The climate challenge in the Week of Peace agenda PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 29 November 2015 14:45

The southerner

Rey-Luis Banagudos

One of the ongoing Week of Peace 2015 activities is the initiative by Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance, Inc. (ZABIDA) to form an alliance of local civil society groups to tackle the worsening problem of global warming. The timing is appropriate since global warming is now linked to local up to global war and terror as extreme climate events displace peoples from their farms and communities, lose their livelihoods and ignite conflicts over use of limited natural resources.One of the triggers that created the ISIS terror movement that now threatens Mindanao was a long drought in Syria; periodic power shortages in Mindanao and water rationing in Zamboanga City are frequently caused by acute rainfall shortage. The next monster typhoon to blast Mindanao is likely just around the Marianas corner.

Pope Francis recently declared global warming as the greatest challenge to the present human generation. He warned that a failure of the climate summit to be held in France next week will be “catastrophic”, since the time for warming mitigation or reversal is passing the point of no return – if not already. Oui! “Apres moi, deluge.”In fact, when he called this month’s ISIS terrorism in Paris as a “piecemeal” of World War III, he was unwittingly referring to angered Nature’s pole-to-pole retaliation. The real World War III is global warming – and the enemy is us, until unreformed or fatalistic.

Last June, the Pope issued the prophetic “Laudato Si” encyclical to lay down the argument and revolutionary plan of action for climate activism. Although much applauded and subscribed, such call of action takes time to bear practical results in big-scale dimensions. Yet already it has encouraged as it should increasing number of local communities especially in Western countries to take action.  Laudati Si and just plain common sense observation is the motivation of ZABIDA’s initiative.

Climate summits of the last 50 years have been a total failure, it can be said with truthful cynicism in regard to the coming one in Paris.With or without climatesummits or even a papal encyclical, the work of climate mitigation and adaptation, of disaster risk management, of downright environmental protection and recovery is first and foremost and most indispensably a communal task and mission. Who else but local residents can best undertake the necessary actions: replant and expand the mangroves as carbon sinks; reforest mountains to induce rains and prevent floodings;stop quarrying of rivers and mountainsides to prevent destructive siltation of lowland farms; substitute dioxide-emitting fossil fuel use with renewable clean energies; increase food security to counter diseases and promote good health and human productivity; recycle household garbage as source of incomes and prevent health hazards like dengue. And so forth, all simply requiring civic activism and local political will. Is that too much to ask? In this, too, is the meaning of the Week of Peace 2015 theme: People’s Solidarity for Integrity, Justice and Peace.