Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Philippines to World Leaders: Our Survival Is Not Negotiable

Climate
Philippines to World Leaders: Our Survival Is Not Negotiable

We often imagine weekends as leisure time spent with family and friends.

The opposite was true for the people residing in Northern Luzon, Philippines as they spent their weekend tending to their loved ones’ safety as the Category 4 super typhoon Koppu (known locally as Lando) arrived, bringing widespread flooding and lashing winds.

The typhoon made landfall on Sunday in Casiguran, on the island of Luzon, with winds close to 200 km/h. Among the hardest-hit areas were the eastern coastal town of Baler, where significant building damage was reported and the inland city of Cabanatuan, about 100 kilometers north of Manila, where widespread flooding was reported and several rescues requested.

By Monday, Koppu left 12 people dead, several missing, 16,000 displaced and caused power outages in entire provinces. Two elderly farmers, Mario Abesamis, 54, and Pedro Tuarez, 65, died after being caught by flood waters as they tried to save their carabaos near Cabanatuan City, in Nueva Ecija.

Typhoon victims putting their lives on the line for the sake of their animals is a common challenge for disaster officials in the Philippines. Carabaos are more than pets for these farmers; as working animals play a vital role in cultivating the land people earn a living from, they consider them to be part of their families.

Read page 1

 

Appeal for Support

The government, aid agencies and humanitarian organizations are currently scrambling to respond to the destruction left in Koppu’s wake, appealing for volunteers and materials to support their response work.

Current needs include basic survival means, such as food, medicine, water supplies and sanitary kits for the displaced families who are currently staying in evacuation centers.

Click here to support the Citizens’ Disaster Response Center in providing assistance to the most affected, least served and most vulnerable sectors of the population.

The Imperative for Drastic Climate Action

The ever-increasing and intensifying storms that have wreaked havoc on the Philippines in the past decade are clear indications that the world has changed, and living with the spectre of extreme weather events has become a new normal for many people.

Communities are starting to make the connection between extreme weather and climate justice. For example, super typhoon Haiyan survivors came together in January of 2014 to establish the Alliance for Disaster Survivors in the Philippines (People Surge).

As we appeal for relief for those immediately affected by the typhoon, we reiterate our call for industrialized nations to put money on the table for adaptation, mitigation and forest protection in the negotiations of COP21, the upcoming climate conference in Paris. Answering this call could help countries that, like the Philippines, are most vulnerable and least prepared to deal with the impacts of catastrophic climate change.

With just a one-degree increase of human-caused global warming, we are already seeing storms that are more intense than ever before, which should serve as a serious warning about the dangers of global warming. We need to steer clear of the three-degree Celsius increase that we’d see if we allow the business of fossil fuel emissions to go on as usual. Business as usual will cost our people too much.

Two years after typhoon Haiyan hit Tacloban, survivors are still struggling for their dignity, rights and justice by campaigning for a rehabilitation program with people rather than big business at its core. They are also working to link their struggle with the global work of holding historic emitters accountable for their inequitable greenhouse gas contributions.

That is why People Surge is calling for global demonstrations and solidarity actions from October to December, to remind the Philippines government and world leaders meeting in Paris that our survival is not negotiable.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Dalai Lama: Climate Change Is Destroying Tibet’s ‘Roof of the World’

Drought Causes 450-Year-Old Church to Re-Emerge

Oslo Becomes First Capital City in the World to Divest From Fossil Fuels

24 Videos That Turn the Tide on Climate Change

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A resident works in the vegetable garden of the Favela Nova Esperanca – a "green favela" which reuses everything and is subject to the ethics of permaculture – in the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Feb. 14, 2020. NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP via Getty Images

Farmers are the stewards of our planet's precious soil, one of the least understood and untapped defenses against climate change. Because of its massive potential to store carbon and foundational role in growing our food supply, soil makes farming a solution for both climate change and food security.

Read More Show Less
Once the virus escapes into the air inside a building, you have two options: bring in fresh air from outside or remove the virus from the air inside the building. Halfpoint Images / Getty Images

By Shelly Miller

The vast majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs indoors, most of it from the inhalation of airborne particles that contain the coronavirus. The best way to prevent the virus from spreading in a home or business would be to simply keep infected people away. But this is hard to do when an estimated 40% of cases are asymptomatic and asymptomatic people can still spread the coronavirus to others.

Read More Show Less
California Senator Kamala Harris endorses Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden at a campaign rally at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Michigan on March 9, 2020. JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made a historic announcement Tuesday when he named California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate in the 2020 presidential election.

Read More Show Less
An aerial view taken on August 8, 2020 shows a large patch of leaked oil from the MV Wakashio off the coast of Mauritius. STRINGER / AFP / Getty Images

The tiny island nation of Mauritius, known for its turquoise waters, vibrant corals and diverse ecosystem, is in the midst of an environmental catastrophe after a Japanese cargo ship struck a reef off the country's coast two weeks ago. That ship, which is still intact, has since leaked more than 1,000 metric tons of oil into the Indian Ocean. Now, a greater threat looms, as a growing crack in the ship's hull might cause the ship to split in two and release the rest of the ship's oil into the water, NPR reported.

On Friday, Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of environmental emergency.

France has sent a military aircraft carrying pollution control equipment from the nearby island of Reunion to help mitigate the disaster. Additionally, Japan has sent a six-member team to assist as well, the BBC reported.

The teams are working to pump out the remaining oil from the ship, which was believed to be carrying 4,000 metric tons of fuel.

"We are expecting the worst," Mauritian Wildlife Foundation manager Jean Hugues Gardenne said on Monday, The Weather Channel reported. "The ship is showing really big, big cracks. We believe it will break into two at any time, at the maximum within two days. So much oil remains in the ship, so the disaster could become much worse. It's important to remove as much oil as possible. Helicopters are taking out the fuel little by little, ton by ton."

Sunil Dowarkasing, a former strategist for Greenpeace International and former member of parliament in Mauritius, told CNN that the ship contains three oil tanks. The one that ruptured has stopped leaking oil, giving disaster crews time to use a tanker and salvage teams to remove oil from the other two tanks before the ship splits.

By the end of Tuesday, the crew had removed over 1,000 metric tons of oil from the ship, NPR reported, leaving about 1,800 metric tons of oil and diesel, according to the company that owns the ship. So far the frantic efforts are paying off. Earlier today, a local police chief told BBC that there were still 700 metric tons aboard the ship.

The oil spill has already killed marine animals and turned the turquoise water black. It's also threatening the long-term viability of the country's coral reefs, lagoons and shoreline, NBC News reported.

"We are starting to see dead fish. We are starting to see animals like crabs covered in oil, we are starting to see seabirds covered in oil, including some which could not be rescued," said Vikash Tatayah, conservation director at Mauritius Wildlife Foundation, according to The Weather Channel.

While the Mauritian authorities have asked residents to leave the clean-up to officials, locals have organized to help.

"People have realized that they need to take things into their hands. We are here to protect our fauna and flora," environmental activist Ashok Subron said in an AFP story.

Reuters reported that sugar cane leaves, plastic bottles and human hair donated by locals are being sewn into makeshift booms.

Human hair absorbs oil, but not water, so scientists have long suggested it as a material to contain oil spills, Gizmodo reported. Mauritians are currently collecting as much human hair as possible to contribute to the booms, which consist of tubes and nets that float on the water to trap the oil.

A northern mockingbird on June 24, 2016. Renee Grayson / CC BY 2.0

Environmentalists and ornithologists found a friend in a federal court on Tuesday when a judge struck down a Trump administration attempt to allow polluters to kill birds without repercussions through rewriting the Migratory Treaty Bird Act (MBTA).

Read More Show Less
A spiny dogfish shark swims in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Washington. NOAA / Wikimedia Commons

By Elizabeth Claire Alberts

There are trillions of microplastics in the ocean — they bob on the surface, float through the water column, and accumulate in clusters on the seafloor. With plastic being so ubiquitous, it's inevitable that marine organisms, such as sharks, will ingest them.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A "vessel of opportunity" skims oil spilled after the Deepwater Horizon well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. NOAA / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Loveday Wright and Stuart Braun

After a Japanese-owned oil tanker struck a reef off Mauritius on July 25, a prolonged period of inaction is threatening to become an ecological disaster.

Read More Show Less