Ilocano youth groups join global strike against climate change


May. 27, 2019 ...

In support to "Fridays for Future" (FFF) and 350.org's environmental advocacies, more than 50 young Ilocano eco-warriors participated in the global climate strike at the Aurora Park, Laoag City, last May 24.

FFF started when 15-year old Swedish school girl, Greten Thunberg, solely began protesting outside the Swedish parliament asking for immediate action on climate crisis. It went viral and she continued promoting her advocacy on her personal social media accounts. Thunberg delivered an eye-opener speech in the United Nations Climate Change Conference, last December.

The first global climate strike was conducted last March 15. An estimated 1.6 million students in 125 countries around the world joined the movement.

Meanwhile, Switch Philippines (Switch PH) and Movement against Plastic Pollution (MAPP) – Ilocos Norte spearheaded the global strike in Ilocos Norte. It is the only province in Region I that joined this month's movement, alongside 14 provinces in the country. This is also supported by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte, the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Ilocos Norte, schools, and other youth organizations.

According to Switch PH founder Ma. Christian Ramos, this activity is the debut of the organization and she shared some of their plans.  

"Since some schools will resume classes soon, our next plan is to do a school-to-school campaign para naman ma-inform at maging aware ang mga bata...Contributing factor talaga kasi ang misuse ng energy. At ngayon, nakikita naman natin ang epekto nito sa simpleng pagbago ng klima. Kaya nandito ang Switch PH to encourage people to act on this climate crisis," Ramos remarked.  

"Started as a social media campaign promoting easy steps to lessen energy consumption, the organization also eyes to heighten volunteerism and initiative among the participants and volunteers, especially the youth. We want to encourage other places, provinces, cities to do the same. In the long run, we will lessen carbon emission and eventually encourage a lot of people to act on this global climate crisis," she added.

As part of the Provincial Government efforts in environmental conservation, in 2016, the Provincial Resolution No. 017-2016 sponsored by the late environment committee chairman Mariano "Nonong" Marcos II declares the province as "clean, green and coal-free." Ilocos Norte is the first province to phase out coal use.

Other renewable energy projects in Ilocos Norte are the following: 283-megawatt (MW) wind-power farms in the towns of Bangui, Burgos and Pagudpud making the province the "wind energy capital of the Philippines"; approximately 26.7-MW solar projects in Currimao and Burgos; and a 5-MW Agua Grande hydroelectric plant in Pancian, Pagupdud.

The Provincial Government is actively partnering with renewable energy developers to utilize resources in the province that could bring clean and sustainable energy to the local communities, thus cushioning the effects of climate change.