Recognizing that children are the greatest champions in gaining more knowledge and discovering innovative solutions to address climate change, the Department of Education (DepEd) encouraged stewardship for biodiversity and stable climate among the Filipino youth.
“We, in the Department of Education, are tasked with the responsibility to equip more learners with appropriate learning and thinking skills that will enable them to become individuals who deeply care about the environment and are ready to partake in its restoration,” Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said in a statement issued Thursday, Dec. 9.
In November, DepEd held the 5th National Climate Change Conference (NCCC). During the event, Disaster Risk Reduction Management Service (DRRMS) Director Ronilda Co emphasized that “climate change is not just an environmental crisis, but also a social crisis.”
She added that “this stark reality demands urgent actions taken now to avert and minimize the adverse impacts of the climate crisis” because “the human costs are too high not to act.”
With the theme “Reinforcing the youth’s role on stewardship of biodiversity for climate stability,” the NCCC aims to provide a platform to elevate discussions of the impacts of climate change.
The NCCC also became a venue to tackle human actions on biodiversity, strategize participatory and concrete actions that can be done to contribute to meaningful change, and help the learners, personnel, and their families gain a deeper appreciation and awareness of the country’s vast biodiversity.
The event also showcased different activities such as the Ridge-to-Reef Virtual Field Trip conducted by the Philippine Reef and Conservation Foundation, Inc.; YOUth Can! Online Talk Show, a children’s interview with experts; and Interfaith Stewardship Dialogue.
There were also three completion ceremonies on “The Green Beat Initiative: An Online Environmental Journalism Training for School Paper Advisers and Campus Journalists”, KaLIKHAsan, and “Change the Current!, and learning sessions “Teachers as Stewards for Climate Action Forum”, and “SIGA: Revitalizing the Native Trees Forum”; Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Research Hour; and Stories for a Better Normal Episode 72 as the culminating event.
In partnership with the Climate Change Commission (CCC), Gab Mejia, a Philippine conservation photographer, environmental storyteller, and engineer, also discussed the role of people, especially the youth, in biodiversity for climate stability during the event.
Youth panelists also discussed their initiatives on ecosystem restoration.
“In hoping [for] the betterment of the future, amidst the climate crisis, for the betterment of biodiversity, we can only hope if we act,” Meija said.
“There’s no hope without impact, and it starts with us, [the youth], making sure to take that step and being able to share these stories,” Mejia added.