightest continue to migrate to other countries…what can we expect?

      1. expect the Pacific Ocean to swallow most of the country sooner or later and head for higher ground.

        other than that? expect more of the same scam/scum-baggery out of the politicians that serve themselves at the buffet of the national treasury.

  5. I totally agree. Furthermore, uselss Aquino demanded funds… for his pocket and the pocket of the oligarchs, playing the victim card, again.

  6. Politics for politics’ sake is more important than industry for most pinoys. I might say, especially so for most that never had any chance at any technical trade.

  7. benign0: you usually talk sense, but this article is a bit rambling. What does it have to do with climate change activism?

    Perhaps you were pointing out that, in the grand scheme of things, climate change is somewhere down near the bottom of the Philippines’ massive list of “things I need to fix today”?

  8. The Definition of poverty given above is not an accurate assessment of what poverty is: The lack of basic needs over an extended period of time.

    if the definition is referring to a national banruptcy it is not accurate either.Poverty is a condition of people, not a national political attitude.even if it is made up for a good reason, as it appears to have been, it is still not accurate.

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