To step outside

By Christian V. Gelotin
To step outside
Jottings GPX

Recently, the heat index in Bacolod City has scarcely dipped below 40 degrees Celcius. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG–ASA) recorded soaring temperatures which serves as a stark reminder of the country’s vulnerability to global warming.

Plagued by the blazing heat, various cities in the country grappled with suspensions of classes to ensure the safety of students. However, seeking refuge indoors is not quite the solution: after all, the sun is still waiting outside.

Suspension of classes translates to bittersweet happiness among students. On one hand, they are given a break from the rigors of studying. Yet, there’s also a concern for missed lessons which lead to disrupted and inefficient learning experiences. The suspension of classes stands as a band-aid solution to a harsh reality that the world faces which is global warming.

Global warming has been around for a long time. When it was in its humble beginnings, humanity had not yet fully grasped the extent of its anthropogenic impact on the environment.

Now, mankind doesn’t seem to care anymore. Fossil fuels are the largest contributor to climate change, accounting for over 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations.

As these greenhouse gases blanket the Earth, they trap the sun’s heat, leading to an increase in global temperature. There were many promises to reduce carbon emissions among several countries, however, not many were fulfilled due to economic considerations, technological limitations, and political tension.

Global Carbon Budget (2023) cited a cumulative sum of 3.68 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions in the country up to 2022 since the first year of recording. This puts the Philippines with a 0.4 percent share of carbon emissions globally with China having the biggest at 30.68%.

Meanwhile, based on the ND-GAIN index (2021) developed by the University of Notre Dame, the Philippines ranked 121th in the Climate Vulnerability Index. The said ranking gauged a country's exposure, sensitivity, and ability to adapt to the negative impact of climate change.

We have long surpassed the time of believing that climate change may be fixed by simply planting a tree or solely battling the use of CFCs, both of which are crucial in mitigating environmental degradation yet stand insufficient in the face of larger adversity. Face it, you can’t do it alone.

Problems surrounding the environment must be tackled at its grassroots level. Nevertheless, even as a student, there are a multitude of responsibilities for action. It’s crucial to redirect our calls for action to our government and urge them to take tangible steps in addressing pressing issues in the environment.

The youth are paying the price for the actions of those who came before them. As students, we are equipped with the proper education and knowledge to break free from the cycle of environmental degradation and societal challenges. So that when the time comes, the next generation may step outside unburdened by the mistakes of the past and renewed by the future yet to come.*

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Christian V. Gelotin is a Grade 11 STEM student from the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos. He is currently the feature editor of Starlight, the official student publication of the university’s senior high school. He has been a campus journalist for eight years now, starting when he was in fourth grade.

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