DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 23 April) — Environmentalists in Davao City will participate in the nationwide simultaneous “Pedal for People and Climate” on Sunday to reiterate their urgent call to end the use of fossil fuels as more vulnerable countries like the Philippines bear the brunt of climate change.
Rara Ada, area coordinator for Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), told MindaNews on Saturday that around 50 cyclists are expected to participate in the even that will start at 5 a.m. at the Freedom Park along Roxas Avenue, then to MacArthur Highway, Quimpo Boulevard and back to Freedom Park.
She said a similar event has been organized in Quezon City and Cagayan de Oro City.
Organizers intend to shed light on vulnerable countries that suffer from the ill effects of climate change worsened by the green gas emissions of corporations and privileged countries.
She said organizers of the event in the city include Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development, 350.org, PMCJ, Greenpeace, Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS), and Sustainable Davao Movement (SDM).
Lawyer Mark Peñalver, IDIS executive director said the activity intends to call on cities like Davao to be “carbon neutral,” seeing the need to reduce carbon footprint in light of the climate emergency confronting the world and the environmental challenges including, among others, flooding, sea-level rising, and stronger typhoons.
“Transforming cities to be carbon neutral is one of the solutions should we want to reduce our carbon footprint and contribute to maintaining global temperature well below 2 degrees,” he said.
Peñalver stressed that now is not the time to think about profit. He called on cities to prioritize the people and the planet, urging local government units to take bold steps in terms of crafting and development strategies to address climate change and its impacts.
“Cities are now becoming major sources of higher carbon emissions due to unsustainable development in the area of transportation, infrastructure, energy, and industry. Cities should improve public transportation and cut travel time and time spent on the road to reduce carbon emitted by vehicles,” he said.
He said road systems should be improved to make it safer “for pedestrians and pedestrians on wheels, and in order to encourage more people to ride their bikes and ditch their cars.”
He said cities should invest more on green infrastructure and incorporate nature-based designs in order to mitigate flooding and reduce the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect by increasing green spaces.
“As to energy, cities should avoid creation and dependence on dirty energies, like coal-fired power and waste-to-energy incineration and invest more on renewable energies. We saw how dirty energy sources impact other countries’ environment and their people’s health,” he said, adding the impacts of countries’ dependence on coal can be felt through strong typhoons and unpredictable weather.
According to Peñalver, industries should also step up their efforts on environmental protection and sustainability to “reduce their emissions and their contributions to the worsening climate.”
“This demand is also a call for partnership and critical collaboration. For government and private entities to be more open to listen and accept recommendations from the civil society and experts,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)