Philippine climate activist launches global pilgrimage
After a high-profile stint as the Philippines’ top climate envoy, demanding world powers do more to fight global warming, Yeb Sano is embarking on an epic pilgrimage to force change.
Sano will this weekend begin a global odyssey to places vulnerable to climate change, starting with the cyclone-devastated Pacific island nation of Vanuatu and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
He is leading a “People’s Pilgrimage,” culminating in a 60-day trek to Paris for a United Nations summit in December when world leaders will attempt to forge a new treaty aimed at limiting global warming and preventing its catastrophic consequences.
Backed by interfaith and environment groups worldwide, Sano is hoping the grassroots movement will see thousands of people join him for the final stage of his walk into Paris in a show of moral force.
“We are going to send a powerful, loud message to world leaders that we are many, and we care about the governments and industries of the world finding a solution to the climate crisis,” Sano told AFP this week as he prepared to depart his home city of Manila for the pilgrimage.
“What we want is a just, equitable, ambitious and durable climate agreement to be forged in Paris.”
Sano, quietly spoken but charismatic, emerged as a star for many in the global environment movement with a spectacular display of diplomacy at the 2013 edition of the annual U.N. climate summit.
As lead negotiator for the Philippines, and with Super Typhoon Haiyan having just killed thousands of his countrymen, Sano made a tearful demand for world leaders to take fast and firm action against global warming.
“What my country is going through as a result of this extreme climate event is madness. The climate crisis is madness,” Sano told his fellow delegates gathered in the Polish capital.