Fiberglass Bancas Increase Supplies, Jobs, Forest Life

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Keeping Hope Afloat (Toni Munar & WWF)

Press Update:

The waves that once roared and ripped into the coastal community of New Washington, Aklan are calm today. Before daybreak, small-scale fishers boldly cast their nets into the very waters they used to fear.

New Washington is among the localities that suffered the brunt of typhoon Haiyan, the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded. Haiyan claimed 7200 lives, displaced millions of families, and left economic damage worth PHP 500 Billion. The storm also destroyed the wooden bancas of about 146,700 small-scale fishers.

Erma Repedro and her family survived the Category-5 storm but her husband continued heading out to sea using his damaged boat – braving unpredictable and sometimes turbulent waters.

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Jeepney and Payment System Modernized

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IMG_9822

IMG_9764In a launch held at the Subic Bay Freeport, Taiwanese TECO Group and Ropali motorcycle joint venture, ROTECO, presented the latest environmental friendly electric vehicle, the E-Jeepney & E-Trike, along with an easy to use smart payment and fleet management system created by Intelligent Transportation Solution (ITS).

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Paseo Center is the 3,000th Branch of Anytime Fitness 24-hour Global Gym

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SAM_9837There simply is no excuse to not work out because the gym is open 24 hours at Anytime Fitness.  As soon as you wake up, you can go straight  to the gym before heading to work, or if you can’t sleep at night you can tire yourself out with  a simple routine.  So it’s not about having no time to work out.  Accessibility?  That’s the great part, there will be branches near  you and wherever you go, you have access to all branches of Anytime Fitness branches as a bonafide member.  Expense is certainly SAM_9831not an excuse either as you only pay a monthly fee not over P3,000.    So what other excuse can you possibly have for not working out and getting fit and healthy?  Lazy?  Then you just have to motive yourself with th12249945_10153348911727956_8823511865823475621_nat sexy dress and a swimsuit body poster as a target.  C’mon, time to work out.  You will feel a lot better after, guaranteed.

12274450_10153348911687956_7408208964444983793_nComplement your work out with a juju snack of pineapple juice and salad or cold brewed coffee with a mexican burrito. More

Climate Actions After Paris Point to Clean-Energy Transition, End Fossil Fuel Era

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El Nino Drought Effects by Gregg Yan, WWF

El Nino Drought Effects by Gregg Yan, WWF

Press Update:

“We are living in a historic moment. We are seeing the start of a global transition towards renewable energy. At the same time, we’re already witnessing irreversible impacts of climate change. The talks and surrounding commitments send a strong signal to everyone – the fossil fuel era is coming to an end. As climate impacts worsen around the world, we need seize on the current momentum and usher in a new era of cooperative action from all countries and all levels of society,” shares Samantha Smith, leader of WWF’s global climate and energy initiative.

After two weeks of negotiations, governments reached an agreement that must urgently be strengthened and complemented with accelerated action in the near-term. While world governments finalized a global agreement last December 12 in Paris that lays the foundation for long-term efforts to fight climate change, more effort is still needed to secure a path that would limit warming to 1.5C. This new agreement should be continuously strengthened and governments will need to go back home and deliver actions at all levels to close the emissions gap, resource the energy transition and protect the most vulnerable.

More than 180 countries presented their national  pledges on climate action. With impassioned speeches from more than 150 heads of state and governments and unprecedented mobilizations around the world that included hundreds of thousands of citizens demanding action on climate change, progress was in the air.

The Paris talks also produced commitments from governments, cities and business that signaled that the world is ready for a clean-energy transition.  The finance for adaptation, loss and damage and scaled up emission reductions should be the first order of work after Paris.

“The Paris agreement is an important milestone. We made progress here, but the job is not done. We must work back home to strengthen the national actions triggered by this agreement. We need to secure faster delivery of new cooperative efforts from governments, cities, businesses and citizens to make deeper emissions cuts, resource the energy transition in developing economies and protect the poor and most vulnerable. Countries must then come back next year with an aim to rapidly implement and strengthen the commitments made here,” explains Tasneem Essop, head of WWF delegation to the UN climate talks

“The climate talks in Paris did more than produce an agreement – this moment has galvanized the global community toward large-scale collaborative action to deal with the climate problem. At the same time that a new climate deal was being agreed, more than 1,000 cities committed to 100 per cent renewable energy, an ambitious plan emerged from Africa to develop renewable energy sources by 2020, and India launched the International Solar Alliance, which includes more than 100 countries to simultaneously address energy access and climate change. These are exactly the kind of cooperative actions we need to quickly develop to complement the Paris agreement,” added Yolanda Kakabadse, president of WWF-International.

The Paris agreement needed to be fair, ambitious and transformational. Results in these key areas for WWF were mixed:

  • Create a plan to close the ambition gap, including finance and other support to accelerate action now and beyond 2020
    • The agreeement includes some of the elements of an ambition mechanism such as 5 year cycles, periodic global stock-takes for emission reduction actions, finance and adaptation, and global moments that create the opportunity for governments to enhance their actions. However, the ambition and urgency of delivering climate action is not strong enough and will essentially be dependent on governments to take fast and increased action, and non-state actors, including cities, the private sector and citizens, to continue ambitious cooperative actions and to press governments to do more.
  • Deliver support to vulnerable countries to limit climate impacts and address unavoidable damage.
    • The inclusion of a Global Goal on Adaptation as well as separate and explicit recognition for Loss and Damage are important achievements in the agreement. This goes a long way in raising the profile and importance of addressing the protection of those vulnerable to climate change. The Agreement, however, does not go far enough in securing the support necessary for the protection of the poor and vulnerable.
  • Establish a clear long-term 2050 goal to move away from fossil fuels and to renewable energy and sustainable land use.
    • By including a long-term temperature goal of well below 2C of warming and a reference to a 1.5C goal, the agreement sends a strong signal that governments are committed to being in line with science. In addition the recognition of the emissions gap and the inclusion of a quantified 2030 gigatonne goal should serve as a basis for the revision of national pledges ahead of 2020.
  • The agreement sets 2018 as a critical global moment for countries to come back to the table and take stock of their current efforts in relation to this global goal and this should result in stronger and enhanced actions on emission reductions, finance and adaptation.
  • The Paris agreement made good progress by recognizing, in a unique article, that all countries must act to halt deforestation and degradation and improve land management. The agreement also included a process that can provide guidance for land sector accounting. Adequate and predictable financial support for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation could have been stronger.

More Wind Farms, Perez Passes on Dreams to WWF New Chair Montinola

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WWF-Philippines Board Chair Aurelio Montinola III (WWF-Philippines)Press Update:

Top-ranked banker Aurelio ‘Gigi’ Montinola III stepped-up as the new Chair of the WWF-Philippines Board. Montinola is the former President and CEO of the Bank of the Philippine Islands and chairs numerous organizations, including the Far Eastern University. He graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1973 and obtained a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1977.

Montinola was the first Filipino awardee of the highly-coveted Asian Banker’s Leadership Achievement award, regarded by bankers globally as the penultimate accolade for both the Asia-Pacific and Gulf regions. Montinola’s four decades of experience greatly enhances WWF’s ability to positive influence development and conservation in the Philippines.

Diversity is strength – and leaders of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have long been drawn from various sectors. Scientists, educators, businessmen and conservationists have all shared their unique expertise and leadership qualities to make WWF as dynamic and multi-faceted as it is today.

“Individually, we are but one drop – but collectively, we are an ocean. We must work as one to transform our country into a living space our children will appreciate,” shared Montinola during WWF Partners’ Night, an annual gathering of top WWF supporters in the Philippines.

WWF-Philippines Council Chairman Vincent Perez (WWF-Philippines)Former Energy Minister Vincent Pérez New WWF National Advisory Council Chair

After serving with distinction as WWF-Philippines Board Chair since 2008, former Philippine Energy Minister and Alternergy CEO Vincent Pérez has assumed the chairmanship of the WWF-Philippines National Advisory Council from prominent businessman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, who helped set-up and lead WWF-Philippines since its inception in 1996.

Pérez, a known renewable energy advocate, has served on the WWF-US National Council since 1995 and arranged numerous Debt-for-nature swaps. He was among the founders of WWF-Philippines and currently serves on the WWF International board of trustees – comprised of environmental leaders from across the globe.

“Though stepping down from the board, I still dream of more wind farms spinning clean energy,” mused Pérez. “I dream of forest plantations that grow sustainable lumber for our homes. I dream of more students committed to protecting our environment. There’s still so much to do – but through the leadership of Aurelio ‘Gigi’ Montinola, WWF and its valued partners in the Philippines will continue to catalyze these dreams into reality.”

If the Paris Conference on Climate Change Fails, Then What?

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It can never be stressed enough how the world is on a critical level when it comes to reaching the negative consequences Climate Change, and we are moving there faster than we think unless we actively do something about it soon.  As you read this, world leaders are meeting in Paris for COP-21 or the 21st Conference of Parties. This is a last-ditch effort to stop global temperatures from rising above 2-degrees Celsius, beyond which natural ecosystems like coral reefs, forests and arctic habitats might crash. Earth has already warmed by 1-degree since the 1800s. More alarming is how 13 of the 15 hottest recorded years occurred since 2000. Now what happens if the Paris talks fail and we breach the dreaded 2-degree mark? Below are specific and day to day examples of consequences gathered by  WWF that should make the  COP-21  matter to you:

Rice will be expensive – A warmer world will make it more difficult to grow crops and livestock, especially in a tropical country like the Philippines. Global temperatures have been relatively stable for the past 10,000 years – until people started burning long-buried fossil fuels like coal and oil to generate power. Heat can slow down photosynthesis, cause plant dehydration and prevent pollination. For every degree that night-time temperatures rise, rice yields can drop by 10%. Lower production means we’ll import more food, driving rice prices higher. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) forecasts a 32% to 37% jump in rice prices by 2050 – so enjoy unli rice while you still can.

Seafood will be scarce – Coral reefs cover just 1% of the ocean floor, yet host 25% of all known marine life. Since the ocean is a naturally stable ecosystem, corals have adapted to highly specific conditions. Climate change is making the ocean warmer, causing coral bleaching (stressing corals to the point where they expel the symbiotic algae which give them food and colour). Ocean acidification in turn makes it difficult for corals to absorb the calcium they need to build their skeletons. With current global warming rates, Earth’s coral reefs might die by 2050. With them go the foundation of the world’s marine fisheries. No reefs mean no coral reef fish – and less seafood for you and me.

There will be less drinking water – Water is the most important resource on Earth. Over 70% of the planet is covered in it, yet just 1% is potable. One in seven people can’t access safe drinking water. Climate change dramatically affects water distribution, either by showering regions with too much (like Typhoon Ondoy) or too little (like this year’s El Niño, predicted to be worse than the 1998 dry spell). Already Angat Dam in Bulacan, which supplies 98% of Metro Manila’s freshwater, is at a critical level. Water imbalances affect agriculture – too little will cause crops to wilt and wither, while too much can flood fields. It takes 5000 litres of fresh water to produce a kilogramme of rice. Due to intensified climate change effects, tomorrow’s water sources shall be rationed. Sound crazy? Think about this – a few generations ago, the idea of selling bottled water was, too!

We will have stronger storms and floods – The Philippines sits along the Pacific typhoon belt, absorbing around 20 storms yearly. Typhoons Ondoy, Sendong, Pepeng and Lando are but harbingers of what’s to come – which might be Monstorms like Yolanda – which took 6300 lives and wrought USD14 billion in damage. Though most typhoons are born in the Pacific Ocean, rising temperatures have heated up the West Philippine Sea enough that it also births storms. About PHP136.3B or 5% of the Philippine budget has already been allotted for climate change adaptation efforts – money better spent building schools and feeding hungry Pinoys. COP-21 might see the possible creation of a Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) to let major carbon emitters like China and America fund climate adaptation efforts for vulnerable nations like ours.

Many plants and animals will die out – One in six species might be pushed to extinction due to climate change, says WWF-UK chief climate change adviser Dr. Stephen Cornelius. To survive warming temperatures, plants and animals will need to be able to ‘move’ from warmer to colder areas at a rate of one kilometre yearly. Those that cannot migrate fast enough – corals, trees, fungi and even many animals – will die. WWF predicts that climate change can spur a mass extinction in the near future. What will be left are adaptable animals like flies, cockroaches, rats and mosquitoes. When plants and animals disappear, the benefits we derive from them will forever vanish.

Are those enough reasons to make us care and be more proactive about climate change?

In our own little way, we can make things happen collectively. First, we can talk more about climate change. Share this article. Make #COP-21 trend on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is leading a campaign called Tweet Your Leader to let negotiators know that we want a concrete plan for developed nations to reduce their emissions and help vulnerable countries like the Philippines adapt to stronger climate change effects.

WWF pushes for science-based solutions such as shifting to renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies. Halting deforestation will allow natural carbon sinks like trees and topsoil to store greenhouse gases and put the brakes on climate change. Practical climate adaptation strategies must be crafted and implemented to protect the world’s most vulnerable people and places. “We must act collectively and save our one and only home,” notes WWF-Philippines President & CEO Joel Palma. “Plan B will not suffice, simply because we have no Planet B.”

Through decisive action and proper preparation, we might just steer clear of the five scenarios above. COP-21 can be a cop-out – but it can also be the turning point, the moment when world leaders finally address the great challenge of our time.

Photos courtesy of Lory Tan and Gregg Yan