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All I Want for Christmas is Climate Justice in the Philippines

Updated: Jan 9, 2022

In 2016, the Philippines contributed a global share of 0.35% to fossil CO2 emissions, yet was ranked in 2019 by the Institute for Economics and Peace as the most vulnerable country in the world to the impacts of climate change.

On December 16th, 2021, Super Typhoon Rai (locally known as “Odette”), a category 5 typhoon, hit the Philippines. Category 5 typhoons are characterized as the strongest hurricanes that can form on planet Earth. With an average of 20 storms ravaging the archipelago every year, no country experiences more category 5 landfalls than the Philippines. At records of 160 miles per hour intensified winds, Super Typhoon Rai is the second category 5 storm that has devastated the archipelago in the last year, with the third recorded in 2020.

The Philippine National Police has recorded over 400 deaths, with death tolls rising from starvation and dehydration every single day. More than 600,000 people are displaced, 200+ municipalities remain without power, 53,000 houses destroyed and over 83,000 partially damaged. Over four million people living below the poverty line have been affected by the typhoon and more than half a million people have become climate refugees. Humanitarian agencies warn that the true scale of the destruction remains unknown due to the inaccessibility of disaster-hit areas.

Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, friends and family, children with dreams and hopes of a better world, murdered under the demise of climate change and unfettered capitalism.

Cebu. Siargao. Bohol. Dinagat Islands. Surigao. Ilo-Ilo. Siquijor. Palawan. Negros. Mindoro. Bicol. Capiz. Bukidnon. Leyte. Agusan. Aklan.

Do you feel the effects of climate change in your home? In your spaces?

On December 16th, 2021, millions in the Southeastern Philippines were faced with widespread flooding, landslides, devastated infrastructure, displacement, homelessness, and starvation. Meanwhile, on the very same day, on the other side of the world, citizens of Toronto basked in the grace of 16-degree springtime weather in the dead of winter.

Our fates are intertwined, yet the parallels of climate catastrophe between the Philippines & Canada remain obscene.

Inequality is a common theme discussed in conversations surrounding climate change. The Global North contributes most to the rising GHG emissions and is responsible for 92% of excess global carbon emissions, with 40% emitted by the US, and 29% emitted from the European Union. Countries in the Global South contribute little to rising GHG, yet they remain disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change such as the increasing severity of natural disasters, rising sea levels, food and water scarcity, and more.

Oftentimes, people only recognize the Philippines as an exotic paradise, but what most people are oblivious to is the archipelago's acute wealth disparity and political corruption-- a manifested by-product of neocolonial governments and institutions. Last Friday, the Duterte administration publicly stated that government funds to assist provinces hit by the typhoon have been depleted. Yet in the same week, the Philippines was recognized as the World Bank’s top borrower, with $3.07 billion US dollars in loans. This statistic remains worrying as World Bank loans have been historically scrutinized for the provision of aid conditional to neoliberal reforms. Specifically, aid from the Global North and international financial institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have been utilized strategically to counter the Global South’s attempts at national industrialization and extinguish endeavours towards greater control of national resources. This is explicitly seen in the Philippine senate bill that passed last Wednesday which allows foreign control of public services such as telecommunications, airlines and domestic shipping firms. This is also seen in the 1995 Philippine Mining Act which to this day enables and incentivizes 100% foreign direct ownership of mining operations and lands in the Philippines.

The push towards green growth and renewable technologies have been at the forefront of discussions surrounding the fight against the climate crisis. But rarely do the conversations surrounding the transition towards green technologies center on how systemic racism has historically played a fundamental role in upholding not only the mining industry but global capitalism itself. Since the inception of mining, the oppression of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour has been used for capital accumulation.

When talking about the viability of technologies and renewables as a solution to climate change, we need to center these conversations on climate reparation and increasing reflexivity of how our consumption habits in the Global North will impact those in the Global South.

Mining plays a critical role in global society and the just transition towards renewable technologies, yet we cannot remain complicit in the exploitative ways natural resources are being extracted within vulnerable nations. What can we do?

We can take action. These are only a few out of many ways we can ensure human and environmental rights are upheld in the mining industry

1. We need to push the Canadian government to implement strong binding regulatory mechanisms for accountability such as mandatory human rights due diligence.

2. We need a public ownership registry that identifies corporate owners and exposes white-collar crime rampant in the mining industry such as money laundering and tax evasion.

3. Degrowth. We need to reduce our consumption habits and advocate for a society where socio-ecological well-being takes precedence over corporate profits and excess-accumulation.

4. We need to lobby governments in Canada to empower ombudspersons within the mining industry with judicial power which enable victims overseas to seek effective remedy in home states

5. Last but not least, education is power. We need to raise widespread awareness to mining injustices and the dynamics between the Global North and Global South which enable corporate abuse with impunity. Mobilize action, fundraise for affected local communities, and support critical NGOs within this field

My heart aches as my brothers and sisters in the Philippines face calamity after calamity during the Christmas season while we in the Global North continue to profit off the environmental exploitation and plunder of the archipelago. I am hoping to raise $1000 to provide an extension of support to victims of Super Typhoon Rai struggling with food security and displacement. Every dollar that is raised will go towards the provision of disaster relief and management to victims of climate catastrophe in the Southern Philippines. By donating to this fundraiser, you will be directly supporting local NGOs in the Philippines such as Bayan Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) in their ongoing efforts to empower victims with access to emergency food and anti-poverty resources. A donation of any amount will be a critical contribution towards strengthening the social infrastructure and security nets for communities affected by Typhoon Rai in Southeastern Philippines.

To donate please etransfer

“It is in collectivities that we find reservoirs of hope and optimism” - Angela Davis

​All I want for Christmas is climate reparations and environmental justice amongst overexploited countries in the Global South. It is through social consciousness, collective action, and solidarity, where we find avenues for transformative change, liberation and equity for all.

Climate Justice is Social Justice.

Thank you in advance for your kindness and generosity. <3

Maligayang Pasko at Maraming ng Maraming Salamat <3

Photo Credits to @camillerdp

Fundraiser Update: January 9th 2022

My heart is overflowing!!!!!!!

Not only has this fundraiser led me to reconnect with life-long childhood friends, taught me the power of militant love, restored my faith in humanity, and brought revolutionary hope for a brighter future,

But it has brought 197 people from across the world together to raise 10,00 CAD —405,968 PH pesos in 16 days! We have exceeded our original goal of 1000 CAD by 10x <3 Almost half a million pesos translates to approximately 1691 meals for victims of climate catastrophe in the Southern Philippines. With all donations sent to @lokallab and @migrantecanada, this fundraiser empowers thousands of climate refugees with food, clean water, medicine, and tools necessary to restore devastated livelihoods.

It has been 24 days since Super Typhoon Rai hit the Southern Philippines. As families continue to rebuild their lives on the other side of the world, may our drive for climate justice remain fueled by the power of the collective. A million thank you’s will never be enough but let me say it again—Thank you. Thank you for being a ceaseless beacon of light and hope for this world. Thank you for your selfless generosity and kindness. Thank you for being a constant source of inspiration to me, today and forever. Donations are officially closed on my end but the work towards climate justice never ends— continue donating through @migrantecanada @lokallab @anakbayanto ❤️‍🔥

“My hope for 2022 is that it brings great things for the climate movement. Love and rage my dear ones. We are the Earth protecting herself.” – Peter Kalmus

1st disbursement

@migrantecanada - $3105.00

@lokallab - $3315.50

2nd disbursement

@migrantecanada - $1352.00

@lokallab - $1448.85

3rd disbursement

@migrantecanada - $780.00

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