"Students from various universities, gathered to call for 350 ppm during earth hour celebration"

By: Vanne Balboa

Global warming, untimely seasonal change, glaciers melting and heat waves- those were just few of the evident signs of climate change that is happening now around the world. Climate change is mostly due to the rapid industrialization of the world wherein carbon is emitted from burned wastes- which in return can cause greenhouse effect.

With the rapid worsening state of the environment, environmentalists felt obliged to do something. Thus, Earth hour movement was organized. It is an effort to lessen the carbon consumption of the world by switching off their lights for an hour.

But 350.org of Cebu wants people to go beyond switching off their lights and electricity for an hour.  They believe that to achieve a sustainable development in the province, we should pursue for a greener economy.

On March 25, environmental advocates of 350-Cebu rallied on Colon St. to reiterate their call to the government to stop continuous putting up of coal-fired power plants. The participants in the said rally, who was mostly joined by students from different colleges and universities of Cebu, brought placards that said: “Coal kills climate and people” and “Renewable energy now.”

The environmentalists were wearing masks to stress out their point that the air has become very polluted that it is now very risky for us to inhale the air without the help of filters. They were also holding paper wind mills to signify their call to use renewable energy.

Victor Lapaz, chairperson of Panaghugpung sa Gagmayng Mananagat sa Sugbu, also expressed his sentiments regarding the recent fish kill in Naga City. He said that this was because of the toxics brought about by the coal ashes from the power plants and this affected 200 fishermen.

However, it is quite ironic that with all these effort to lessen our carbon footprint, the provincial government of Cebu still allows coal-fired power plants to operate in Naga City. In fact, there is yet another plan to put up a power plant in Cebu which in doing so “will put Cebu at greater risk,” says Aaron Pedrosa, secretary-general of Freedom from Death Coalition-Cebu.

The carbon content in our atmosphere is already way past its limit, which is 350parts per million. We are now at the 392.9 ppm. That is why before the people turned off their lights last March 26, 350.org aimed for their call for a green economy to be heard by the government and take preventive actions towards the coal-fired power plants.

About the Author:

Vanne Balboa is a Mass Communication of University of the Philippines Cebu College. Reading is her favorite pastime- Harry Potter series and Sophie’s World being her favorites. Her classes in development communication inspired her to take part in environmental awareness. She is also into community service and is a member of UP Tsinelas, a non-profit organization that aims to help children in need.