ELEVENTH HOUR: A new space for climate conversations has emerged

We are living in unchartered territory. On top of the global pandemic and its ensuing economic fallout, the environmental and climate crises are both deepening across the world.

Now more than ever, it is becoming clearer that the impacts of climate change are no longer just felt in the Global South. This is evident in the scenes of devastation coming from the recent floods in Western Europe that are estimated to have killed more than 120 people.

But even in these challenging times, there is cause for cautious optimism. The US rejoined the Paris Agreement early this year. More and more countries both from the developed and developing world are pledging to achieve carbon neutrality. Renewable energy prices continue to fall. Investors are increasingly betting on a low-carbon future.

It is critical to seize this moment and keep the momentum going. We need to immediately turn these opportunities into policy wins, systemic changes, and real actions on the ground.

This is why the Manila Bulletin Environment Section and The Climate Reality Project Philippines are proud to launch today this new weekly column that will serve as a new space for honest and timely climate conversations.

We call this the Eleventh Hour to remind our readers that our actions to address climate change and environmental degradation must be bolder and faster moving forward. We are on the brink of a catastrophe and that we are now at our last chance to avoid it.

Through this column, we intend to share the work that our organization does to catalyze and accelerate global, national, and community-level climate actions.

Founded by former US Vice President Al Gore in 2006, The Climate Reality Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to using strategic communications and grassroots strategies to educate government, private sector leaders, and the public about the urgency and solvability of the climate crisis.

Former US Vice President Al Gore with Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders during the 2016 Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Manila.

Grounded on the belief that real change comes from the ground up, Climate Reality has been training and mobilizing people to become powerful climate advocates. To date, the Climate Reality Leadership Corps has trained over 31,000 Climate Reality Leaders from all over the world who are all equipped with the knowledge and tools to shape public opinion, inspire action, and lead the fight for climate solutions.

Aside from the Leadership Corps Training, the Climate Reality has established 11 branches that work independently in their regions yet collaboratively with each other to drive climate solutions in their communities.

The Philippine Branch, which was established in 2016, was re-launched in 2020 with a new approach to empower and support the diverse and thriving community of more than 1,200 Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders at the core of its action plan.

Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders come from diverse backgrounds and different sectors and industries. They are working across different levels of national government agencies and local government units, the private business sector, civil society organizations, and the academe.

Our goal is to create and find opportunities for our Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders to voice their opinions, contribute to national and local policymaking, and collaborate with groups and individuals that share our vision of a low-carbon and climate-resilient Philippines.

This column will serve as a platform for our Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders to share their stories, promote their climate initiatives, and provide critical insights to issues that matter to climate action, environmental protection, and sustainable development.

This will also serve as a digital space to discuss our organization’s work on supporting the country’s just transition into a clean, affordable, and self-sufficient energy system; advancing sustainable urban mobility to highlight the issues of equity and democracy; and raising public awareness about the need to phase out single-use plastics.

Recognizing that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to the climate crisis, we hope that this column incites meaningful discussions that could lead to collaborative partnerships on development approaches in pursuit of genuine and lasting climate resilience for the country and the world.


Author: Nazrin Castro is the manager of the Philippine Branch of The Climate Reality Project. She has worked for almost a decade in the government and development sector, where she gained expertise in climate change communications and policy development.

For more information, visit www.climatereality.ph.