JOINING a global cause of lowering carbon emission in the atmosphere, more than 400 environmentalists and participating government agencies in Davao formed "350 Movement" and planted trees around a new sanitary landfillin New Carmen, Tugbok.

The effort is part of the 350 Movement's launching, a campaign to reduce the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million (ppm). It was adopted by organization members of the city's Task Force on Climate Change (TFCC) and Davao Climate Change Action Network.

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TFCC co-chair Councilor Leonardo Avila III said the event is the city's response to the global call on climate change.

Photos of the event will be uploaded to the 350.org where efforts from other countries are also posted, Avila said.

"This is our signal to the world, of what is the stand of Davao City," said Avila, chair of City Council committee on environment, and natural resources.

Environmental expert Casimiro Olvida of Eco Gov, an agency of the US Agency for International Development (USAid) for Mindanao, said 350 ppm is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide measured in the atmosphere.

"It's the safe number humanity needs to get back to as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change," Olvida said.

Ppm is simply a way of measuring the concentration of different gases and it shows the ratio of the number of carbon dioxide molecules to all of the molecules in the atmosphere, Olvida said.

"For all of human history until about 200 years ago, our atmosphere contained 275 ppm of carbon dioxide. Beginning in the 18th century, human began to burn coal and gas and oil to produce energy and goods. By now the planet has 390 ppm of CO2 and this is rising by about 2 ppm ever year," Olvida added.

City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) Engineer Jocelyn Espina and Central 911 chief operating officer Mario Verner Monsanto said the idea started several weeks ago.

"It's great how the city's response is so great on this. The intense cooperation and support from the government and its people shows the city is united regarding climate change," Espina said.

"We saw how great this idea is and we never hesitated (to show support). It did not take long before the effort gathered much support," Monsanto said.

"This isn't only important (to one district) but to the city of Davao. This is a long term vision for all of us," said a staff member of Councilor Louie Villafuerte.

After the 350 formation, about 250 mahoganies shoots, 50 mango shoots, and 15 guyabanos were planted in a tree planting activity.

Participating agencies were Task Force Davao, Philippine National Police, Davao City Water District, City Agriculture, Eco-Group, Philippine Coast Guard and students from Daniel Aguinaldo, Doña Carmen Deña National High School (HS), Davao City National HS, E. Nograles National HS, and Sta. Ana National HS. (JCZ)