The best solution?
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
As I was flying to the expensively heated grounds of Singapore, captivated by Time Magazine's Science vs Religion feature, I came across the magazine's Best Inventions of the Year. Well, do I have to mention the overtly famous YouTube as the number one discovery? Lets not act surprised here. Amongst the new toys and transportations, the things that caught my attention were the hug-stimulating shirt, the floating bed, the appealing flexible flat lights and the hospital-helping robot, but I found the power saving knick-knacks, highlighted in the article, the most stirring of all.
As an architect, I am fascinated and intrigued and almost willing to invent, about saving energy, greenhouses, sustainable environment, etc. We have heard about hybrid cars and such, but these newbie devices are really cool and how I wish they will soon be available here in Manila, with a discount please.
The silver-hued flower light had a fresh, contemporary concept with a flash of energy-saving wonder. This is an environment-friendly, flower-shaped light which monitors the energy usage in your home. Pretty neat huh? It actually discerns the power consumption, if it's low, the light blooms and shows its charming beauty! But when it senses high usage, it gets shy and closes. The Swedish Company, Static! invented this Flowerful home piece to increase energy saving awareness, with a modern and quirky design. availablity? its not yet for sale.
To learn more, see www.tii.se/static
As much as we want to use solar power in our buildings and homes, sometimes, designers and even homeowners are wary on how those huge and protruding solar panels will look on top of their newly-built tower or house. The good news is, reportedly in 2008, the most dependable and thin film material for generating electricity from sunlight power, generating glass, steel, metal and polymers, making possible a new generation of solar energy units and photovoltaic construction materials will be out in the market! Time Magazine gave a thumbs-up to HelioVolt's FASST, a revolutionary solar-panel designed so slim, it can actually be part of that modern, minimalist building you just designed or admired! Now that's Slim, Shady and Solar-powered. Price is yet to be announced. Let's cross our fingers on this one! To learn more about this, visit www.heliovolt.com
We are all familiar with turbines and how it contributes to power saving techniques but this supposed best invention marks another notch in turbine technology. The Skystream 3.7 is a wind turbine designed especially for home use. Now, we can contribute in saving the environment! Installed on a 35-ft. vertical piece, it attaches to typical utility hookups and starts rotating in drafts as low as 8 m.p.h. The article states that it can generate up to 80percent of the average household's electricity and shave of approximately 600 bucks or more off annual utility costs. That's the good news. The downside is, it's about $10,000, including installation. OUCH. Hhhmmm, I wonder if this can also cut down its price?
To learn more visit skystreamenergy.com
Of course, we have to face the irony of these things, the technology that costs the manufacturers to come up with these remarkable ideas are indeed veritably expensive yet helpful. Is this like a science versus religion discussion? maybe style vs substance? is it like buying a fast food burger over a gourmet, organic sandwich? Do we continue to emphasize and draw light to new and costly concepts? Or do we retrace our steps and just do the simplest deeds? Like switching off the light when you go out perhaps? but some issues are not that easy to solve, especially when it concerns our health, the environment, our lives. Think about the long-term effects these intially costly devices will give. lesser consumption means lesser decimal points on those bills!
posted by brainweaver_wan @ 5:21 PM, ,
Well, it's been a while. This "prelude to a wrap-up" has taken some time. Thankfully Bengkers managed to get a nice post from her friend, Giselle, which you can browse in the post just before this one. As thanks, were posting a nice sunset pic for Giselle from young ones at the historic site of Angkor Wat, standing up (and sitting down) for their future.
There were questions before as to whether, after the Nairobi climate negotiations end, we should also conclude the Cool The Planet blog. Everything should have an ending, but apparently, according to some letter writers, there's little reason to bring our little conversation to a close. One said, we've managed to connect disparate approaches made from distant lands on a common topic, which is no mean feat. Another wrote asking why the frequency of posts went down when the colors had just begun to get interesting.
What to do? Right now, it's hard to say. All conversations come to an end when the number of voices dwindle to one or some, or none, which of course says that it's all up to us to say whether everyone moves on or not. It's been a tiring one month push, in truth, and friends in Metro Manila have been busy seeding the minds of many in their work to get both houses of the Philippine legislature not just to adopt a renewable energy bill but to pass a definitive one that is actually useful and strong. We still hope of course that one or some of them will find time to actually share what they've been up to along with the fruits they have picked up along the way, particularly the inside stories, the funnies and the odd piece of news.
While we wait for their consideration, why not share your thoughts on the questions below? Give 'em a try...
1. Did his reindeers go on strike or has Santa Claus joined the Animal Liberation Front and freed his brown bucks?
2. What does Ellen Ripley -- that bad mama nemesis of the xenomorph Alien -- have in common with an angelic coffee barista?
3. What is that one thought that could make both Rep. Neric Acosta (Bukidnon) and young TV host Juddha Paolo beam like toothpaste commercial models?
4. Name each member of the Bad Bananas -- and give each of their nicknames (if more than one, please list these down too...), particularly the Banana who now speaks the inconvenient truth.
Stumped? Scroll down for clues...
1. We're really not sure about the reindeers issue but Santa Claus did join environmental group Greenpeace for a bike, run and walk for "climate and clean energy campaign" inside a campus park in suburban Manila, 26 November 2006. Greenpeace is holding a series of activities and a massive shift to clean and renewable energy to stop climate change and to campaign for a stronger renewable energy bill. JOEL NITO/AFP/Getty Images
2. They are both champions of critical environmental campaigns. Here is The Angel (with Philippine Senate president and clean energy advocate Manny Villar) and The Alien Bully (at the UN protesting against destructive fishing practices. Click here for more info on Angel Aquino's quickie coffee-making stint and find out more about Sigourney Weaver's fight here.
3. Here is what makes Juddha and Neric smile.
4. The Baddest Goodest Banana.
posted by Redster @ 10:33 AM, ,
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Here's a post from my good friend, Giselle Segovia, who wants to help out. She used to be the editor-in-chief of the event/music magazine Lemon and she's been writing ever since I remember. She now stays in Canada and would really like to help out in any way she can. Thanks G, you're the best!
Living in a country that yearly plunge into below zero temperatures, it's not difficult at all to disconnect to something as trivial as "climate change." Summer in Toronto is literally borrowed time and is forever too short. I can totally see how people here or in North America in general can take global warming for granted - hot temperatures are hard to come by on this side of the globe.
A huge chunk of me is in Manila though, and it's warming up by the minute.
If we want to know how punishing the sun can be, the Philippines is a primary spot to get a first-hand experience. But to say that Filipinos know all the ramifications attached to this clause is assuming too much. It's equally just as easy for us to take things for granted. Think about it: For a typical educated and able Pinoy (someone that can sure access this posting), how many hours in a day do you actually stay out of air-conditioning? You sleep in an air-conditioned room, ride an air-conditioned vehicle and work in an air-conditioned office. Not to mention the malls, restaurants, bars and clubs that are AC'd to the max. So it can't be as real to that Filipino (a lot of you are, there's no shame in admitting it) as how it is to the real archetype "magsasaka," - the one who's really suffering in all of this. The truly sad part about it is that this farmer who's scorching in the fields, probably contributes the least in climate heating - but ironically, he's paying for it.
It's no secret that saving up electricity is GOOD. Basically cutting back on a lot of stuff perhaps even reacquainting yourself with a fan (and please for the celebrities this means the device and not the follower). But why is conserving energy a positive thing? Why is it something that will benefit ALL of us, in the short and long run? You see, Meralco is not just a bill we pay. Behind the numbers and the consumption is a process that hurts the environment - essentially the world as we know, and love it. Okay, we know from Science 101, that power stations generate electricity by burning fossil fuels. However, apart from the pollution that these plants produce, more importantly what we could miss is that this procedure alone is the biggest factor in carbon dioxide emission. The influx of which allows extra heat to reflect back into earth - way more than we can handle. This imbalance is causing climates to shift - and because everything in the world is connected, no living thing will be spared.
It's a terrifying thought especially when people find out that we're so close to the point where we can't reverse the effects. To put it simply, it's like stage 2.5 of cancer. There's a fair chance, but it's going to be tedious and very tough work. Often times, we won't feel rewarded. In this complicated age where everything is gray, it's not enough that we help; doing the right things can look "self-righteous" and the picture of everything dying is preposterous and far-fetched. So chances are we won't be taking steps for ourselves. There are too many priorities (aka work) and responsibilities (aka family, friends). So I'm thinking, maybe we should help our dear ol' mother planet not for our own sakes but for someone we love; a friend, father, lover, wife, child - think of her and how she might have to endure an incredibly sick earth.
I mean, I know you won't do it for the farmer (shame on you!). But would you pass up the chance to give the people you care for a better world?
posted by bengkers @ 1:59 PM, ,
PRELUDE TO A WRAP-UP
Saturday, November 18, 2006
PRELUDE TO A WRAP-UP
It's the last day of the Nairobi negotiations and it has been frustrating and also exhilarating. For one, my glasses broke a few days ago and I've been getting this dull headache from time to time since then, similar to a low-grade hangover. Work hours during climate treaty events are also notoriously long -- for most of those involved in such negotiations, day in and day out it can be mostly non-stop lobbying, writing articles or position papers, strategizing, coordinating with colleagues and allied organizations, meetings with delegates, patching up political spats and leveraging support for specific measures or issues or positions, putting out 'political brush fires' or igniting indignation. It's been a tough two weeks. Happily, through the Cool The Planet site, blogging with such a wide and diverse group of people has provided a nice, distinct frame to my activities here in Nairobi. We've begun a nice conversation alright, and we've had bloggers, commentators and visitors from virtually all the regions in our planet. The chat box alone showed that climate friends from Iran, Brazil, Italy, Nepal, India, Pakistan, the US, Canada, Korea and New Zealand had dropped by to leave good thoughts and good words for everyone to munch on.
The posts and the exchanges on this two-week blog has showed that there's really so much that people can share with one another with regard to what is taking place in our climate. Each post actually demonstrates topics and ideas that can allow others to connect to an urgently needed conversation regarding the protection of things that are dear to us and the role played by something we take so much for granted -- our climate -- in our daily rhythms and thoughts and quirks and visions. Climate is literally a huge thing, but it is also so basic. It's a good enough starting point for most everyone to begin thinking about the consequences of how we live today and the impacts of our actions, or inaction.
Thankfully, significant negotiation items in Nairobi have moved forward considerably even though many issues have not progressed as far as many thought they would. The more crucial issues have been agreed, however, and next steps have been identified.
There were times when the negotiations seemed to be stuck hopelessly in bad gridlocks but the process has nonetheless moved forward, allowing many to hope that the agreements achieved in Nairobi will lead to deeper future cuts in global emissions along with the provision of new and much larger funds that can assist the most vulnerable countries to adapt to climatic impacts.
It has been a difficult two weeks, with country representatives, UN officials and non-governmental organizations working together or against one another in a humongous attempt to put together an agreement that best serves the individual interests of the UN members -- and the planet. And of course things do not happen the way everyone wants things to happen; self-interest is the predominant mode here, and cynical, persnickety interventions often times marked plenary exchanges, contact group and informal meetings.
Those who would like a more detailed understanding of what the negotiations covered are encouraged to visit the website of the Climate Action Network (CAN), which is the largest and most active global coalition of NGOs working on the issue of climate change. Following the negotiations can be intensely technical and frustrating but CAN continues to do a fine job of combining passions, skills, capacities, experience and insights in order to shepherd and pressure climate treaty negotiations to move forward and remain on track.
I should have set this down much earlier, obviously, but it has proven difficult to balance regular blog posts and posts mapping the process along with having to attend to my work here as a member of Greenpeace International's delegation, which for two weeks straight was virtually a 6AM to midnight task. In any case, what's done is done -- and with this post what has not been done is now done. Check out the section on who won the daily Fossil of the Day award during the negotiations. This is a prize given to the country delegation that played the most obstructive or destructive role on a given day during the negotiation period. Don't forget to check out the distinguished CAN daily called ECO, which gives delegates -- and the whole process actually -- crucial analysis and positions on the most vital issues throughout a negotiating period. You can actually track the whole negotiations -- including shameful political posturing, hypocritical episodes and lobby gossip -- by reading each ECO issue.
posted by Redster @ 12:18 AM, ,
Friday, November 17, 2006
Like a resounding toll of bells, this familiar call of "balooooot!" can be heard every night in most Philippine streets. Balot is it? Online encyclopedia Wikipedia would describe it as "a fertilized duck egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell." Indeed it is. Peddled at night by (who else but...) balot vendors, it has become a favorite midnight snack and beer companion to Filipinos.
Upon coming home one midnight, I heard once more the now-endangered balot call and reminded me of my long-overdue post about balot. Balot has managed to remind me a couple of important things about life, one of which is climate change and its wrath on the future. See, eating balot is basically eating an aborted duck. Balot is cooked by submerging the egg in boiling water, which consequently cooks the developing duck inside the egg shell. (Heat is the key in producing this Pinoy delicacy). And our future would most likely suffer the same fate as balot if we continue to ignore climate change. No shell can spare us (and the future) from climate change. Aborted futures, that is what the balot is reminding us.
And however annoyingly rousing the balot vendor's midnight call may be, in light of the pressing issue of climate change, a call of its kind is very important. We need a constant reminder of why we need to be involved and why we need to act now!
Only when we've embraced climate change solutions will the balot vendor's call bear a different meaning and sound (at least to me). For now, let "Baloooooot!!!" be a reminder of what we stand to lose if we continue ignoring our climate's yelp for help.
Edited to mention: Thanks to Wikipedia for the picture, don't know whose hand is on the picture but just focus on the balot. Worth a try, especially with a pinch of salt. Yummy.
posted by The No Show @ 1:04 PM, ,
Skate boarding anyone?
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Skateboarding has entered an era where top riders sign corporate sponsorship contracts with "anti-offensiveness" and "no disparagement" clauses, mainstream television stations like ESPN- Disney's sports division - show the X-Games and skateboarders shred at the Olympics. Thanks to corporations like Nike we can eat extreme pizza, drive Nissan's X-Terra SUV, wear extreme deodorant, hire extreme consulting firms and invest in extreme equity funds. But if we are all extreme now, then where have the real rebels gone? Disappeared in a haze of Ritalin?
How Nike Conquered Skateboard Culture
Adbusters #65 May-June 2006
The quote above echoes the same sentiments when I along with my girlfriend Jeanie, and her students shot a video of my skateboarding nephew Gato for an advertising project a few weeks ago. The shoot brought back memories a lot of memories including that when I along with other skate buddies rode our boards to a fast descent in at a bypass in Edsa during EDSA 2: Or when I would skip school to skate; or when a 'skate scene' flourished in front of our house in Teachers' Village.
Skate-punk no more
At that time we were having the time of our lives because it was rebellious, nonconforming and firmly tied to punk rock. It was uncool. People hate us and preppy kids made fun of us for sewing rubber pads on our busted sneakers. But nowadays skateboarding all of a sudden turned hip. Starting with the integration of skateboarding scenes in the videos of jock-core band Limp Bizkit, up to the anthemic 'sk8rboi' trash of Avril Lavigne. It seems that the tables were turned to those of us who skated before the advent of the present status of skateboarding culture in today's youth. It's no wonder why I'm no longer riding my board and play at the scene in front of our house; in fact none of the people I skated with still play there.
I guess the corporate-powers that have come to realize that skaters were a troubling yet alluring demographic for big business.
Light at the end of the tunnel
But as I look at how the skate-punk subculture has faded into obscurity with its marriage to corporate-consumer culture that caters to your average mall-going teen I still see a light at the end of the tunnel...
X-Games 2001 champion Bob Burnquist is an avid Greenpeace supporter and is a part of the Action Sports Environmental Coalition, in fact he's also an organic farmer and grass roots environmentalist. He and his wife had supported Greenpeace work in the Amazon, and were also instrumental in making the 2004 The Summer X Games: extreme and green.
Also skateboarding can be an art, hobby, sport or A METHOD OF TRANSPORTATION. It is common knowledge that climate change is a by product of our dependence in fossil fuels to get us power including to power to drive our cars. It's quite fascinating to think of how much power would be saved if we'd all try out skateboarding, in the same way that we've ride our bikes to school or work.
Thinking about it makes me stoked enough to grab my busted Vans shoe and to ride my board to work while listening to Pennywise or NoFX, how about you?
posted by m35b @ 4:36 PM, ,
Here's another post from Bangalore-based writer Samir. Read it and learn, and tell us later what fluid thoughts you plan to breed, and whether you know of a better escape clause than the person Samir asks at the end of his piece.
They say water is the source of life, and life was supposed to have started in water - well they cant be wrong. I know quite a few water borne diseases and I do know that water also breeds pests.
There is a town in India called Lakhpat in the state of Gujarat, local folklore has it that the town was so called because it was a very rich town and had many millionaires the verbatim translation in English is a town of millionaires. This was a port town around 300 years back. The town was on the confluence of the river sindh which came in from what is now Pakistan, it was a port town. Slowly the river changed course, today there is no hint that this was once a town of the rich. People have migrated, there are not more than a few families left in the town.
And, water, they say is source of life.
But it is, one of the pointers in the development index is how many people have access to potable water, politicians promise constant water supply if they get elected. There are villages in India that no one wants to marry into because the water there is no longer potable. There is a story that Lord Krishna was cursed by a group of sages because he offered his wife water before he did them.
In India every home serves its guests water, this was also a custom in every restaurant. Before the menu was handed the waiter would pour you a glass of water. But things have changed, the waiter comes and asks "bottled" or "ordinary". What was valued as emotive now has a value - we know how much a litre of water costs - Rs 12/-. There is a soft drink called Limca that goes with the sobriquet 'thirst quencher'. In Rajasthan, the Indian desert state, you may not be able to find drinking water in the villages, but every shop has Coca Cola stocked in its shelves. .
Those who can afford it will buy water and those who cant – well tough luck. I asked a person if the summers were getting hotter here, he replied in the affirmative and also told me that he had a way out - air conditioners in his house and car.
posted by COOL THE PLANET @ 2:24 PM, ,
DISPATCH FROM NEW YORK!
Monday, November 13, 2006
Here's a post from Ebong Camarillo, a Filipina teaching in New York, on young folks and learning and why it's never too early to teach the things that matter.
DISPATCH FROM NEW YORK:
HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?
Young minds are a challenge to get through across the board. Often we feel as if we are pulling teeth from them regardless of the fact that they are smart as you can imagine. Teaching middle school age kids pose so much obstacles. My favorite of all is figuring out a lingo that they use as I impart propositions on environmental issues. Are they ready for such vicissitude? Must this be a matter of importance when it derelicts material possession and want? So you reflect and spend a few days on how to inform squirming rug rats on conservation, recycling, preservation, reusing and the big one of all, global warming.
How young must we teach our children about our only home? John Locke in his empirical view of the human mind that pre-exists as a tabula rasa or a blank slate still holds water for most. Yet the world of obstetrics theorized that as early as the first trimester of child bearing, the young inside the womb; absorbs the world outside. The bucket yields on us no matter what. We teach our kids a million and one things everytime and we wonder, will they be okay at the end of the day? And you see them, choosing to dunk a ball of scrap paper where the can reads "PAPER" and empty juice bottles to dispose of on bins marked "PLASTIC or GLASS". And you smile, and you thank your lucky stars you must be doing something right. It will take a few more of sharing, learning and probably debating before they could relate climate change to fossil fuel addiction. It might feel ages knowing if you are getting through their hyper-passive mode. So, how young should we let them know? May I suggest...as early as we can.
Visit Ebong's blog for more of her...
posted by Redster @ 9:11 PM, ,
cutting co2 emissions never looked this great!
while my fellow blogger, dyabayns has found a creative way of using solar energy to make coffee, here is another great idea on how to utilize the sun's rays (and it looks quite good, if i may add).
charge your phone, ipod, digital camera or pda with Solio™, the Universal "Hybrid" Charger. it absorbs energy from an electrical outlet or the sun and stores this within the Solio’s own internal battery. it looks very streamlined (comes in white, black, silver and hot pink!), plus it saves you from lugging around several chargers for your gadgets.
utilizing solar energy is very practical! it's free, reusable, widely available and clean! let's hope that these people come up with more solar-powered gadgets in the future which look great.
would you know of any other tech savvy gadgets which we can use? let us know about it! :)
posted by icequeen @ 7:15 PM, ,
You know you're Filipino when you have one of these in your bathroom.
Produced by the Ashlar Industrial Corporation in the 1990s, the name 'Orocan' actually stands for their entire line of plastic products; which includes not just their trademark plastic drum, but also laundry basins, coolers, jugs, pitchers, utility storage, etc. But to a Filipino, the word 'Orocan' pertains to the lovely, plastic container you see in the photo; so much so that any large, plastic drum, regardless of the brand, is referred to as an 'Orocan'.
The Orocan is a work of genius. Available in a range of attractive colors, and made of hardy material, the Orocan has evolved only slightly throughout the years, becoming more streamlined. The original ones in the early 90s looked like a plastic version of "Oscar the Grouch's" garbage can. If you look in your lola's (grandmother's) bathroom, you might still be able to find the original, vintage model. That's right, they are never thrown away. No matter how dilapidated they get, they go through a thousand and one incarnations (as you will soon read). An Orocan is forever.
The Orocan has a thousand uses, many of them yet to be invented. It's most common use is as a water storage receptacle. Like all Filipino kids, I have lived through dozens of calamities and natural disasters where we've had to survive without running water for a week: super typhoons, earthquakes, drought, broken pipes, week-long blackouts, coup de etat, and military uprisings (ok, so the last two aren't ' natural disasters, but I'm proud to have lived through a good dozen or so of them). To me, these trying times were marked by freezing-cold, candle-lit baths using our precious water rations, which we scooped out with a tabo (ladle) from (you guessed it) Orocans.
In many Filipino bathrooms, it is not uncommon to find a giant, water-filled Orocan squeezed into the tiny crevice between the toilet and the wall, with a bucket or can floating serenely on the water's surface. Especially in areas where water pressure is weak, many households still flush their toilets the old-fashioned way by pouring torrents of water down the loo, much to many a guest's discomfort I'm sure.
In the summertime, the Orocan makes for a great kiddy-pool. Not only is it less wasteful, requiring less water, but kids get a kick out of being stuffed into tiny, watery, restricting spaces. I should know. As a kid, my mother used to put me in a water-filled Orocan in our driveway on balmy summer afternoons, and I would have a blast.
Aside from being the perfect water-saving device, there are many other creative uses for the Orocan. In the old days, when the lids were still 'Oscar-the-Grouch' inspired, kids would use them as shields when pretending to be Lion-O from 'The Thundercats", Conan the Barbarian, or one of the ninja Turtles (even though they didn't have shields). They were also great places to hide in during games of hide-and-seek.
For the college dormer, the Orocan makes for a lovely side-table or stool when turned upside down; while for the musician, the Orocan can add lively percussion to any song. The possibilities are endless.
And now for my main point (bet you thought I didn't have one!).
Australia is said to be facing it's worst drought in 1000 years. We are reminded of it everyday, on TV, in the news, on flyers you get in your mailbox reminding you of Sydney's on-going water restrictions. We do have a reservoir of recycled water used for flushing our toilets, and watering our lawns. Even then, it's not enough. Australia is a naturally arrid place, due to it's climate. But it seems the dryness has reached an alarming new level.
The local effects, as of now, are that I'm not allowed to water my garden as much as I'd like to. My plants are sad. The national effects include failed crops, a reservoir that is slowly being depleted, and possible drinking-water shortages in certain areas in the future.
They've identified the culprit as climate change. Already, the heat here is blistering on warm days (and I thought there was no place hotter Manila), and Australia is bracing itself for what is expected to be the warmest summer ever.
Australians seems pretty savvy on the issue of climate change (all except their Prime Minister, but I'm not in the mood to get political about this). There seems to be hundreds of on going campaigns on both national and grassroots levels to delay the frightening onslaught of global warming. There is definitely a greater sense of urgency in the fight against global warming here than in the Philippines. But while it's great that people are taking action, I can't help but feel frightened over how real it all is. It's become more than just mere theory. Just ask my plants.
Will I be seeing Orocans in Australian bathrooms in a few years time?
* The Orocan picture was taken from Orocan website.
** You can read more about Australia's drought here.
posted by koAla Paredes @ 4:15 PM, ,
Greenhope reminded us last Wednesday about the drought in Australia, which has resulted in, among other things, a dramatic scarcity of water and "heaps of dangerous snakes coming out looking for food." It could all be quite mesmerizing, if the chaos hammering the planet wasn't so deadly. Still. The loam of thought is a little more fertile.
The truth is, when we change the jurisdictions of certainty, we are also altering the soil of our minds. What manner of stories can arise from the excursion of desperate serpents on increasingly arid land south of our world?
Everything is changing. Without concerted, urgent action, in as little as twenty five years, the ice caps of Africa's two highest peaks are expected to vanish. On this continent, loss is so final, so vivid. The other day, Richard from Kenya told me about the rapidly desiccating Lake Nakuru, one of the biggest fresh water basins in the country, and the evaporation of the great River Mau which resulted in the mass death of flamingos.
In this age of calamities, the deluge becomes commonplace while extremes of heat and monsoon become regular visitors to the hearth. Reference to all things may change. Even pining. "Announcement during a storm," goes the title of John Iremil E. Teodoro's poem.
"The jalousies are shaking
I imagine that when they shatter
The shards will be as sharp
As my pining for you
Which is wounding the skin
Of my jealousies."
Excerpt from "Panawagan habang bumabagyo," John Iremil E. Teodoro, What the water said: Alon Poems (University of San Agustin, Manila: 2004). Translation by Redster. The flamingo photo is from www.harunhaya.com, the Kilimanjaro pic is from www.diseno-art.com and the Australian drought image is from www.afrol.com.
posted by Redster @ 3:49 AM, ,
HABOOB! DISPATCH FROM SUDAN
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Yvette, a Filipina, is one of Cool The Planet!'s featured bloggers. From Port Sudan, she weighs in with something that may not entirely be familiar to most Filipinos. Read all about it (yes, that's one humongous sandstorm in the picture...)
HABOOB! DISPATCH FROM SUDAN
No, the clouds didn't fall from the sky; this is not cloud tsunami either. Haboob! This is haboob, sandstorm. It is dust and sand combined with strong winds, and once it hits it will definitely take over your carefully polished floor and sneak into those tiny slots in your neatly placed electronics if you forgot to close your windows and doors. Like a strong typhoon, the haboobwill give you zero visibility as you travel city streets in the midst of its attack.
After living for 11 months in this part of Sudan I have grown familiar with this giant. The only warning we get is the extreme heat prior to its arrival. Sometimes the sky just turns mocha and brings in the dust-laden wind in our midst.
I've heard claims that Khartoum has reached a high of 50 degrees Celsius, this year. I am not surprised there are times when going out of the building is like entering a hot oven. It's extremely hot and dry. The Sudanese say this year has been hotter than previous years; they too can't help but wonder. For us, well, there is no escaping the heat. The only option is to simply wait indoors the whole day, wait for the more friendly night sky, and hope for the arrival of winter.
Winter? In Sudan? Yes, there is winter; there's no snow but the cold winds do come. Many people here look forward to the last quarter of the year. October usually marks the start of the season, but it's already November and the cold winds seem to be evasive and somewhere else.
Abubakr, a Sudanese friend in his mid-twenties explained to me how it was during his teenage years: "I used to wear sweaters at this time of the year, my mother would give me two to be sure that I kept myself warm. Well, not anymore. My younger brothers haven't even experienced it. Too bad for them. I keep wondering why we don't have good cold weather anymore. I remember the draught, maybe its that, hmm I don't know."
We haven't lost hope, there are still a good number of days before the year reaches its end. We will see the spark of winter at some point and hopefully be allowed by sister haboob to rest.
Sudanese sandstorm photo by Yvette; group pic (Yvette's on the right most in stripes) by Marissa in NYC)
posted by Redster @ 11:05 PM, ,
~Coffee Break ~
COFFEE FROM ANIMAL POOP ~ The most expensive coffee, which was sold at $500 per pound, is Kapeng Alamid (Philippines) or Kopi Luwak (Indonesia). It is coffee made from coffee berries which have been eaten by and passed through the digestive tract of the Common Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) or musang as it is known in the Philippines. Plain and simple -- it's animal poop.
What's the connection between climate change and coffee? Check this out...
There I was, under a tent, trying to get a brief and much needed break from the scorching Wednesday morning sun, when Mr. (C)hunk himself, Jasper "Yes, direct" Inventor pulled me aside and requested if I can assist at the Greenpeace Solar Cafe in front of the Philippine Senate Building.
Petite moi?!? A BARISTA-MAMA for a day?!? This is a much funkier, "you rock" experience than being appointed Senate President! Umm... no offense-meant to the Senate... kanya-kanyang trip lang :-)
I was beyond excited! Not only will I be living my hush-hush dream job, the Greenpeace Solar Cafe is proof that renewable energy such as solar power is feasible. Without any fuss, I said yes and stood beside Star Power ambassador Angel Aquino who was my fellow barista-mama. We were given a brief introduction on how the Solar Cafe booth works. Energy from the sun is captured by the solar panels, which is then transferred to the batteries, which then passes through the inverter to control the surge of electricity before it goes to the appliance -- in this case the coffee maker.
Not minding the heat, Angel and I were happily serving coffee and pandesal to the Senate staff. With the help of Greenpeace volunteers, the Solar Cafe was able to serve more than 100 guests! One of our distinguished "customers" was Senate President Manny Villar, who preferred his kapeng Barako black -- no sugar, no cream.
After a demanding but very fulfilling morning, the team packed the Greenpeace Solar Cafe. Our next stop? A Greenpeace Solar Bar at Boracay! We wish... :-)
~ Coffee Break ~
KAPENG BARAKO 101 ~ Kapeng Barako or the Philippine Liberica is considered rare and exotic, grown only in 3 countries out of about 70 coffee producing countries in the world. It takes its name from the Tagalog word for wild boar because these creatures are rather fond of dining on the plant's leaves and berries.
Coffee Break Trivia courtesy of Philippine Herbal Medicine and BBC News. Photos courtesy of BBC News, Jes Aznar for Greenpeace and Mr. Shailendra-baba Yashwant.
posted by dyabayns @ 10:29 PM, ,
Friday, November 10, 2006
Have you ever visited the Senate at 1:30 in the morning?
It's the only way to describe it.
Thanks to tag-team, Nori "Who's your dadeh?!?" Tolibas and Jong "Ukay-Ukay Hustler" Baloloy, I caught myself several times double checking if the silhouette at the corner is but a shadow or the ghost of a late Senator. If it is the latter, may he or she rest in peace...
Our 1:30 am field-trip was during the eve of the "Climate in Crisis: Philippines in Crisis" exhibit launch at the Senate. We were in the final stage of setting up the exhibit, making sure that the photos are secured and won't flop in front of a visiting Senator.
It was so different from the organized-chaos that I experienced during the three-day political work with Jasper and Greenpeace staff and volunteers after the launch of the exhibit. We went room-to-room, badgering the senate staff day-after-day, playing "patintero"(Filipino version of the cat and mouse) with Senators and getting their commitment before they enter the session hall.
Out of 24 Senators, we've gathered 5 commitments for Pilipinas, Go Renewable!, namely from Senate President Manny Villar, Senator Eduardo Angara, Senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr., Senator Jamby Madrigal and Senator Francis Pangilinan. Like the rest of the team, I was hoping for more. But what do you expect when the 10-year pending Renewable Energy bill is not even in the priority list of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) for the 13th Congress?
Wake up people! Climate change is real and it is happening! If we go business-as-usual with our dependence on coal, climate change impacts will be worse especially for developing countries such as the Philippines. The time to embrace solutions such as renewable energy and energy efficiency is NOW!
Help wake up the Philippine government! Log on to http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/en/starpower/petition and sign the 10% by 2010 Petition. The Petition demands the Philippine government that by the year 2010, at east 10% of our energy must come from wind, solar power and modern biomass. Let's go 10% by 2010! Kaya natin ito!
Eerie photo courtesy of South Con Blog. Senate photos courtesy of Mr. Shailendra-baba Yashwant. Clean Energy Now logo courtesy of Fara Manuel and Miko Alino.
posted by dyabayns @ 7:18 PM, ,
On the way to the UN conference center today, there was a short protest by members of the youth summit who were holding placards asking delegates to think of their children. It's just about the right time to remind the conference of their obligations. Snags have come up, dirty negotiating tricks have begun, and country representatives have started to retreat to the usual cynical positions defined by sickening self-interest.
I also came across an interesting article in the Khaleej Times of Dubai, which reminded me of the post from CoolMyPlanet blogger Samir, who weighed in from Bangalore about the elements and Indian film and how for some time rain has been shaping images and narratives projected in countless theaters in India.
Rain has a lot to do in Indian cinema, Samir tells us. Rain hides tears, "it is the thin screen that hides love scenes, it accentuates the curves of the curvaceous heroine and generates steam around the panting hero." How true. Similar scenes have also been used in Philippine cinema using rain as a frame. I think this is because the very character of rain inserts its own narrative in any story.
In India, adds Samir, "rain is beyond science, our very social fabric revolves around rains. During periods of low rainfall farmers have had weddings for frogs, have married donkeys - all to please the rain gods." This is an interesting notion, applying human ceremonies on animals in order to plead for favorable weather patterns, the word 'favorable' having come to mean more and more the word 'predictable'. And more and more, climate chaos appears to be the offspring of human kind's marriage with greed and fossil fuels.
I wonder what Samir will say about the Khaleej Times article on rising sea levels devouring islands in the Sundarbans, which is supposed to be the world's largest estuarine Delta. What are the Sundarbans like? Rising seas certainly have a lot of implications on Philippine cinema, which has for so long used large parts of the tens of thousands of the country's discontinuous coastline as settings for countless movies.
I wonder what the effect will be if the world indeed does not wise up and we get more extreme torrential rains and rapidly diminishing coastlines?
Would it mean that tears will have more hiding places?
Would there be more or less love scenes in movies?
Would more curves be displayed?
And what will happen to the steaming, panting hero?
One thing for sure, there will be more weeping. On the left, by the way, is Greenpeace volunteer, top model and actress Angel Aquino in the Filipino movie Crying Ladies...
What do you think? Tell us your thoughts. We want to know...
posted by Redster @ 6:10 PM, ,
"Must you seize my world by storm?" -Daisy Chain, Cynthia Alexander (of the Philippines)
Indeed, the world of some Pinoy sportclimbers have been seized by a storm called Milenyo. (To Ala: that's what's up here). Just when I was about to resume climbing after months of hiatus due to a knee injury, my favorite indoor climbing gym closed shop. Super-typhoon Milenyo took the gym's roof away, taking with it the routine climbing life of the climbers. It's been over a month now since the unfortunate incident happened and the gym still has no roof. Can't demand for an immediate re-opening, though. Indoor climbing (or rockclimbing per se) is not that big here in the Philippines and I can only wonder how climbing gyms still survive.
And I wonder, too, how we will survive when climate change already brings the worst of its wrath. Climate change is happening right now, alright, and the gym incident made me think how unprepared we are for the impacts of climate change (an example of which is the super-typhoon Milenyo). Something as simple as re-roofing, our gym cannot even afford. Indeed, it is the developing countries which will be hit most by climate change and the sad thing is, we do not have the means to combat it. Will the government's calamity fund, meager as it already is, suffice? Filipino families should probably start having their own calamity fund, that is, if the budget could allow.
It is more than money talks, I believe. Our way of life will be (and is already being) affected by this issue. Just last week, another super-typhoon visited the country and it managed to spoil my beach getaway. I can't help but ask, "when will the erratic weather patterns end," not realizing that these erratic weather patterns are only part of what is in store for us when we continue to ignore climate change! It is just the beginning, friends!
We are climbing without shelter. Climbing, progressing to a future that we are unsure of. Having the gym's roof blown away is already a bummer, but losing my future, our future to climate change? Saying that it's just a bummer is an understatement.
posted by The No Show @ 1:02 PM, ,
Aspiring film maker and frustrated skateboarder Jennifer "Jed" Benitez shares her SolarGeneration Pilipinas experience during the launch of Greenpeace's Pilipinas, Go Renewable! at Apo Island, Dauin, Negros Occidental.
One of the perks of advocating in "saving the world," as a youth, with such a warped mind puffed up with hormones, views and provocation, it is important for me, for all of us, to have a voice.. empowerment... share in this sadistic world, a place to unearth the eternal search for purpose and meaning.
And in comes Solar Generation. SolarGen finds positive ways and means in promoting clean and renewable energy, amazing people advocating the usage of wind, solar power for a sustainable energy for the future. Basically, it is for a GOOD cause... and no, it's not about the money.
Thanks to SolarGen, and Albert, who took a chance in believing in me and my potential to take action in the installing a Solar Panel in the Apo Elementary School Library. Goes to show the effectiveness of the quote, one step for man; a giant leap for mankind. This proves that it takes little ways to make big changes. This is one of SolarGen's goals in highlighting the urgent need of remedies for Climate Change and Global Warming.
Not only did I have an instant vacation but I get to improve the kids' welfare and education, did the most awesome things like swimming with the fishies and I freakin' found Nemo!!! Freaked out a bit with the fact that I was inches to the precious corals...
Wait, there's still more haha.. went up to the old lighthouse and seeing that solar panels are being used there too and i get to meet and acquainted with hot celebrities like Angel Aquino and Juddha Paolo.. (He still owes us a pic..cool cam btw, Juddha... :)
Photos courtesy of Solar Generation Pilipinas.
posted by dyabayns @ 12:29 PM, ,