Manila’s New Mayor Wants Solar Panels, Rainwater Collectors for City’s Schools
Manila's new mayor wants to turn the city's public schools into a living lesson in sustainability.
Mayor Francisco "Isko" Moreno Domagoso unveiled a plan Tuesday to install solar panels and rainwater collectors on the roofs of primary and secondary schools in the Philippines' capital city, the Manila Bulletin reported. He said the initiative would raise environmental awareness in students.
"If they are seeing these types of facilities, and it can be done since it's not even rocket science, they will know how to care for the environment," Domagoso told reporters, according to the Manila Bulletin. "When they would be given the opportunity in the future, they will do the same kapag malalaki na sila."
Domagoso shared his ideas at a meeting with the Manila City School Board and asked the board to come up with proposals for fulfilling his vision, Inquirer.net reported.
He touted the rain collecting scheme as a way to bolster water security, citing low water levels in the country's dams.
"Nowadays, we're having challenges with our water in our dams. While it is true na mayroon naman tayong pag-ulan, we are still in below comfortable water level in our dams," Domagoso told reporters, according to Inquirer.net. "Having said that, I am now encouraging the board to come up with environmental projects, programs to harness renewable energies."
Environmental groups expressed enthusiasm for his proposal.
"YES to solar powered schools!" Greenpeace Philippines tweeted.
YES to solar powered schools! ☀️ Support clean energy >> https://t.co/7qZb8h9j8H @IskoMoreno https://t.co/LsNfAmoXsR— Greenpeace Philippines (@Greenpeace Philippines)1562724337.0
Domagoso began his term as mayor in early July after defeating the incumbent mayor Joseph Estrada, the Philippine Star reported.
Early in his term, he promised to support the cleanup efforts of environmental groups and government agencies.
"My presence here is to show you that whatever you're going to do in the next weeks or months in the City of Manila, either as a government agency or non-government organization, I assure you, you have a friend in the city," he said in a speech Saturday, as Inquirer.net reported.
He has pledged to expand Manila's Arroceros Park, known as the city's "last lung."
"Cleaning up" Manila was one of Domagoso's main campaign promises, and he took early action July 2 by booting flea market vendors from the streets in Divisoria, the city's traditional commercial center, Gulf News reported.
"The syndicate that hold the vendors in Divisoria had offered me P5 million (approximately $100,000) just so they can continue with their activities of using the thoroughfare for their business. I turned it down," he said, as Gulf News reported. "If Divisoria gets messed up again, then that only means that I had been bribed."
He has also mandated a cleanup of the city's waterways.
While the new mayor has earned praise for his efforts, some have raised concerns about whether he can sustain the momentum, and whether he can clear the city of vendor traffic without harming the ability of poorer residents to earn a living, the Philippine Star reported.
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A Game of Jenga<p>Think of it as a game of Jenga and the planet's climate system as the tower. For generations, we have been slowly removing blocks. But at some point, we will remove a pivotal block, such as the collapse of one of the major global ocean circulation systems, for example the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), that will cause all or part of the global climate system to fall into a planetary emergency.</p><p>But worse still, it could cause runaway damage: Where the tipping points form a domino-like cascade, where breaching one triggers breaches of others, creating an unstoppable shift to a radically and swiftly changing climate.</p><p>One of the most concerning tipping points is mass methane release. Methane can be found in deep freeze storage within permafrost and at the bottom of the deepest oceans in the form of methane hydrates. But rising sea and air temperatures are beginning to thaw these stores of methane.</p><p>This would release a powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, 30-times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming agent. This would drastically increase temperatures and rush us towards the breach of other tipping points.</p><p>This could include the acceleration of ice thaw on all three of the globe's large, land-based ice sheets – Greenland, West Antarctica and the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica. The potential collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is seen as a key tipping point, as its loss could eventually <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/324/5929/901" target="_blank">raise global sea levels by 3.3 meters</a> with important regional variations.</p><p>More than that, we would be on the irreversible path to full land-ice melt, causing sea levels to rise by up to 30 meters, roughly at the rate of two meters per century, or maybe faster. Just look at the raised beaches around the world, at the last high stand of global sea level, at the end of the Pleistocene period around 120,0000 years ago, to see the evidence of such a warm world, which was just 2°C warmer than the present day.</p>
Cutting Off Circulation<p>As well as devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world, melting polar ice could set off another tipping point: a disablement to the AMOC.</p><p>This circulation system drives a northward flow of warm, salty water on the upper layers of the ocean from the tropics to the northeast Atlantic region, and a southward flow of cold water deep in the ocean.</p><p>The ocean conveyor belt has a major effect on the climate, seasonal cycles and temperature in western and northern Europe. It means the region is warmer than other areas of similar latitude.</p><p>But melting ice from the Greenland ice sheet could threaten the AMOC system. It would dilute the salty sea water in the north Atlantic, making the water lighter and less able or unable to sink. This would slow the engine that drives this ocean circulation.</p><p><a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/atlantic-conveyor-belt-has-slowed-15-per-cent-since-mid-twentieth-century" target="_blank">Recent research</a> suggests the AMOC has already weakened by around 15% since the middle of the 20th century. If this continues, it could have a major impact on the climate of the northern hemisphere, but particularly Europe. It may even lead to the <a href="https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10871/39731?show=full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cessation of arable farming</a> in the UK, for instance.</p><p>It may also reduce rainfall over the Amazon basin, impact the monsoon systems in Asia and, by bringing warm waters into the Southern Ocean, further destabilize ice in Antarctica and accelerate global sea level rise.</p>
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation has a major effect on the climate. Praetorius (2018)
Is it Time to Declare a Climate Emergency?<p>At what stage, and at what rise in global temperatures, will these tipping points be reached? No one is entirely sure. It may take centuries, millennia or it could be imminent.</p><p>But as COVID-19 taught us, we need to prepare for the expected. We were aware of the risk of a pandemic. We also knew that we were not sufficiently prepared. But we didn't act in a meaningful manner. Thankfully, we have been able to fast-track the production of vaccines to combat COVID-19. But there is no vaccine for climate change once we have passed these tipping points.</p><p><a href="https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-risks-report-2021" target="_blank">We need to act now on our climate</a>. Act like these tipping points are imminent. And stop thinking of climate change as a slow-moving, long-term threat that enables us to kick the problem down the road and let future generations deal with it. We must take immediate action to reduce global warming and fulfill our commitments to the <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Paris Agreement</a>, and build resilience with these tipping points in mind.</p><p>We need to plan now to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, but we also need to plan for the impacts, such as the ability to feed everyone on the planet, develop plans to manage flood risk, as well as manage the social and geopolitical impacts of human migrations that will be a consequence of fight or flight decisions.</p><p>Breaching these tipping points would be cataclysmic and potentially far more devastating than COVID-19. Some may not enjoy hearing these messages, or consider them to be in the realm of science fiction. But if it injects a sense of urgency to make us respond to climate change like we have done to the pandemic, then we must talk more about what has happened before and will happen again.</p><p>Otherwise we will continue playing Jenga with our planet. And ultimately, there will only be one loser – us.</p>
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