Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ten simple ways to do climate action

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Climate action is one of the biggest buzzes today - and it’s for a good reason. The planet’s future is jeopardized by climate change. The solutions to this challenge may seem all so massive, and will take a lot of powerful entities to make radical changes. 

 All hope is not lost. There are numerous high level meetings and initiatives being done. Aside from the Asian youth’s involvement in COP negotiations and other important discussions, there are also many changes we can incorporate in our lives which can contribute positive effects to this challenge. I’ve listed ten things we could do that are not too major, but will collectively make a great impact. 

1. Get your muscles moving. 
It’s not new to know that air pollution is one of the factors to the planet’s increasing temperatures. If your destination for the day is not too far, just opt to walk or ride your bicycle instead. Not only will you be sparing your community from additional air pollution, but it will also be great for your overall health that you get your muscles moving! 

2. Use public transportation. 
Instead of using your car to get to where you want, just use public transportation if possible. The public transport system carries more people at one go compared to using your own car get to the same destination. We contribute less to air pollution if we opt for public transport. This will also decrease your monthly gas consumption bills. 

3. Practice energy-efficiency. 
Change your light bulbs and fluorescent lamps into more energy-efficient ones. Always remember to unplug your gadgets and appliances when you’re not using them. I emphasize unplug, not just turn off. As much as possible, utilize natural lighting. When you’re reading a book in the afternoon, open your windows to get the sunlight in as opposed to turning on your electric lights. The latter might be more convenient, but it is not as energy efficient. We also need to choose electronics that are save on energy to lessen our monthly electric bills. 

4. Support local products. 
Local products take less carbon footprint to get to your shelves compared to international ones. If your favorite brand has a local alternative that is just as good, then choose that one. This not only powers up your local economy, but is also good for the planet in the long run. This goes for food, and many other purchasable goods. 

5. Plant a tree, or start your own garden. 
If someone invites you to a tree-planting activity, don’t have second thoughts and just go. There’s this Chinese proverb that goes, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Planting a tree has many benefits not only for our generation, but also for the future ones. A forest can absorb tons and tons of carbon dioxide. Not only will they be helpful to the planet, but they will also serve as homes to various flora and fauna, and can provide humans various resources. Starting your own garden is also a great way to pass time, improve your mental well-being and save the planet while you’re in the comfort of your own home. If you live in the city, you can research various ways of doing urban agriculture. 

6. Have a no-meat day. 
Did you know that the meat and dairy industries are big contributors to emissions of ammonia, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, methane and many more? Also, add up all the resources needed to grow animals. Major right? According to recent studies by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), our meat-eating habits take a lot more toll to our planet than we think. I’m sure not everyone is willing to go 100% vegetarian, not even myself. But by having a no-meat day we get to reduce our overall carbon footprint. Eating less meat, even just for day, not only helps your body but also helps the planet. I’m not saying we get rid of both industries, but what I’m saying is that we should be more conscious of our food choices and what they get through before they reach our tables. 

7. As cliche as it sounds: Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. 
We’ve been hearing these three words together in the exact same order since we were young, but are we really practicing what they tell us to do? Reducing our wastes, reusing some of our resources and recycling (or up-cycling) are tried and tested ways of being environmentally-friendly and climate conscious.

8. Plan an environment-friendly date with your friends.
Doing climate action is inspired by our love for the planet, and its resources. What could be more exciting than doing an environmentally-friendly bonding session with your friends? Instead of going to malls, or wasting your time in front of your laptop, why don’t you plan a mountain-hike, join a run for a cause or have a picnic in the nearby park? These activities make us appreciate the gifts of our planet more, and would make great memories in the years to come. 

9. Be informed. 
There’s no better way to tackle the climate change problem than be informed of the situation. When one is informed, S/he will then do the necessary changes to turn the situation around. Being informed also means you can dispel the wrong information, and have the power to correct them. You can have more confidence in sharing your passion for climate action with your friends and fellows when you know what you are talking about. 

10. And be involved too! 
Take some time off to volunteer to a climate action initiative you personally believe in. Not only will you be part of the solution, but this will also introduce you to many youth who are just as passionate as you are in climate action and the environment. Writing to your local politician, or initiative your own projects are also other effective means of getting involved.

This entry originally appeared in the Asian Youth Climate Network blog site as one of my contributions. Like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter to get more updates.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

My new home

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I've finally found a new home. Starting this year and the next ones, I'll be pursuing my professional degree in De La Salle University (DLSU) in Manila.  It's a great choice as I wanted to be somewhere new, and have a fresh start. UP is great, but I never pictured myself doing a graduate degree over there. It was either I do it abroad through a scholarship, or in another university in the country. Being in another school will also open new friendships and challenges, and hopefully I'll come out victorious in the end.