This climate activist uses art to raise funds for typhoon victims

Published November 24, 2020, 1:48 PM

by Kerry Tinga

Tara Santos also wants you to know that we need climate justice now

₱1,000 can go a long way. And I am not just talking about treat-yourself splurges. For families struggling with the devastating effects of recent typhoons, ₱1,000 can pay for a whole relief good pack, a hygiene kit, and other essentials. The sort of goods that many take for granted.

Gripped by the images and moved by the stories of suffering, Tara Santos, a 22-year-old student and climate activist, had no hesitations when starting her unique fundraiser. A skilled artist in her free time, with an eye for colors, she has begun selling one-of-a-kind drawings to raise funds for relief efforts. The pieces, sold through Instagram under the name Compulsive Coloring, are ink and alcohol marker work on mixed media paper.

A multi-colored work from Compulsive Coloring / Photo from Instagram/CompulsiveColoring

For ₱1,000 you get a beautiful, abstract, multi-colored work, and know that everything you paid for it will be going to a good cause. You read that right. 100 percent of the gross proceeds will go to the relief drive of Youth Advocates for Climate Action PH (YACAP).

Members of YACAP distributing relief goods to communities affected by recent typhoons / Photo from Instagram/YACAPhilippines

It is easy to get tunnel vision and see those in need as victims of a typhoon, one of the dozens that hit the Philippines every year.

But as a climate activist, Tara uses her social media platforms to discuss the scientific links between climate change and extreme weather. Recent climate change reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a collaboration between over 100 scientists from 36 countries, stress that with global sea levels rising and oceans warming, extreme weather occurrences could become more common. Climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that recent global warming is predominantly the result of unsustainable human activity.

Tara Santos at a climate strike in New York City last year / Photo from Instagram/SantosTara

That could mean more victims of not-so-natural disasters caused by a preventable climate crisis. Especially since the Philippines is reported to be one of the top two countries most affected by the climate crisis, according to the Germanwatch Climate Risk Index 2020. Within the Philippines, as the effects of recent typhoons have shown, it is the most vulnerable who are affected.

A fervent supporter of YACAP, Tara is also the national coordinator of the environmental conservation organization Extinction Rebellion PH. Due to her climate activism, she has been featured on Vice and spoke at the Philippines’ Earth Day Network’s Voices of the Planet.

“The Philippines is no stranger to typhoons, with the country experiencing 20 typhoons over the past year,” reads one of Extinction Rebellion PH’s recent Instagram posts. “However, climate change is expected to lead to more intense typhoons and storm surges, which will affect vulnerable areas like the Philippines first. The effects of the climate crisis are already here. Lives are being lost. Act now and declare a climate emergency.”