As the world celebrates Earth Day on April 22, three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker, Loren Legarda called for bolder efforts on climate action amid the country’s ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This pandemic has brought irreversible change in our lives as we know it. With a population of more than 100 million, the national government is focusing on initiatives for economic recovery and vaccination rollout to achieve herd immunity. While the COVID-19 lockdowns have brought about fleeting improvements in greenhouse gas emissions and air quality, these efforts are not enough to reverse the effects of climate change in the country and globally,” Legarda said.
Legarda stated that there is an intrinsic link between human health, climate, and the environment. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) noted that zoonoses, or diseases transmitted from other animal species to humans, account for approximately 60% of all infectious diseases and 75% of emerging infectious diseases in humans, which include COVID-19, Ebola, Avian Influenza, Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), among others.
“We have to realize and value the intricate interrelationships of our environment, our health, and the climate. We have to create more resilient communities than before. I urge not only the national government but every Filipino to contribute in the staging of a resilient and sustainable pandemic recovery for us to avoid and overcome future and interconnected threats,” Legarda stressed.
“Taking into consideration the threat to humanity brought about by the ongoing health, climate, and environmental crises, we must ensure that our actions do not restore the vulnerabilities we had before. We have to rebuild our communities, reduce vulnerabilities and address the climate risks to promote a climate-adaptive, disaster-resilient, risk-sensitive and sustainable development,” Legarda added.
Furthermore, Legarda encouraged Filipinos to embrace the concept of an environment-conscious lifestyle to bolster climate action and contribute in the prevention of further deterioration of the environment by strictly following the provisions of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003); starting an own backyard garden; considering energy and cost-efficient transport modes like walking and biking; practicing traditional energy conservation measures such as using low-wattage appliances and unplugging electronics when not in use; practicing water conservation activities like gathering and storing rainwater or reusing laundry water for other daily chores, among others.
“Climate action should not be a once-a-year effort. Let us show our commitment to save planet earth and contribute to the sustainability of our communities by integrating climate action into our daily lives. This pandemic, the global crisis, and the successive disasters that we have experienced before allowed us to reflect on our actions that are seemingly at war with our environment. Now is the right time for us to tackle environmental degradation with urgency. Together, let us lead the way towards a resilient and sustainable pandemic recovery for all of humanity, for all species in the world, and for our future generations,” Legarda concluded.
Paid press release from the Office of Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda