TACLOBAN CITY­—Student organization from Philippine Science High School-Eastern Visayas campus on Saturday led the “Earth Hour” activity here through a forum and video-making contest on climate change.

“We would like to encourage you, to commit to a contribution against climate change through your everyday actions, from pledges like promising to never leave the water open while brushing your teeth to bringing a shopping bag with you instead of using plastic in the grocery store,” said Raizsa Arielle Espina, president of the school’s student alliance during the official launching of their social media advocacy campaign “Mission ASCEND [Actions to Save the Changing Environment through Network Development]”.

“We believe that by creating a network of young dedicated individuals through our generation’s superpower: social media we can be catalysts towards a global movement that aims towards the protection of our environment through individual contributions,” she added.
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Espina, in her speech, said that by using social media “we can reach the farthest corners of the Earth to connect as one voice.”

“We are faced now with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. We call the youth of Eastern Visayas to use their voice. To use our voice to send a clear message to our global, national and local leaders that we should start transitioning to renewable energy and that we should start to create and live by a global policy on adaption and that we should make climate change a top government agenda,” said Ma. Alma Andrea Culibar, youth chairperson of Tingog Kabataan, the youth volunteer group of regional party-list group Tingog Sinirangan.

“Climate change threatens the entire world. Yet it also provides an opportunity to come together and forge a collective response to a global problem,” she added.

Meanwhile, Rey Garnace, campus director of Philippine Science High School in Palo, Leyte, urged the participants and the public to support the movement.

“We only have one home to live— Earth. Let us take care of our home,” he said, recalling how climate change created an impact to schools and students after Super Typhoon ‘Yolanda’ hit the region in November 2013.

According to Garnace, there is a need for local government units to establish permanent evacuation centers and not to use schools for the same purpose, saying it would disrupt classes and also incurred further damages.

His campus was credited for housing about 3,000 evacuees after the onslaught of Yolanda.

The storm, however, brought about P68-million damage in facilities and resources and P38 million in infrastructure in the school, Garnace said.

Other climate change advocates from Manila who joined in the forum were Shiela Castillo-Tiangco who spoke on climate change reality, Mark Santos on climate change adaptation, Chuck Baclagon on social media advocacy, and Jonathan Moses Jadloc on youth power against global warming.