A week after Efren Peñaflorida was hailed as the CNN Hero of the Year, two Pinoys, Paul Darwynn Garilao and Alfonso Orioste, Jr. reigned in an online competition as they win the CNN/YouTube Debates contest for climate change.
The contest encouraged individuals to send videos with their views, opinions, and questions about the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The online voting took place between November 6 and 30.
According to the YouTube channel designed for the event, the global YouTube community “has voted on the strongest voices to send them to Copenhagen.”
Garilao and Orioste, Jr. will be part of 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) and attend the live debate sponsored by CNN and YouTube. CNN News Anchor Becky Anderson will host the live debate that will be participated by global leaders from 193 countries.
Out of the 600 entries, another entry Global Warming Project based from Brazil also made the cut.
What needs to be done?
With 7,300 views from YouTube, the six-minute amateur documentary film discussed disaster management and the drive to shift to alternative energies. The Pinoys were motivated to join the contest after seeing the effects of Ondoy and Pepeng tragedy. Through this online campaign, the young Pinoys jumpstarted discussions that will serve as a springboard to raise awareness on climate change.
“We have to beat the climate change buzzer. The Philippines is currently the centerfold of climate change discussions because of super typhoons that recently devastated us. Serving as the Filipino voice in Copenhagen, we will convince the global leaders to include discussions on disaster preparedness program. This will benefit not only the Philippines but also other countries prone to natural disasters,” shared Garilao, a Filipino engineer and freelance journalist based in Hawaii.
Orioste, a freshman law student from San Beda College, furthered, “There should be a stakeholder approach in dealing with disaster preparedness. Instead of becoming reactive, the government should be proactive. A close and efficient coordination with different sectors – both public and private – during calamities will help reduce the impacts of severe typhoons. We should take a leap in mobilizing not just relief efforts but also alarm systems before a natural disaster strikes.”
The two Pinoys also asked the global leaders to discuss ways in reducing carbon emissions that contribute adverse effects to the environment. “The best step is to shift to using clean energy if countries want to reduce their emissions. This is a difficult transition but is the best step to combat climate change.” Samples of clean energy resources include solar panel, wind turbine, and bio-gas.
According to World Research Institute, the cumulative CO2 emission of US reached 29.3 percent, while Philippines only accumulated .03 percent. Despite its tiny carbon footprint, the Philippines will be affected as revealed by the contributions of developing countries in terms of carbon emissions.
Garilao and Orioste also called those running for local and national elections to prioritize climate change in their platforms.
Right after the event, the environmental advocates will share their key learning experiences to government officials, environmental organizations, and private sectors.
Alfonso Orioste, Jr. “Once again, we have proven the Bayanihan spirit online. The Filipino consumers – wherever they are – massively voted for our video. Based on our count, more than 600 Facebook users linked the video and shared steps on how to vote. At least 12 bloggers also campaigned for the video and shared their thoughts on climate change,” Garilao said.
Those organizations and networks that supported Efren also campaigned for their video. Maria Embry, a community advocate from California, campaigned for both Efren and for this video to the Filipino-American organizations. Spending an average of four hours a day, she rallied votes for both causes.
Meanwhile, Definitely Filipino, an online organization with almost 400,000 Facebook members, also campaigned for both advocacies through gathering online votes.
De La Salle University-Manila (DLSU), where the two Pinoys graduated, massively supported the video through the endorsement of DLSU President Br. Armin Luistro FSC who is also a passionate environmental advocate. The video was also shown in an environmental seminar in University of Sto. Thomas attended by hundreds of students.
Garilao and Orioste encouraged film aficionados to produce user-generated videos that will raise awareness on climate change. Few days before the online voting ended, three video makers from the Philippines also participated.
According to the COP15 channel, those who want to air their voices to the global leaders still have the chance to be part of the live debate. They can upload their comments and/or questions about climate change and submission is open until December 14.
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