Last November 27 to 30, I took part in the Bohol Climate Walk 2015, a journey on foot from the city of Tagbilaran to the municipality of Anda and an activity that is in sync with many other walks from around the world. Part of the challenge was to answer the questions, What is climate change and how is this walk relevant in addressing it? My answers would probably reach the same distance as the miles we have covered, so I have here the A-Z guide to our advocacy and this special event in Bohol.
A – Anda. We, the Climate Walkers, chose the municipality of Anda because its distance from Tagbilaran closely covers the symbolic mark we want to achieve, which was close to a hundred kilometers. It doesn’t hurt that its beach, with long stretches of powdery white sand, was perfect for our feet that endured a seemingly endless hike.
|One of the few breaks during our first walk at night in Albur, 12 km from Tagbilaran.|
|Day 2 begins in Loay, 18 km from Tagbilaran.|
|Rest stop in Lila, 28 km from Tagbilaran.|
D – Distance. Whether the distance we covered is an Olympian feat or not, that we made it through kilometers of concrete, asphalt, and rough roads is a sign that our conviction to our advocacy is as strong as our bodies. “Mind over matter” truly shined.
|Last minute reminders in Dimiao.|
|Everyone's pumped up for the hike to Garcia Hernandez.|
|On our way to Valencia, 42 km from Tagbilaran.|
H – Hashtag. Today would be perfect chance to make good use of your social media. Check out these hashtags on Facebook to learn more about our advocacy: #boholclimatewalkers #boholclimatewalk2015 #cleanenergybohol #climatemarch #climatejustice and #climaterevolution
I – Idea. Everything starts with this. That is why the recently concluded Climate Change Conference in Paris, attended by most of the world’s leaders, was a landmark event where ideas to solve the consequences of an abused environment were shared. I is also for Invest. Although clean and alternative sources of energy are undeniably expensive at face value, the benefits we could reap from them outweighs every peso spent. Instead of banking our tax money (and our lives) on limited energy sources like coal and oil, it is high time that we invest in the sustainable solar and wind power.
J – Justice. Climate justice is an extension of basic human rights. This is a call for all powerful first-world countries to reduce their carbon emissions since countries that are defenseless and less fortunate, like the Philippines, are those that face the consequences of their neglectful acts.
|Day 3 begins in Garcia Hernandez, 53 kilometers from Tagbilaran.|
|Cool down in Jagna, 63 km from Tagbilaran.|
|Living on the edge.|
O – Organizations. The event was a success because of other organizations like the Bohol Outdoor Adventure Team and Bohol Goodwill Volunteers, Inc., and the private citizens who made the climate walk smooth and bearable.
|At the public park in Duero, 73 km from Tagbilaran.|
Q – Quality of life. This should be more than just about eating three meals in a day or having a comfortable bed to sleep at night. As responsible citizens, we should think and act on climate change today, not only for ourselves but also for the rest of humankind.
R – Reality. Climate change is not some future event that we must prevent. Unfortunately, it is already happening, and we must do our best to prevent it from worsening. There are deniers out there, so be careful what you read and hear.
S – Sustainability and solid waste management. The former speaks of a capacity to be productive for a long time. This term fits Bohol’s need for better energy sources because coal and fossil fuel do not last. The latter, on the other hand, refers to safe, efficient, and cost-wise disposal and recycling of our wastes. This has been circulated to the public again and again, yet most of us fail to implement this.
T – Tagbilaran City. This is where the walk began. At Plaza Rizal on November 27 at around 2PM, people from various walks of life converged to take the first step of the Bohol Climate Walk and to rally for a more livable Bohol.
|All set for the last push in Guindulman, 83 km from Tagbilaran.|
|The Climate Walkers found a pile of garbage along a major street in Valencia.|
W – Walking city. Tagbilaran City has the potential to become like Venice or Barcelona, where one can walk around the streets to revel in its rich history and rustic beauty. Upon learning about the walk, my mentor, the poet Marjorie Evasco said, “This is a good example of what one can do every day for the environment and health. Walk at least 30 minutes to an hour. Walking should become again our favorite mode of transportation.”
|Still standing tall in Anda after a long, long walk. 99 km covered.|
|With April, a participant and friend since college who is from Negros Island Region.|
|Packed and ready to return to Tagbilaran.|
|The Bohol Climate Walkers of 2015 with Coco Loco's Robin Gurney.|