Before, I believe that I am doing nothing but, rather, harming the environment. I am contributing significantly to both global warming and climate change. Although I care about the Earth, my actions reflect otherwise. Until such time that I joined the 1st Student Catholic Action of the Philippines Earthkeepers Summit last November 10 to 13, 2016 bearing the theme “Taking a closer look at Our Common Home with a Diamond and an Oak.” The E - Summit brought me back to the reality that I almost took for granted. It allowed me to re-evaluate and change my habits and lifestyle.
There were three main activities in the summit classified accordingly into themes: What is happening to our Common Home? It covers the community exposure – immersion experience and study sessions and workshops all for the input analysis on the cause, cost, and effects of climate change on our shared home; What have we done to our Common Home?, which involves prayer moments, mini- celebrations and group dynamics with its guided reflection: Laudato Si; and lastly What connects us to our Common Home? It is the creative action time for crafting proposals and solutions for our common home.
My best experience in the event is when I was given a chance to personally encounter the area in Booy, Tagbilaran City, Bohol and met the community which lacked support from the government for the city officials gave less priority to informal settlers. I was in an Exposure Program that talks about the Urban Poor and Mother Earth (ME). Staying there for overnight, hearing the sides of different respondents, I was able to experience the realities that they experienced as I stayed together with one of the informal settlers before, Ate Nora. She lived most of the time of her life as an informal settler. Together with her family, they stayed for almost twenty years (20) in Booy as informal settlers. I was able to personally hear a heart-touching story of how they survived the challenges they have experienced. Everything happens for the reason that they want to live a better life, together with their love ones. Anything for their family, they will do it. Due to these reasons, most of the land spaces in Tagbilaran City are occupied by informal settlers. They find everything in life easy if they are in the City.
When learning about the environment’s declining health it is easy to feel discouraged, but what keeps us fighting for a healthy world is the future of our children. They should not have to inherit our environmental problems and to keep their future bright, spreading awareness is imperative.
Calling people to action through advocacy works
I want to help bring climate change on the frontline as the most pressing problem of the 21st Century. Sadly, many remain agnostic- if not totally clueless – about what is happening now to our planet. There’s no Planet B at all that will substitute Earth and supports life. I am trying to learn as many things as I can about how climate change affects us and how we can fix it. People hate what they do not understand, and that is why we have to go out there and educate those who know less. In a country so prone to natural disasters like the Philippines, there’s no place for climate illiteracy.
The planet is not a huge shopping mall, where we can consume all the resources we need. We should work as a biological system, where each organism is dependent to one another. If we keep on doing our abusive practices to our nature, it is only a matter of time before we feel the ugly consequences.
Photo: Ernest lee (far right) joins his fellow SCA high school leaders in a town clean-up drive.
I, Ernest Lee C. Tambis, an SCAn, an Earthkeeper and a Climate Justice Advocate. I commit myself to live positive actions for a healthy way of life. For my compassionate eating, I am now starting to be a vegetarian. Pro-organic and grow fruits and vegetables at home. I switched to green electricity, began to join a community garden and help plant native plants and trees, edible plants, flowering plants and fruit-bearing trees near where I live. I am now slowly changing my bad habits into “Green” one. Now, we are planning to have a big event with all the youth in the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Chapter (Chapter 2) of the Diocese of Tagbilaran. It will be in partnership with the Local Government Unit of the three towns: Catigbian, Balilihan, and Cortes to create a ripple effect of what we have learned and experienced in the Summit.
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