OUR national hero José Rizal once said that the “youth is the hope for our future.” Oh so true—on a local, national, and the global scale.
Youth for Climate Hope, a Bacolod-based environmental youth coalition, geared up for the hashtag #FridaysForFuture, a follow-up for the international call to strike for the climate with “Istorya Klima.”
Then comes the four Roman Catholic bishops in Negros who cited the appeal of Pope Francis to “every person living on this planet” to protect the environment in opposing coal-fired power plants in the island.
In a collegial pastoral statement, Bishops Gerardo Alminaza of the Diocese of San Carlos, Patricio Buzon of the Diocese of Bacolod, Louie Galbines of the Diocese of Kabankalan, and Julito Cortes of the Diocese of Dumaguete called on Negrenses to stand firm together—with each other and with civic leaders—to oppose any coal-fired power plants and phase out those still in operation.
Then comes the Catholic charismatic Light of Jesus Family founded by Bro Bo Sánchez, who in Negros Occidental has started a series on climate change/ the series have highlighted excerpts from the work of Margaret Salamon, “The Transformative Power of Climate Truth.”
Margaret Klein Salamon, a clinical psychologist before founding a climate-advocacy organization, views fear as a necessary response that activates people to recognize danger and take action. What’s more, given the state of the atmosphere, she argues that acute fear is rational. “It’s important to feel afraid of things that will kill us—that is healthy and good,” said Salamon.
Echoing Salamon, Bacólod Feast Builder Alan Brillantes, an accountant, wrote in the weekly The Feast Bacólod Bulletin, that we need to panic. Bro Alan wrote, “Our house is on fire. That is, planet earth is on fire. So we—you and I—need to panic. Climate change is the culprit.”
Then comes Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, who said that young people’s intensified demand for climate action is a sign of hope during the planet’s ecological crisis.
“There are so many signs of hope. God is raising up people around the world to come together to care for our common home. I am happy to note the role of young people in this journey,” the Ghanaian cardinal recently said at the conference marking the fifth anniversary of the Catholic Youth Network on Environment and Sustainability in Africa and the fourth anniversary of Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical, “Laudato Si’.”
Cardinal Turkson noted that youth mobilization against climate challenges had gained strength since August 2018, when Greta Thunberg, the 15-year-old Swedish student-activist, ignited climate strikes. The protests have attracted millions of student worldwide.
Well that Governor Bong Lacson heed. Cardinal Turkson described climate challenges as complex and multifaceted but said the pressure exerted by the students was being noticed by politicians, whom he said needed to show courage and make the decisions needed to fully implement the Paris Agreement, which seeks to limit the global temperature increase. Amen!