Asian students use tech to help communities mitigate climate change

MANILA, Philippines – Students who participated in the Power Shift Philippines: Climate Action Summit, which was held in Daraga, Albay from March 10 to 12, vowed to help make their communities care for issues on climate change using social media and technology.

“We’re living in the same Earth. So, if it’s happening in other places, it will soon happen in our places as well because we’re on the same Earth,” Leaksmy Heng, a second year Business Administration student from the American University of Phnom Penh in Cambodia, said.

Heng shared that many of the people in Cambodia, a predominantly agricultural country, “don’t really care” about climate change mainly because they don’t feel the effects of it. Still, she believes that people “should really be concerned about that.”

“Climate change can play a huge impact on Cambodia in the near future because if [things] keep changing and the temperature keeps increasing, then it will affect [our] agricultural system.

“It affects our countries. It affects us. So we should care,” she stressed. (READ: Climate change: Why PH should care)

Lester Dellosa, a third year Journalism student from Bicol University, Legazpi City, echoed Heng’s view, “[Just because] you’re not affected, you wouldn’t do anything at all.”

“Everybody’s deeds count. There are advocates on certain issues that don’t really affect them but they want to help out. If nobody will take action, who will? We need all the help we can get,” he said. (WATCH: PH lags behind many countries in climate action)

Heng and Dellosa participated in the #ClimateActionPH Albay workshop which MovePH, Rappler’s civic engagement arm, organized in partnership with The Climate Reality Project Philippines (CRP) on the second day of the Power Shift PH summit.

The three-day youth camp was organized by the Bicol University – University Student Council and participated by Heng, Delosa, and over 70 other delegates from universities in ASEAN countries.

EMPOWERING THE YOUTH. The Climate Reality Project Philippinesu2019 Rodne Galicha (second from left) leads a group of environmental experts during the #ClimateActionPH Albay workshop. Photo by Marian Manalese/Rappler

EMPOWERING THE YOUTH. The Climate Reality Project Philippinesu2019 Rodne Galicha (second from left) leads a group of environmental experts during the #ClimateActionPH Albay workshop.

Photo by Marian Manalese/Rappler

Social media and climate action 

During the #ClimateActionPH workshop, representatives from CRP, Greenpeace, Pusyon Kinaiyahan, Oscar M. Lopez Center, Seed4Com, shared their expertise with the participants on climate change – its effects and what the youth can do to help mitigate and adapt to it, among other topics.

“We know it’s getting warmer. We know we’re getting colder days. We know that Yolanda is the new normal. What are we going to do about it? What are the adaptation solutions that we can find?” Mayan Quebral, Executive Director of the Oscar Lopez Center, said.

#ClimateActionPH panelists: Rodne Galicha, Jasmine See of Pusyon Kinaiyahan, Mayan Quebral of Oscar Lopez Center, Dann Diez of Seed4Com — Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) March 11, 2017 Galicha: Climate change is happening. We are already experiencing it. #ClimateActionPH — Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) March 11, 2017 Galicha: Give yourselves the future that you deserve. #ClimateActionPH — Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) March 11, 2017 Quebral: Enjoy the science, invest in the science, choose science. #ClimateActionPH — Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) March 11, 2017

They also entertained questions raised by some of the participants during the panel discussions.

A student from Bicol University asks about responsible mining. #ClimateActionPH — Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) March 11, 2017 Rodne Galicha joins the panel: We need to go back to policies. Responsible mining could be possible. #ClimateActionPH — Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) March 11, 2017 Delegate from Negros: Up to what extent should we go on with our campaigns on social media? #ClimateActionPH — Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) March 11, 2017 Ambil: No story is worth your life. Measure the risks, do threat assessment. Ask for help in the community. #ClimateActionPH — Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) March 11, 2017

Representatives from Rappler’s MovePH were also present to discuss good practices on using social media for social action, and platforms for online environmental campaign amplification and community building.

. @MovePH @rupertambil Ambil: Smartphones... that small device creates a big impact in the society. Ano ang assets ng community ninyo? #ClimateActionPH — Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) March 11, 2017 Tupaz: Social media is very powerful. Whatever we post online can spread. #ClimateActionPH — Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) March 11, 2017

 Among the good practices in digital campaigns that were shared during the workshop were the award-winning #NowPH and #ClimateActionPH campaigns.

#NowPH aimed to promote a climate-smart lifestyle among the youth, gathering more than 3 million digital pledges that were submitted to the French government, host of the 21st conference of the parties (COP21) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. (READ: 3 million Filipino voices heard at #COP21 in Paris)

After COP21, #ClimateActionPH was launched to help Filipinos understand the urgent need to fulfill the terms of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Through a mix of social media posts, in-depth features, and interactive content, the campaign also encouraged netizens to do their part in reducing the country’s carbon emissions.

The viral story of Daniel Cabrera, the boy whose photo taken while studying outside a fast food restaurant in Cebu went viral in 2015, was also shared.

Dellosa was inspired by Cabrera’s story, and wondered about the world that the boy will be left with if people continue to turn a blind eye to climate change.

“He’s really young and he’s very passionate,” he said, adding that he “the world is changing really fast, and when he grows up, he might end up with a world that he didn’t expect.” –