Children in the Philippines are leading action to reduce the impact of climate change and future natural disasters in their communities.
“We are doing coastal clean-ups and planting mangrove trees on the beach and will soon be helping our community manage the waste it produces,” says Louisa, 15, one of the climate change activists from Eastern Visayas in the Philippines that was badly hit by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
Climate change causes more disasters
Louisa is one of thousands of children in her country who are dealing with the effects of climate change which scientists believe is causing an increasing number of deadly typhoons. None have been deadlier than Typhoon Haiyan which claimed over 6,300 lives and displaced over 4 million people.
We do not want to suffer again, like we did during Typhoon Haiyan.
She says, “We experienced the typhoon in 2013 and now we fear losing our homes as the shore is slowly being eaten away by the sea. If we do not do something, we might be homeless in the future due to coastal erosion.”
Louisa and her friends decided to act after taking part in a number of environmental training sessions run by Plan International which put children at the centre of climate change adaptation in 6 municipalities in Western Samar, Eastern Samar and Leyte.
As well as planting trees and cleaning up beaches, they also lead information drives in different villages and schools to inform community members about the impact of climate change and what can be done to reduce its effects.
Louisa says, “We conduct climate change training for our parents, aunties, uncles and neighbours. We also train our fellow children and young people.”
With support from Plan International, the group recently secured funding from their local council to carry out their work after presenting their action plan to the council and showing how they would use the funding.
Passionate activists drive change
When asked why she is so passionate about this cause, Louisa says: “We cannot stop climate change, but we can do something to lessen its effects. Everyone, even children like us, has a role to play. We have chosen to take part and be part of the solution.
“Climate change is real. We are doing this because we are afraid of what will happen in the future. The effects of climate change can be seen and experienced in our community. We do not want to suffer again, like we did during Typhoon Haiyan.”