Earth and Climate declared winner in Rowing Regatta for Renewable Energy

Feature story - April 28, 2002
Manila Bay, April 28, 2002 - It was undeniably a Race for the Climate. And in the end, everybody made waves. "Unity of purpose, positive energy, the will to win. These were the key elements in today's rowing regatta where the clear winner was our planet's climate. The sentiment among all who joined the event was unmistakable - we must leave the dirty world of fossil fuels and begin embracing renewable energy if we desire a future that is both sustainable and clean," said Red Constantino, climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace.

The dragon boat race was organized by Greenpeace and The Body Shop in cooperation with the Amateur Rowing Association of the Philippines to highlight the grave impacts of climate change to the country as part of the global Choose Positive Energy campaign. Greenpeace and The Body Shop joined forces for the campaign to demand that renewable energy be provided to the 2 billion people who live today without access to electricity through a global signature gathering drive. The collected signatures will be delivered to the governments - specifically the G-8 governments - assembling at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Earth Summit 2) that will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa in August this year.

"It is important to involve the public in the fight against global warming. The theme for this regatta says it all: the race to save the planet is on. All those who showed up today and who continue to sign the petition for renewable energy are saying that they are rejecting the negative energy path of dirty conventional fossil fuels. The only way to prevent climate change is to choose positive energy now," Theresa Liceralde, spokesperson for The Body Shop. The Body Shop also announced updates on its well-received in-store fund raising campaign with its customers to solarize an elementary school in Pulupandan, Negros Occidental.

The Philippines has more than abundant resources of renewable energy. Philippine wind power potential is estimated to be 70,000-MW while solar energy is available almost everywhere in the country. "The Philippines should not be a party to its future devastation by continuing to rely on polluting fossil technologies. Switching to renewable energy is a win-win solution - it is an environmentally friendly even as it provides for the energy needs of the country," added the Greenpeace climate campaigner.

According to the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), developing countries like the Philippines are the most vulnerable and will be the hardest hit by the impacts of global warming. Among the anticipated likely effects of climate change are the continued rise of sea levels, the likely increase in the severity and frequency of extreme weather events like storms and droughts. Rapidly warming temperatures are also expected to trigger the likely increase of insect-borne diseases like malaria and dengue.

An estimated 700 people showed up for the regatta. Greenpeace volunteers wearing outrageous hats were seen roving the regatta grounds gathering the signatures of families, teams and individuals who participated in the colorful event. Crowds flocked around the renewable energy exhibits set-up by Greenpeace and member companies of the Renewable Energy Association of the Philippines to show the applicability and practicality of switching to clean energy. Solar panels powered computers broadcasting detailed race results, coffee makers for guests and participants, electric fans, a sound system and a water dispenser among other appliances. A wind turbine was also set-up along with a small biomass oven and a micro hydro demonstration system.