Young environmental advocates during the Global Climate Strike’s candle-lighting activity for slain environmental defender Toto Veguilla.

Young environmental advocates in Puerto Princesa gathered Friday afternoon at the Freedom Park of the City Coliseum in support of the Global Climate Strike to campaign for urgent action against the climate crisis.

Together with over 5,225 simultaneous events across some 150 countries, the strike is aimed to raise awareness and convince governments to decisively act on the climate crisis.

Spearheaded by Young Environmental Advocates Hub (YEAH!), “Conservation Conversation” centers on humanity’s stake in the climate emergency and the necessity to cut carbon emissions to limit global warming and avoid irreversible catastrophe in our ecosystems.

Remaining true to the intentions of the strike, placards held by participants were aimed at raising awareness and convincing governments to be decisive in its commitment to protect the environment for the next generation.

Lorie Cagatulla of the Palawan NGO Network Inc. (PNNI), discussed the current state of our province’s natural resources and the environmental threats Palawan is facing including the upcoming division of the province.

She mentioned cutting of old-growth forests to pave way for road development without the necessary government permits, massive deforestation for oil palm plantations, displacement of indigenous communities from land grabbing, continuous mining operations even with suspended permits and many more.

Cagatulla said that if we let this happen, “Palawan as the last frontier will soon be the lost frontier.”

Meanwhile, Cynthia Sumagaysay del Rosario of Save Palawan Movement shared updates on the most recent attempt to set up a coal-fired powerplant in Narra, Palawan.

The event was followed by solidarity messages from civil society leaders, environmental advocates, home-based and international researchers.

Arvee Salazar, an active volunteer of Save Palawan Movement expressed her thoughts on the province’s division, “There is only one Palawan, we don’t need to divide it into three. What we need is a more competent leader, a more competent government.”

Rodne Galicha of Living Laudato Si also graced the event and in his solidarity message likened coal to a toxic ex-partner, “Wag ka nang bumalik kay ex. Laos na ‘yan, masasaktan ka lang.”

Researchers from different countries also joined the climate strike in the island province saying Palawan has a rich biodiverse landscape and that we should all take our parts in protecting it.

The program ended with a candle-lighting activity to call for justice for the recently slain environmental defender in El Nido, Toto Veguilla.

What is Global Climate Strike?

Three days before a UN emergency climate summit to be held in New York, the network “Fridays for Future” mobilized for the largest global climate strike ever. The intention of this event is to “sound the alarm and show our politicians that ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option.”

Going on climate strike means people everywhere walking out of their homes, their offices, their farms, their factories. Everyone is needed to disrupt business as usual.

In a letter addressed September 17, 2019, the Department of Education called on teachers and school heads to excuse students joining the global climate strike provided that parental or legal guardian consent is given.

We can all take part, whatever our circumstances, by refusing to accept the status quo.

Some will spend the day in protest against new pipelines and mines, or the banks that fund them; some will highlight the oil companies fueling this crisis and the politicians that enable them.

Others will spend the day in action raising awareness in their communities and pushing for solutions to the climate crisis that has justice and equity at their heart.

What this moment can do is demonstrate that people are no longer willing to continue with business as usual. The urgency of the climate crisis requires a new approach and a just response centered on human rights, equity, and justice.

Greta Thunberg’s lone protest caught the world’s attention last year and has spread to millions of school children who are sounding the alarm. Now it’s everyone’s turn to stand with young people and show world leaders the people power demanding climate justice.

On September 27, as part of #FridaysForFuture, Young Environmental Advocates Hub (YEAH!) is inviting all Palawenyos for an afternoon of art, music, and poetry at the Freedom Park of the city coliseum.

Drop by 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for an Earth jam and discuss climate realities and share less-waste and eco-friendly tips.