About 20 women leaders and members of Balokawe Women’s Livelihood Association and Oras working group had a workshop on climate change. They were divided into 3 workshop groups where they tackled the following questions: 1) What is their understanding of climate change? Define climate change. 2) What is/are their personal experience/s regarding climate change? 3) What could be the causes of climate change? Why is there a climate change crisis? 4) How can we deal or adapt to climate change? 5) Give your suggestions/recommendations on how you can help resolve or deal with the effects of climate change.
These are the summary of their responses: 1) Climate change – abnormalities observed on the usual climate patterns i.e. La Nina, El Nino, strong typhoons, long dry spell. In the Philippines, there were strong typhoons even summer/dry season and what’s supposed to be rainy season becomes dry season. In other parts of the world, there were reports of snow storms in places where usually don’t experienced it. Another phenomena were reports of forest fires and hurricanes.
2) Personal experiences: Many of them have either lost their homes and properties or their houses were destroyed by strong typhoons that hit Eastern Samar the past years. The latest was Typhoon Haiyan which hardly hit Oras and other nearby towns. Shanties along rhe coast were totally destroyed while other houses in the villages were destroyed with most of their roofs blown away by strong wind.
Small bancas of the fisherfolk in the village were washed away and destroyed. This greatly affected the lives of the people as they were deprived of their source of income.
Those who have small land in the surrounding hills and mountains and rely on coconut trees for additional income were also affected as the trees were also destroyed by strong winds. It would take several years for the coconut trees to recover and bear fruits again.
3) These are some of the reasons they cited that causes climate change: pollution of seas and rivers e.g. Throwing of garbage in the sea and rivers; „kaingin“ or charcoal-making. This is done by burning trees in the forest which is very harmful as even small trees are burned and there are times that fire becomes uncontrollable; using of poison or cyanide and dynamite in fishing; illigal logging. These were mainly from their own experiences. I discussed other factors like carbon emissions by big factories and dumping of chemical wastes in the ocean.
4) How to deal with climate change: proper waste disposal; waste segregation and recycling; banning of illigal logging and illigal fishing; proper education among the village people, organic farming.
5) Suggestions on how to deal with the effects of climate change: help in tree planting; educate the people in the community on proper waste disposal and how to recycle; advocate for municipal ordinances on banning garbage dumping in seashores and riverbanks; encourage organic backyard vegetable gardening; information and education on climate change.
This is so far the results of our workshop in Brgy. Balokawe. We also agreed that they should have a planning session and come up with a project concept for a sustainable livelihood project.
Zenaida Salientes Mique, Oras 05.12. 2017