Week 4 Leg (first part of a three-part series blog)

My week-long stint at the Climate Walk started in Naga City, which is almost halfway through 40 days of walking towards typhoon Yolanda's ground zero. I was welcomed with warm smiles and hugs from the walkers who immediately took away the uneasiness I felt thinking if I could cope with a 7-hour walk they do each day.

Routine and objectives

Every day at 4AM, Melissa Etheridge’s "I Need to Wake Up" is played to wake the walkers up. It's also the theme song of the 2007 movie 'An Inconvenient Truth'. Now, who wouldn't wake up to that moving and inspiring song, eh? ;)

After a quick breakfast, the walkers then gear up for the day's walk. Their checklist: vitamins, warm ups, climate justice banners, the Philippine flag, sun protection, and prayers. Average distance they take daily range from 23-30 kilometers.

Nabua, Camarines SurAs they walk from one town to another, stopovers are a constant because those stops allow them to engage with communities. Moreover, among the objectives of the walk is to get commitments, from citizens and the government officials in the areas that the walk passes on to work towards enacting local policies addressing disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. At the same time we hand over climate and disaster resilience toolkits for municipalities to use as their guide in tailoring policies as each town sees fit.

What can be said of the weather during the week I spent in the Climate Walk was the 'new normal' which I think can be better explained by this song from Noel Cabangon, 'Umuulan sa Tag-araw, Umaaraw sa Tag-ulan'. The walk keeps on progressing despite the scorching heat, heavy rains and sometimes both at the same time. What also amazed me is that I never heard any one walker complain about how physically taxing the journey is in spite of having blisters, sometimes leg cramps and strains. Nothing can blur their vision of a better future for everyone living on this planet.

The Climate Walk surges forward as a beacon of inspiration for climate action as it passes through towns between kilometer zero and ground zero. Above all, it is a demonstration of the contradiction of response that we get between the climate culprits and the impacted communities, whereas communities who have been affected by extreme weather events showed generousity and hospitality by offering us everything we need, from delicious home-cooked meals to comfortable places to stay overnighta stark contrast to the lack of serious action taken by historic emitters who benefited the most from the burning of fossil fuels at the expense of people and the environment.

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The clamor for climate justice is unstoppable