En­vi­ron­men­tal and cli­mate lit­er­acy

The Philippine Star - - OPINION -

Aware­ness of cli­mate change and other en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues has grown ex­po­nen­tially, but more can be done to make aware­ness trans­late into action. The world marks Earth Day to­day with em­pha­sis on the im­por­tance of en­vi­ron­men­tal and cli­mate lit­er­acy all the way down to the grass­roots.

This Earth Day, the Philip­pines also of­fi­cially be­comes a party to the Paris cli­mate deal, which went into ef­fect in Novem­ber last year. Pres­i­dent Duterte had loudly crit­i­cized the deal, cit­ing con­cerns also pre­vi­ously raised by other devel­op­ing coun­tries. But he even­tu­ally signed it, and the Se­nate promptly rat­i­fied the in­ter­na­tional agree­ment.

The cli­mate deal com­mits par­ties to limit global warm­ing to two degrees Cel­sius and to do their best to keep warm­ing be­low 1.5 degrees. But ex­perts warned that even with the re­duc­tions in green­house gas emis­sions com­mit­ted by the par­ties to the deal, global tem­per­a­tures would still rise by at least three degrees Cel­sius.

Devel­op­ing coun­tries are wait­ing for a promised P100-bil­lion “green fund” to be put to­gether by af­flu­ent states, which poorer na­tions can tap in the tran­si­tion to green tech­nol­ogy and en­ergy sources. Also still be­ing worked out are mech­a­nisms for ac­cu­rate re­port­ing on the achieve­ment of com­mit­ted emis­sion tar­gets.

Con­fronting cli­mate change, how­ever, can­not wait. This is true es­pe­cially for the coun­tries most vul­ner­a­ble to cli­mate change, which in­clude the Philip­pines. In re­cent years the coun­try has suf­fered griev­ously from what used to be con­sid­ered freak weather, such as cat­a­clysmic storm surges even in se­cluded bays.

In con­fronting global warm­ing, even the small­est action helps. This makes en­vi­ron­men­tal and cli­mate lit­er­acy im­por­tant, with ed­u­ca­tion as the key. There is still a wide room for ed­u­cat­ing the public on what can be done to bal­ance eco­nomic, so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal needs. Greater un­der­stand­ing is needed on the ben­e­fits of sus­tain­able ex­ploita­tion of fi­nite re­sources. Cli­mate and en­vi­ron­men­tal lit­er­acy must be trans­lated into action and be­come a way of life.

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