#Climate #Justice

Demand Climate Justice

Filipinos are enduring the worst impacts of climate change, caused by greedy corporations. It's time to hold them to account!

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In the last month, millions of people marched in solidarity with the growing movement calling for climate justice. After decades of building the conversation around climate change, is this the tipping point that we’ve been waiting for? What does it mean to call for climate justice?

The call for climate justice is about coming together to reclaim the rights of people who have the least responsibility for the climate emergency, yet suffer its greatest consequences. 

Filipinos come face-to-face with some of the strongest storms in human history. Among themI’ve met the strongest people, with the strongest voices, calling for climate justice.  When you risk losing your home, your livelihood, and your loved ones to climate change – what do you do?

Activist Protest at Shell Headquarters in Manila. © Geric Cruz / Greenpeace

Climate activist and super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) survivor Joanna Sustento starts an indefinite lone protest in front of the Philippine headquarters of Shell to call for climate justice. © Geric Cruz / Greenpeace

 

As super-typhoon Haiyan survivor and activist Joanna Sustento said in her open letter to Shell, “I may have lost my family to the storm, but I am not losing to this climate crisis.” She adds, “No one deserves to live in fear because of the threats from climate change. Everyone deserves a future where dreams and ambitions live, rather than being shattered.”

Six years later, she is standing up both for herself and for her community. She was among the lone protesters who, for four days, made a stand, not only for themselves, but to represent the countless silenced voices, the oppressed calls for justice, and the unheard stories of their communities.

Tatay Fred was standing up for fisherfolk communities struggling with warming seas. Ate Caré, as a mother, was standing up for her children. Derek Cabe was standing up for a livable future for her community in Bataan. RJ de Ramos, Francis Talatayod, Marinel Ubaldo, Krishna Ariola, and young people from Marikina, Tacloban and Bacolod, are all youth leaders standing up for their future.

These voices from the frontlines were standing up against the biggest fossil fuel giants (“Carbon Majors”), as embodied by Pilipinas Shell, and telling them to acknowledge their role in the climate emergency. According to a study on the Carbon Majors, Shell is one of the top 5 contributors to global industrial historical emissions, and there is evidence that it knew about climate change decades ago and misled the public about it. The collective evidence on the fossil fuel industry’s deceit on climate change is on national record. 

In a landmark National Inquiry before  the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, Shell is one of the 47 named respondent Carbon Majors. On September 19, the final Memorandum on the case was submitted by the petitioners to the Commission. The petitioners are holding the Carbon Majors accountable for their responsibility for climate impacts continuously being experienced by Filipinos.

On September 20, the lone protests culminated with activists blockading the Shell refinery in Batangas, raising the alarm for the climate emergency, and sending a message to “Stop burning our future.”

Representatives from climate-impacted communities, together with Greenpeace activists, blockaded the entrance to the Batangas refinery of fossil fuel giant Shell, South of Manila. The peaceful protest is a bold challenge to fossil fuel companies to show accountability for their role in the climate crisis, heed the call of climate-impacted communities for justice, and start a rapid and just transition to phase out fossil fuels.

Protest at Shell Depot in Batangas, Philippines. © Geric Cruz / Greenpeace

Eight (8) activists climb on top of one of the facility’s silos unfurled a banner with the words “Shell, stop burning our future.” in Batangas refinery of fossil fuel giant Shell, South of Manila.
The peaceful protest is a bold challenge to fossil fuel companies to show accountability for their role in the climate crisis, heed the call of climate-impacted communities for justice, and start a rapid and just transition to phase out fossil fuels. © Geric Cruz / Greenpeace

 

September 20 was the beginning of the global climate strikes all over the world. At 2:00pm, people raised the alarm during the climate emergency hour in solidarity with frontline communities. In the Philippines, we witnessed thousands of young people call for urgent action on climate, from ringing schools bells to phone alarms, to creating noise with tin cans and coconut shells, to chanting and street busking, encapsulating the collective voice of frontline communities that resonate with the justice we seek.

Millions of people from around the world rallied behind the science, shared their stories, and stood up for their future. Now, we’re calling for system change. The time to ACT is now. 

A is the call for Accountability…of those who have profited at the expense of the people; accountability of corporations and governments for the biggest contributions to climate change; accountability of fossil fuel companies that have undermined climate science and deceived the public for decades regarding climate change.

C is about Creating. We have to create; it’s the only thing louder than destruction. We have to create systems and policies that serve the many, rather than the few. We have to create new ways of communicating and telling our stories. We have to create innovative solutions that address the heart of the problem and not mere band-aid remedies. 

Lone Protester at Shell's Headquarter in Manila. © Geric Cruz / Greenpeace

T is about doing it Together. No single person, no single solution can solve the climate crisis. It will take  collective efforts of sounding the alarm on the climate emergency to raise the consciousness on system-wide solutions for dealing with this problem. When people bring their voices together, when they weave their stories into one narrative, the calls for climate justice are heard better. 

Climate Justice Photo Activity in Capalonga. © Greenpeace / Geric Cruz

Beyond the stories of many Filipinos who face climate impacts, we are here standing up for everyone’s future to a safe and stable climate, and a healthful and balanced ecology. Change will only happen if we act together.

We are now moving into a new era of climate activism, one where millions are rallying around a vision of a better world. It is important to be clear not only about what we stand against, but also on what we stand for.

The story of climate justice is a story of who is at risk, and who is responsible. It is a story that tells us what people are willing to come together for, and what we strive to protect. It is the story of a generation. It is our story.


 

For more information: 

https://www.greenpeace.org/philippines/press/1237/the-climate-change-and-human-rights-petition/

https://www.greenpeace.org/philippines/press/3374/worlds-first-climate-change-and-human-rights-liability-inquiry-nears-closure/