Legarda Leads Climate Advocates in Signing Call to Conscience for the Climate

October 9, 2015

Call to Conscience

Climate advocates, leaders and representatives of faith-based organizations, environmental groups, civil society, the academe, and government agencies today signed the “Call to Conscience” at the Summit of Conscience for the Climate convened by Senator Loren Legarda.


The Call to Conscience for the Climate will be presented to each Head of Delegation attending the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21)  to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris in December. It encourages leaders and representatives to come to the conference “primarily as a conscious human being not just a representative of a Government or agency.”


“We need to take time to reflect on why we need a strong climate deal in the first place and what can we do to make it successful and how can we personally contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation,” said Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change.


“The Philippines is a minor emitter of greenhouse gases but we are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Thus, we must lead by example and act now to mitigate and adapt to the changing climate. We must decrease our dependence on fossil fuels, especially coal, and shift to renewable energy; we must veer away from the throwaway culture and aim for zero waste economy; we must turn our back on extractive and consumptive practices and adopt the concept of sustainable development and low-carbon lifestyle,” she stressed.


Nicolas Hulot, Special Envoy of the French President for the Protection of the Planet, commended Legarda for organizing the Summit of Conscience for the Climate in Manila.


“The human family is confronted with the issue of its own destiny. Everything that is important for us, every aspect of solidarity will be shaped by our ability to resolve this climate crisis. I welcome the fact that the Summit of Conscience is being repeated on the other side of the planet,” said Hulot, who initiated the first Summit of Conscience for the Climate in Paris last July.


Legarda said The Summit of Conscience for the Climate in Manila will be the first of a series of similar summits to be held in different parts of the country—particularly in schools, universities, cities and municipalities.


The Department of Education (DepEd) has expressed its commitment to roll out the Summit to its regional offices.


Ifugaos cited as Champions of Resilience


Taking place within the Summit is the recognition of the Ifugao community as Champions of Resilience. This is in line with the celebration of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (observed every October 13), which has a theme “Knowledge for Life”.


The Ifugao community was commended by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) as Champions for DRR for keeping their traditions alive and preserving their disaster risk management practices.


Dr. Jerry Velasquez, UNISDR Chief of Advocacy, and Senator Legarda, UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, presented the citation to the Ifugao people through their representatives, Ifugao Province Governor Denis Habawel, Ifugao State University, and the Save the Rice Terraces Movement (SITMo).


The ceremony was followed by a performance of the Hudhud Chants, which symbolize special episodes in the life of the Ifugaos such as sowing and harvesting of  rice, funeral wakes, and bone-washing rituals.


“The Ifugao community is blessed to be the custodians of the Hudhud Chants, one of UNESCO’s Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and the Rice Terraces of the Cordilleras, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Ifugaos’ love for their heritage and dedication to preserve their traditions are important elements of maintaining the harmony between man and nature. Their formula for resilience is embedded in their culture and age-old traditions,” said Legarda.


60 Solutions against climate change


Senator Legarda, the French Embassy, and the French Development Agency also launched a photo exhibit, “60 SOLUTIONS against climate change” by GoodPlanet Foundation head Yann Arthus-Bertrand.


The exhibition aims to highlight solutions to global warming and opportunities to innovate as part of climate change adaptation through photos by Arthus-Bertrand from his famous “Earth from Above” series.


The exhibit will be displayed until October 23, 2015 at the 2nd Floor Hallway, Senate of the Philippines.


The Summit of Conscience for the Climate was organized by the Senate Committee on Climate Change, which Legarda chairs, in partnership with the Climate Change Commission (CCC), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the French Embassy in Manila.