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Location Philippines, Asia

The Philippines ( (listen); Filipino: Pilipinas), officially the Republic of the Philippines (Filipino: Republika ng Pilipinas), is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. It is situated in the western Pacific Ocean and consists of around 7,641 islands that are broadly categorized under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The Philippines is bounded by the South China Sea to the west, the Philippine Sea to the east, and the Celebes Sea to the southwest. It shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Japan to the northeast, Palau to the east and southeast, Indonesia to the south, Malaysia to the southwest, Vietnam to the west, and China to the northwest. The Philippines covers an area of 300,000 km2 (120,000 sq mi) and, as of 2021, it had a population of around 109 million people, making it the world's thirteenth-most populous country. The Philippines has diverse ethnicities and cultures throughout its islands. Manila is the country's capital, while the largest city is Quezon City; both lie within the urban area of Metro Manila.

Negritos, some of the archipelago's earliest inhabitants, were followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples. Adoption of animism, Hinduism and Islam established island-kingdoms called Kedatuan, Rajahnates, and Sultanates. The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer leading a fleet for Spain, marked the beginning of Spanish colonization. In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Philip II of Spain. Spanish settlement through Mexico, beginning in 1565, led to the Philippines becoming part of the Spanish Empire for more than 300 years. During this time, Catholicism became the dominant religion, and Manila became the western hub of trans-Pacific trade. In 1896, the Philippine Revolution began, which then became entwined with the 1898 Spanish–American War. Spain ceded the territory to the United States, while Filipino revolutionaries declared the First Philippine Republic. The ensuing Philippine–American War ended with the United States establishing control over the territory, which they maintained until the Japanese invasion of the islands during World War II. Following liberation, the Philippines became independent in 1946. Since then, the unitary sovereign state has often had a tumultuous experience with democracy, which included the overthrow of a decades-long dictatorship by a non-violent revolution.

Climate action[edit | edit source]

Activist groups associated with the climate movement have called for government action and have organized activities to raise public awareness on climate and related environmental, sociopolitical, and economic issues. Philippine activists have, for example, taken part in the global climate strike, joining demands for political leaders to urgently address the climate emergency.

Below are some protest actions and social movements associated with climate change in the Philippines.

  • In 2021, activists stood outside the Standard Chartered office to protest the bank's funding of the coal industry. Standard Chartered is the biggest funder of the coal industry in the Philippines.
  • As part of its policy advocacy, Greenpeace Philippines released an open letter in 2019 urging President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a climate change emergency to make climate change and its impacts a top government priority.
  • The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines issued a pastoral letter in 2019 instructing dioceses to make caring for the environment a special concern in the face of the climate emergency.
  • Fisherfolk organization Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) protested in Mendiola in 2020 to urge the Philippine government to address the impacts of climate change on fisherfolk. The group also called for an end to reclamation projects to preserve the marine ecosystem and protect millions of people from flooding and dislocation.
  • Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment joined the 2015 International Human Rights Day protests to raise concern over the plight of climate refugees.
  • Peasants, fisherfolk, Indigenous peoples, and other grassroots communities organized various protests in 2015 calling on government to end large-scale mining projects and address the root causes of the climate crisis.

Mitigation and adaptation[edit | edit source]

Renewable energy in the Philippines is being expanded including with offshore wind power. A Pulse Asia survey conducted in 2018 revealed that 97% of energy consumers in Metro Manila favor the utilization of renewable energy. The government is making an adaptation plan.

Mangrove forests has proved to be an efficient and environmentally friendly solution to mitigate the effects of coastal hazards. Extensive mangrove rehabilitation projects has been undertaken in the Philippines.

Recognizing the Philippines’ considerable disaster risk, there is considerable need for disaster risk reduction and preparedness as well as humanitarian relief efforts. The Philippines institutionalizes the humanitarian cluster approach, and it plans and administers disaster relief through its National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). NDRRMC also oversees the 18 regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Councils (LDRRMCs), which in turn supervise disaster risk reduction and management operations at the provincial, city, and barangay levels (barangay is the lowest level of government, similar to the "village" level.)

Climate change in the Philippines[edit | edit source]

Climate change in the Philippines is having serious impacts such as increased frequency and severity of natural disasters, sea level rise, extreme rainfall, resource shortages, and environmental degradation. All of these impacts together have greatly affected the Philippines' agriculture, water, infrastructure, human health, and coastal ecosystems and they are projected to continue having devastating damages to the economy and society of the Philippines.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. The archipelago of 7,109 islands is situated along the Pacific Ocean's typhoon belt, leaving the country vulnerable to an average of 20 typhoons every year, five of which are destructive. Most recent of these typhoons occurred in the Cebu region of the Philippines in December 2021. Known colloquially as Typhoon Odette, Typhoon Odette caused around a billion dollars (₱51.8 billion) in infrastructure and agricultural damages and displaced about 630,000 people. The United Nations estimated that Typhoon Odette impacted the livelihoods of 13 million people- destroying their homes and leaving them without adequate food or water supplies. More tragically, the physical and economic repercussions of Typhoon Odette led to the death of over 400 people as of December 2021.

In addition to the Philippines' close proximity to the Pacific Ocean's typhoon belt, the Philippines is also located within the “Pacific Ring of Fire" which makes the country prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Compounding these issues, the impacts of climate change, such as accelerated sea level rise, exacerbate the state's high susceptibility to natural disasters, like flooding and landslides. Aside from geography, climate change impacts regions with a history of colonization more intensely than regions without a history of colonization. Colonized regions experience the repercussions of climate change most jarringly "because of their high dependence on natural resources, their geographical and climatic conditions and their limited capacity to effectively adapt to a changing climate." Since low-income countries have a history of colonialism and resource exploitation, their environment lacks the diversity necessary to prevail against natural disasters. A lack of biodiversity reduces the resilience of a specific region- leaving them more susceptible to natural disasters and the effects of climate change. With its history of Spanish colonization, the Philippines is not environmentally nor economically equipped to overcome issues it is currently dealing with- such as natural disasters and climate change. This inability to recover exacerbates the problem, creating a cycle of environmental and economic devastation in the country.

Biodiversity[edit | edit source]

The wildlife of the Philippines includes a significant number of endemic plant and animal species. The country's surrounding waters reportedly have the highest level of marine biodiversity in the world. The Philippines is considered one of the seventeen megadiverse countries as well as global biodiversity hotspot. In the 2000 Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), 418 of the country's 52,177 species were listed as threatened.

The Philippines has among the highest rates of discovery in the world with sixteen new species of mammals discovered in the last ten years. Because of this, the rate of endemism for the Philippines has risen and likely will continue to rise.

Coastal community activism[edit | edit source]

Marine Conservation Philippines
Authors: Matt Jarvis, Oct 30, 2015

Marine Conservation Philippines, registered non-governmental organization dedicated to preserving and protecting coastal resources in the Philippines through education, volunteerism and research. The organization engage local communities and policy makers and work to ensure solutions that will benefit both man and nature in the long run. added 20:38, 3 November 2021 (UTC)

The Philippines's surrounding waters reportedly have the highest level of marine biodiversity in the world. W

Food activism[edit | edit source]

Solar cooking resources in Philippines

Sharing[edit | edit source]

Community members practicing "bayanihan", working together to move a house to new location.

Bayanihan (IPA: [ˌbajɐˈnihan]) is a Filipino term taken from the word bayan, referring to a nation, country, town or community. The whole term bayanihan refers to a spirit of communal unity or effort to achieve a particular objective. It is focused on doing things as a group as it relates to one's community.

The origin of the term bayanihan can be traced from a common tradition in Philippine towns where community members volunteer to help a family move to a new place by volunteering to transport the house to a specific location. The process, which is the classic illustration of the term, involves literally carrying the house to its new location. This is done by putting bamboo poles forming a strong frame to lift the stilts from the ground and carrying the whole house with the men positioned at the ends of each pole. The tradition also features a small fiesta hosted by the family to express gratitude to the volunteers.

In society, bayanihan has been adopted as a term to refer to a local civil effort to resolve national issues. One of the first groups to use the term is the Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company which travels to countries to perform traditional folk dances of the country with the objective of promoting Philippine culture. The concept is related to damayán ("to help one another").

In computing, the term bayanihan has evolved into many meanings and incorporated as codenames to projects that depict the spirit of cooperative effort involving a community of members. An example of these projects is the Bayanihan Linux project which is a Philippines-based desktop-focused Linux distribution.

In ethnic newspapers, Bayanihan News is the name of community newspaper for the Philippine community in Australia. It is in English and in Filipino with regular news and articles on Philippine current events and history. It was established in October 1998 in Sydney, Australia. W

Sustainable transport activism[edit | edit source]

An E-Jeepney cruises down Ayala Avenue in Makati City, Philippines. Photo by Rap Rios/ Greenpeace

The Electric Jeepney (E-Jeepney) is a recent development in the Philippines that provides a sustainable, clean form of public transportation.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Networks and sustainability initiatives[edit | edit source]

News and comment[edit | edit source]

2021

  • Gen Z on how to save the world: young climate activists speak out, The Guardian (Oct 17, 2021) — Features activists from Philippines, Australia, India, United States, Uganda, Pakistan, Peru, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Kenya and Canada

2020

Philippines declares moratorium on new coal power plants, Oct 28 [1]

2018

Why the world is looking to the Philippines for climate justice, Feb 22 [2]

2017

6 Filipinas fighting for climate justice, Mar 8 [3]

2015

For the first time fossil fuel companies face national human rights complaint on climate change, September 22 [4]

2014

Manila building 100,000 three-wheeled electric taxis, July 30 [5]

2010

1076 cities and municipalities turned their lights off during Earth Hour in the Philippines,[6] April 6

2009

Philippines: Helping flood victims through social media,[7] September 28. Social networking sites and services like Facebook and Twitter were also flooded with news accounts, reports, photos and videos of Ondoy's aftermath. The stream of information soon became a "hub" for coordinating rescue and relief efforts for those who had access to the internet.

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External links[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia: Philippines

References[edit | edit source]

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Authors Phil Green
Published 2008
License CC-BY-SA-4.0
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