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Community Bulletin Board
Northern Samar - A small group of climate advocates in the Philippines is nearing the end of a 1,000-km, 40-day journey from Kilometer Zero of the Philippines to Ground Zero of Typhoon Haiyan to demand world leaders to make concrete actions on climate change.
Dubbed as the Climate Walk: A People’s Walk for Climate Justice, the march gathered various environmental groups, celebrities, government officials, faith groups, youth, and individuals[i] during its launch last October 2 in Luneta, Manila, the International Day for Non-Violence, to take on a 40-day walk to reach Tacloban City on November 8, the first anniversary of the super typhoon’s historic land fall.
Led by Philippine Negotiator to UN Climate Change Talks and Climate Change Commissioner Naderev “Yeb” Saño, the Walk will commence on November 8 with the crossing of the famous landmark, San Juanico Bridge which connects Samar and Leyte, and enter Tacloban, Haiyan’s Ground Zero.
According to Commissioner Naderev “Yeb” Saño, who initiated the 40-day walk, “We are facing one of the greatest challenges to humanity. The way we treat nature is a reflection of how we treat others. No more aimless talks. We need to start walking the talk,”
Yeb Sano, the usually shy negotiator from the Philippines whose family’s hometown, Leyte, suffered most the wrath of Typhoon Haiyan, was ushered into the international spotlight when he delivered a very emotional speech at the UN Climate Talks last year in Warsaw at the height of the devastation of Haiyan that hit the Philippines.
In that speech, he called on world leaders to “stop the climate change madness” and started a fasting during the COP until a meaningful outcome has been achieved. Saño’s own brother, AG Sano, a popular visual artist in the Philippines, survived the onslaught, helped gather dead bodies and rescued survivors.
Other than walking, advocates taking part in the Climate Walk held Climate Fairs, a series of activities done in each local municipality or pit stops to educate local communities on the issue of climate change and ways of adapting to its impacts.
“Why are we walking? If we had taken the plane, we would not have met you. If we had taken the bus or our cars, we would have just passed by you and we wouldn't have known what you are going through. We offer this walk to everyone confronting the realities of climate change. We offer it to you,” said Saño during his speech in one of the Climate Fairs.
Local government units along the route of the Climate Walk have also committed[ii] to taking action against the climate crisis by committing to draft their own Local Climate Change Action Plans (LCCAP).
Climate Advocates facilitated distribution of Climate and Disaster Resilience Toolkits in local municipalities and institutions. The toolkits are set of resources that can be used to enhance community planning for climate change and assist in the protection of communities from climate disaster risks.
In 2013, the Philippines suffered the tremendous impact of Typhoon Haiyan, taking almost 10,000 lives and destroying farmlands, fisheries, and livelihoods of people. Months after, Southern Luzon and Northern Visayas were again hit by Typhoon Rammasun (Glenda), which damaged billions-worth of infrastructures and livelihood.
Recently, Typhoon Mario (Fung-Wong) flooded the streets of Metro Manila, paralyzing the country’s capital and causing about PhP 1.14B crop damage.
Samar, the region in the Visayas area where the Climate Walkers are currently in, was also one of the hard-hit areas of Typhoon Haiyan and Rammasun. Last November 2, the Climate Walk passed by several mass graves of people who died during the height of the Haiyan’s devastation.
“Climate Change is an issue of our survival. While it affects us all, it affects gravely the poorest of the poor first, making it harder for developing countries and the most vulnerable to cope up,” said Nityalila Saulo, musician and core member of the artist-activist group, Dakila, who led the walking for the entire 40 days.
“We need to fundamentally change the way we live and the way things work in our planet. We need to galvanize public actions towards solutions to fight climate change,” Saulo added.
Following the People’s Climate March last September 23 in NY, which mobilized about 400,000 people, Climate Walk encourages people deemed most vulnerable to climate change – farmers and fisherfolks – as well as youth, faith groups, and the public to support the Climate Walk even in their own little ways.
“The Philippines is in solidarity with the whole world in demanding for climate justice. We, as a developing nation and one of the most vulnerable to risks of disasters and effects of climate change, should stand up and demand for our survival,” Saño stated.
“Climate Walk is a call for unity. We cannot confront climate change and its dangers if we will act individually. We need collective action in facing this madness,” he added.
“Our destination is not only Tacloban. Our destination is the hearts and minds of the nation and the whole world, hearts and minds that can change the world,” Saño ended his statement.
Now on its final week, the Climate Walk has already reached more than 800 km of their journey, traversing parts of Metro Manila, Laguna, Quezon, Sorsogon, and Albay and will walk through the remaining parts of Samar, and Leyte. On November 8, the first anniversary of the super typhoon, the Climate Walk will commence at the San Juanico Bridge with an expected 10,000 people joining them as they march to Ground Zero in Tacloban.
A concert will follow after to commemorate the historic landfall of Typhoon Haiyan and pay homage to those who perished and survived the catastrophe. — press release from Climate Walk Media