It’s just August but I felt the urge to sing Christmas carols while stuck in traffic last night. Late in the afternoon there was a heavy downpour. The major highway going to our house was flooded and vehicles (particularly small cars) were unable to cross. When the rain stopped, everyone was agitated to go home and was faced with the heavy traffic and minimal public transport. It was a total chaos. There was a diaspora of commuters beside the main highway, desperate to get home. Couples, laborers, working girls, students, you name it, they were there. And Christmas songs seem to be the best song to comfort their souls.
I was fortunate enough to hitched a ride with a neighbor. Being stuck already for two hours in a jeepney, fell asleep, woke up again. It was heaven when I saw his 4×4. It took us another 3 hours before arriving in our subdivision. Traffic jam was hell.
On a heavier note, I just came from a workshop earlier that day, it was on engendering climate justice. Talking about climate change and actually experiencing how existing developmental problems are exacerbated by it i.e. flooding due to nonfunctional sewerage systems and adverse weather events. Makes you wonder if our local and national government are really sincere in mitigating disasters or at least try to manage it.
Climate change is an irreversible effects of our addiction to carbon-intensive technologies. It is noble to say that each and everyone of us, in one way or another have contributed to this global crisis. But in a justice perspective, perpetrators are identified as Annex I countries or developed countries with big carbon-intensive industries. Non-Annex I countries such as the Philippines are rights-holders, who have little or minimal contribution to global warming.
But who suffers the most? It is us from the Global South. It us from least developed and developing countries who suffer the consequences of climate change.
It does not help that existing political systems lack the will to actually combat climate change. It is frustrating that environmental governance in the international, regional and national levels lack the urgency to act upon the issue in an equitable manner. It is enraging to realize that existing mechanisms framed to mitigate and adapt to climate change are offsetting tools and money-centered (Abba singing money, money, money). And it is depressing to think that the most vulnerable and the most impacted are those who did little about the problem.
It’s heavily raining again outside while I’m typing this. I hope that I won’t have the need to sing Christmas carols.