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Simple adaptation measures to climate change

As we always say, how time flies! By midnight tomorrow, we will say goodbye to 2013 and to welcome 2014.

Twenty-thirteen was marked with two major and horrifying calamities in the Philippines – the earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.2, that struck Bohol on October 15, and super typhoon “Yolanda” on November 8, considered as one of the strongest storms that battered the Earth. In past years, several natural catastrophic events had also occurred in the country.

These calamities have resulted in billions of pesos in damage to properties, thousands of deaths, a good number of injuries and missing persons, and psychological trauma to many people. The devastation brought by typhoon Yolanda was so enormous, and the reconstruction and rehabilitation may take some time, because some of the affected areas have almost been wiped out. Badly hit areas were Leyte, Samar, Cebu, Negros, Panay, Masbate and Palawan islands.

The intensity of calamities, particularly typhoons, is increasing these days, a phenomenon that is being attributed to the changing climatic pattern of the earth, or popularly known as climate change. Experts say that this climate change will result, and in fact, has already resulted, in extreme weather conditions, and therefore, adaptation should be in place to make us resilient in worst situation it may bring.

There are several simple things that we can do to help mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change. For one, we need to check our lifestyle, particularly our consumption pattern, especially during this holiday season. We tend to use a large volume of energy because of the numerous Christmas decors we set up, and this is also the time of gatherings and reunions.

It is important to remember that the more we are using electricity, the more gas emissions we are contributing in the atmosphere, given that we are still primarily dependent on fossil-based and other non-renewable energy. It is therefore necessary to choose energy-efficient electric-based materials and equipment and avoid unnecessary use of electricity. The advent of modern technologies has also brought to many households various electrical appliances and equipment.

Motor vehicles are also identified as one major contributor of gas emission in the Philippines, particularly in Metro Manila and other urban centers. Whenever possible, it is advisable to use public transport and organize car pools instead of every individual driving his or her own car. Bike is also a very good alternative transport if our destination is not actually that far. How about walking if your destination is just a “walking distance,” if you have the stamina to do so?

The use of plastics and disposable containers and other materials is a common practice these days. Usually, these things account for the volume of wastes generated every day in urban centers. The simple “3 Rs” (Reduce, Recycle, Reuse) principle should be practiced at the household level to minimize garbage disposal. Eventually, accumulated garbage in dumpsites produces methane, which is known as one of the greenhouse gases that destroys the ozone layer. The destruction of the ozone layer is one primary contributing factor to the climate change phenomenon.

Food consumption is another issue that we need to consider, especially if we are heavy on meat, particularly the imported ones. A large-scale cattle ranching is known to cause deforestation in some countries. Animal wastes, if not properly disposed of, further emit greenhouse gas. The burning practices in agriculture are also hazardous to health and the environment.

There are still other simple ways that we can do to help in our little means to save the Earth. However, these simple measures, once collectively done, will surely result to a more positive impact. *

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