On October 10, 2010, the country’s young scientists joined hands with farmers in solidarity with the Global Work Party on climate change by planting 350 Trees of Hope in Calaca, Batangas. The planting of 350 fruit-bearing trees is an effort to solve the climate crisis and at the same time, help improve the livelihood of the farmers of Calaca.
“The planting of the 350 Trees of Hope aims to contribute in mitigating climate change by adding more carbon sinks,” said Mr. John Laurence Esguerra, Chairperson of AGHAM-Youth, an organization of young scientists and science advocates working for the transformation of science and technology as a tool serving the interests of the people.
“Farmers are among the basic sectors of society most vulnerable to climate change. They are among the first to suffer the effects of drought and flooding. Aside from helping save the climate, the tree planting also aims to provide an additional source of income for the farmers in the future, ” Esguerra adds.
The tree-planting event is also a symbolic action against the building of another coal-fired power plant in Calaca, Batangas. According to Gigi Baustista of Samahan ng mga Magsasaka sa Coral ni Lopez (Organization of Farmers in Coral ni Lopez), “the additional coal power plant that the DMCI Power Corporation wants to build adds burden not only to the environment and the climate but also to the people who suffer the effects. Residents and farmers complain of foul odors, increased respiratory diseases and damaged crops since the coal power plant was built.”
Coal power plants are major sources of carbon dioxide (CO2): a green house gas that when highly concentrated in the atmosphere, accelerates global warming, leading to climate change. Right now, the CO2 in the atmosphere is 390ppm. To get back to the safe upper limit of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere which is 350ppm, one of the steps is to cut the use of coal in power generation. The Aquino administration pronounced that it will focus on climate change mitigation instead of adaptation.
“This is both disappointing and worrisome because there are no signs that the Aquino government will stop the new coal projects that the past Arroyo administration approved,” says Ms. Marjorie Pamintuan, Agham Youth member and a 350.org field organizer.
“Aside from the fact that the Philippines needs more climate change adaptation programs, the mitigation strategies that are being proposed use of bogus clean coal technology and carbon trading instead of real climate solutions such as developing the country’s vast renewable energy resources such as geothermal, wind and hydropower,” she adds.
Samahan ng mga Magsasaka sa Coral ni Lopez and Agham Youth oppose the building of another coal plant in Calaca and call for a moratorium on all new coal projects in the Philippines. The 350 Trees of Hope event is one among the thousands of actions happening around the globe on 10.10.10. On this historic day, people all over the world will get to work for a safe climate future. ###