I am 19-year-old Glory, from the Philippines, in my first year of college. I want to share my story to urge you all to take care of our environment, our Earth. We must act on the crisis of climate change.
I live on a small island of Tabugon, Carles with my family. It’s beautiful and peaceful, with fresh air, coral reefs, and fresh seafood. But it is changing.
Living on an island is very challenging. I really feel the impact of climate change. Since childhood, I’ve witnessed the challenges my family face, due to the connected issues of poverty and climate change. As local fisherfolk, my parent’s income and our lives depend on the sea.
Climate change has made the weather more and more unpredictable. At times we’ve not had enough to eat due to a low fish catch. Or my parents cannot afford to provide food or a school allowance.
At present, water is very scarce, so we need to cross another island to buy water, even though it’s very risky for us.
I feel so sad every time I witness senseless and uncaring people destroying our environment. It breaks my heart. It also breaks my heart when I see children in our community suffering from poverty, because their livelihood is so affected by climate change, just like my parents.
As a young person and concerned citizen of our community, I campaign to protect our ocean, like spreading the word for people not to throw their garbage or dump used motor oil in the sea. I also plant fruit trees and flowers in our yard.
My parents and other residents in our village are involved in environmental and coastal management, like mangrove planting and sea patrolling to keep away the illegal fishermen.
We still remember typhoon Haiyan. We were so scared of the strong winds. The roof of our house was blown off. We sheltered in our kitchen, but then strong winds blew the coconut trees onto our kitchen. We panicked and cried. We decided to evacuate to our church but we couldn’t go immediately because of the falling trees and other debris flying around.
We were able to evacuate despite the danger and cold, with trust in God. On the next day after the typhoon, we go back to our house but we were shocked that everything was destroyed. Even our clothes were blown away. We had nothing because we were not prepared. It was a depressing time for us on the island.
My message for the world is that, we need to be responsible. We have the wisdom to know what is right and what is wrong.
When I found out about Greta Thunberg, I realised how important it is for us young people to be involved in climate change. Especially for us who live on isolated islands and rely upon fishing. I feel angry at those who are abusing our natural resources.
Through the support of a local climate change organisation, ICODE, we are motivated as a community, to protect our coastlines and our environment. We are much more conscious now.
Glory P Dumaguin is a climate change activist and typhoon Haiyan survivor.
Glory’s island in the Philippines, is supported by Christian Aid and climate change partner ICODE. Christian Aid is calling upon world leaders to commit to stronger emissions cuts and provide financial support to climate vulnerable communities.
Image: Glory’s mother and father, plant mangroves to protect their island. Christian Aid/ A.Sheppey.