Before interning with the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice or PMCJ, I wouldn’t think much of issues like “Climate Change”, “Global Warming”, or even “Climate Justice”. I knew that the Earth and our environment was important. After all, as an Economics student, I know very well our resources and markets depend heavily on what we can get from the planet. And as inspiring as what some people might say about doing “Your part to keep mother earth alive,” the awful truth is that issues as big as these are inevitable. Recycling and following the CLAYGO rule won’t do much to stop the carbon emissions and greenhouse gases from heating up the Earth. There wouldn’t be a difference if I tried. So why bother with things such as “Climate Justice” anyway.
Then after weeks upon weeks of research at the PMCJ, I realized something. Climate Justice isn’t just justice for the climate. It isn’t justice for the clouds, or weather, or even mother Earth as I had initially believed it to be. Climate Justice is also justice for people. Justice for human beings. For Filipinos such as those were victimized by Supertyphoon Yolanda. They want justice too. But we can’t sue Mother Earth for killing thousands. We can’t tell her to stop heating up. We can’t stop all these natural disasters that bring death and destruction to the Philippines and the rest of the world. We just can’t. But we can stop the people who are provoking mother earth into doing just that.
This is why we lobby, file cases, pass bills, and create solutions to fight –not Mother Earth- but the people destroying it. It’s hard to care for a tree, a plant, a rock, a river. But it is easy enough to see why we should care when we attach faces of people, fellow Filipinos even, who have lost everything because of the reckless practices of these uncaring companies, organizations, and even countries, who we know are responsible for producing a majority of the carbon emissions (and other pollutants) on earth.
It would be pointless to try and fight something you can’t control. But it makes all the difference when you stand up to those behind the smoke-belching beasts and have them take responsibility for what they have done and what they will do.
This internship was valuable for me, not just because of the work experience, but more importantly for the journey it took me on to finally realize why we need to fight for Climate Justice. After all, Justice starts with just us.
Samantha Louise S. Nepomuceno
II-BS Business Economics