All About Mobilisation

Erin from the Philippines says ‘even for climate change’

‘It is so much easier to organize and mobilize young people who are active online, to share information with an audience who actively seek information … and to create content using the many free tools (social media, graphics, documents, etc.)’ — Erin Sinogba, National Delegate from The Philippines

Erin believes that our generation has all the advantages and opportunities to fight for climate change​. The reason is: We can easily bring people together. Built upon traditional ways of mobilizing people, young people nowadays have access to tools that allow them to connect with other young people and start their own initiatives at little to no cost. What are we waiting for?

ES: Erin Sinogba CK: Candy Ko (Youth Organising Committee, APS15)

CK: Erin, what are the reasons you think that cause climate change?

ES: ​Primarily, uncontrolled capitalism is the fundamental ​reason behind climate change. Capitalism drives high production and consumption, leading to the extraction and exploitation of our natural resources for production as well as wasteful consumption by humans, which causes enormous amounts of greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

CK: Why do you want to address climate change issues? What motivates you to make positive difference?

ES: ​The Philippines is among the top ten most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change, in spite of being responsible for among the least amount of greenhouse gas emissions. I have witnessed how these impacts have affected people first hand, and it is exacerbated by government incompetence, inefficiency, and corruption. It is an issue that affects everyone I know, so I feel it is imperative to get involved.

CK: What have you been doing since you decided to make a difference?

​ES: For climate change specifically, I attached to different environmental organizations and campaigns for the past few years. I am a volunteer with 350 Pilipinas, which is involved in different anti-coal and climate justice campaigns and organized Power Shift Pilipinas in March 2014. I was also with Redraw The Line, a climate change awareness and action campaign for youth; TIGRA (Transnational Institute for Grassroots Research and Action) Philippines, which developed a post-Haiyan women’s empowerment program for a community affected by Typhoon Haiyan and an environmental curriculum for Filipino youth in the diaspora. I was also part of the committee of 2015 International Association for Media and Communication Research New Directions for Climate Communication Research Fellowship. Other than that, I was proud to be with International Land Coalition Asia, which focuses on land rights, to help communities adapt to climate change.

CK: What is the angle for you to cut into the topic?

ES: In the Philippines, I can relate it to the impacts we experience, such as typhoons becoming stronger and bringing more rain and wind, typhoons affecting areas that have historically never been typhoon-prone before, increased flooding, and hotter days (especially during the dry season).

CK: I know that you are very strong in skills to raise awareness, share relevant information, and mobilize people to act in the fight against climate change. Can you share with us how every of us can do the same?

ES: ​We need to make an active effort to keep educating ourselves, whether at school, by reading different news sources (including alternative news), and by getting involved in our communities, especially among the most marginalized among us. We need to use that knowledge to educate others and to advocate for the communities’ needs. If there is something missing, we can work together to make it happen — no need to wait for someone else to do it! We can also make changes in our own lives, including how much we consume and waste.

CK: How about the governments?

ES: I totally agree that ​governments need to commit to a binding agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions, to adapt and encourage use of low carbon solutions such as renewable energy, and to better support communities to adapt to climate change impacts and ultimately be more resilient. I also believe that countries who are responsible for the most greenhouse gas emissions historically should bear the costs of supporting adaptation in the most vulnerable countries. Governments need to listen more to the voices of the most affected, instead of acting on their own or corporate interests.

CK: And other stakeholders?

​ES: Corporations need to change the way they do business — less exploitation of natural resources and workers, less profit-driven motives and actions that disregard social and environmental costs, more socially- and community- driven missions, more sustainable ways of developing products and services, more focus on benefiting local communities and using local resources.

Institutes (which I assume include universities, etc.) should approach education as a way to equip people with the skills to improve society, not just to get a job. Incorporating a social component, where students are taught to value their community and their environment, can lead to a more empowered generation of young people who are ready to transform their world.

CK: Thank you Erin!

More about Erin Sinogba

Erin received her BA in Anthropology and Global Development Studies, and she is currently pursuing a Master of Development Communication. Her undergraduate studies and involvement in cilmate activism gave her a framework to understand how poverty, inequality, and injustice contribute to environmental degradation at a global scale.