To: PM Stephen Harper and The Conservative Government of Canada

STOP THE DESTRUCTION IN THE PHILIPPINES FROM BECOMING THE NEW NORMAL

STOP THE DESTRUCTION IN THE PHILIPPINES FROM BECOMING THE NEW NORMAL

Commit to a bold plan to combat climate change; including a transition to a clean energy economy, adequate funding for developing countries adapting to climate impacts and immigration policies that reflect our responsibility to welcome those displaced by climate change.

Why is this important?

By now you have likely seen the photos of the devastation currently unfolding in the Philippines. I was born in Bato, Leyte, the island featured in most of these photos. Although it was a kakha tukȃ (scratch-and-eat) existence, my childhood years were absolutely carefree. Nanay (grandmother) made sure of it. Many times she could not earn enough to prepare a meal, she would simply add water and salt to gabi (taro) uprooted in the backyard, boil it and we had soup! Or my sister and I would meet her at the beach after school where we’d pluck oysters off the rocks and eat them with boiled corn grits. It was actually fun and yes, raw seafood was still safe.

Nanay also made sure we were safe during disasters. The last typhoon I remember with her was taking shelter under a table singing out `Santa Maria, Inahan ka sa Dios...` at the top of our lungs. A coconut tree had fallen, splitting the house into two and there was water everywhere. The flood waters kept on rising so I was put on my tiyo’s back and he swam us to safety in a neighbour’s two-story house.

As I see the images on television I imagine how many nanays, mamas, tatays and tiyos there must have been trying and failing, to save their children and grandchildren. My heart breaks trying to imagine their pain. Estimates are that over 10,000 people have been killed and millions have been left homeless by what is being called the strongest storm ever recorded. [1]

48 hours ago, Filipino diplomat and scientist Yeb Sano was in tears as he announced he would go on a hunger strike at the UN Negotiations on climate change. "We must stop calling events like these natural disasters," he told the UN. "It is not natural when science already tells us that global warming will induce more intense storms. It is not natural when the human species has already profoundly changed the climate." Sano is refusing to eat until world leaders at these negotiations make meaningful progress towards an agreement. [2] Unfortunately, Canada’s government is an obstacle to this demand.

Canada's per capita greenhouse gas emissions are among the world's highest. At the last climate negotiations, Canada was pinpointed as the “worst country at the negotiations, showing no shame or regret for undermining the Kyoto Agreement," the one pact between the world’s nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. [3]

In recent years the Philippines has become the largest source of new migrants to Canada (many on various temporary visas). [4] The voices of Filipino Canadians have never been as powerful or important as they are in this very moment. If enough of us pressure the Canadian Government to do what is morally responsible, this country could become a world leader in forging global climate solutions.

SOURCES:

[1] "Is climate change to blame for Typhoon Haiyan?" The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/12/typhoon-haiyan-climate-change-blame-philippines

[2] “It’s time to stop this madness” – Philippines plea at UN climate talks http://www.rtcc.org/2013/11/11/its-time-to-stop-this-madness-philippines-plea-at-un-climate-talks/

[3] The Daily Deconstructor, Canada wins its sixth “Colossal Fossil” award at UN Climate Conference, http://kloshemowich.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/canada-wins-its-sixth-colossal-fossil-award-at-un-climate-conference/

[4] Philippines was Canada’s greatest source of immigrants in 2012
http://o.canada.com/news/philippines-was-canadas-greatest-source-of-immigrants-in-2012/


Reasons for signing

  • It may not hit us this bad at first, but just wait...
  • It is difficult not to see what is happening. We just need more people that care.
  • With increasing environmental catastrophes worldwide attacking with ever more regularity over the last couple of years, from Hurricane Katrina in the US to Typhoon Haiyan that has just hit the Phillipines just as climate scientists have predicted public officials would have to be willfully ignorant not to realize that something is going on.

Updates

2013-11-14 13:26:53 -0500

500 signatures reached

2013-11-13 17:29:40 -0500

100 signatures reached

2013-11-13 16:37:24 -0500

50 signatures reached

2013-11-13 16:19:47 -0500

25 signatures reached

2013-11-13 15:55:52 -0500

10 signatures reached