MANILA, Philippines – How far would you go to fight climate change?
After 40 days of walking a distance of 1,000 kilometers, climate advocates and environmentalists finished their “Climate Walk” from Manila to Tacloban, arriving in “ground zero” on Saturday, November 8, to commemorate the first year anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda’s (Haiyan) landfall.
The group, led by Philippine Climate Change Commissioner Naderev “Yeb” Saño, are also exerting pressure on national leaders to act on the following:
- To make concrete commitments to help disaster-susceptible countries like the Philippines adapt to climate risks
- To hold the world’s largest carbon emitters accountable
- To empower local communities to do their part in managing disaster risks in their areas
“This battle can only be won in the grassroots. We cannot wait for sovereign nations to take action. We must, at the grassroots, embrace solutions,” Saño told the group Dakila in one of the climate walk events in Samar.
The walk was also a way of showing solidarity with the millions affected by Yolanda.
On November 8, 2013, Yolanda battered parts of the Philippines, leaving at least 6,300 people dead, billions of pesos in damage, and millions of people displaced. Tacloban City was among the hardest-hit areas due to strong winds coupled with storm surges brought by the super typhoon.
Rehabilitation had often been criticized as slow and various groups claim that thousands of survivors are still without permanent homes and sources of livelihood.
Saño, who is also the Philippines’ chief climate negotiator, made world headlines in 2013 when he fasted at the annual UN Climate negotiations in Poland to protest the lack of meaningful progress in addressing global warming.
He started the long journey on October 2, 2014 with the support of Greenpeace, the Climate Change Commission, the National Youth Commission, Dakila, and other groups. The walkers passed through Metro Manila, Laguna, Batangas, Bicol, and Samar before arriving in Leyte. (READ: LIVE BLOG: #ClimateWalk to Tacloban)
“It’s been a wonderful journey. Physically, the walk is starting to take a toll on my legs…but everyone is in high spirits and so am I,” Saño said while in Samar.
Saño’s group was met by Tacloban officials on the Leyte side of the San Juanico Bridge at around 6:30 am. They were then led to Baluyan Ampitheater, a site near the Tacloban burial grave, to offer their respects to the victims of Yolanda.
A concert will also be held 8 pm Saturday featuring activist artists at the Tacloban City Hall. – With reports from David Lozada/ Rappler.com