Environmental, science and business journalists, government communications officers and journalism students from across the country participated recently in “State of Play: Green Recovery and Sustainable Reporting”, a webinar mounted by the European Delegation to the Philippines to discuss issues and actions in dealing with climate change and environmental degradation.
The European Union is implementing a new growth strategy called the European Green Deal to build back better green policies, programs, investments, and commitment to green, digital and resilient recovery. The European Green Deal outlines an action plan to boost the efficient use of resources by moving to a clean, circular economy, restore biodiversity, and cut pollution to become a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.
Part of the EU’s agenda is helping other countries such as the Philippines, in sustainability efforts—from financing efforts to addressing climate change, to technology and research collaboration.
Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, in his videotaped address, thanked the EU for being a dependable partner in taking action against the climate crisis as the country shifts its investments to clean energy resources and green technologies.
“There is no Planet B. We either save the earth or perish with it,” Secretary Dominguez said. “There is no quick solution to the climate crisis. We need to act together now and the EU has helped us expand our sustainable energy generation capacity to meet our economy’s growing needs. We hope to learn more from the European Union’s technological innovations in water management and conservation, sustainable energy, and modern agriculture.”
He also said the world can address the climate emergency “with a better and more informed approach”.
“We have a wealth of information and innovative solutions on how to best deal with the climate crisis. We should be more prepared to save lives and prevent the worst possible outcomes,” he added.
Mr Thomas Wiersing, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, said that the EU is ready to continue its engagement with the Philippines in approaches to ensure environmentally sustainable economic activities. “The EU also supports the Philippines in making energy efficiency and conservation a national way of life,” he said.
The EU Delegation to the Philippines hosted the webinar to foster greater awareness among journalists about the effects of climate change and how the EU and the Philippines cope with these challenges.
“The EU recognizes that journalists play a critical role in creating awareness to help the public know how to act against climate change and governments to make informed decisions,” said Mr Wiersing.
The Philippine Network of Environmental Journalists (PNEJ) president Imelda Abano discussed the important role journalists play in solving the world’s environmental crisis in her talk “Reporting Beyond Disasters and Climate Change.”
“As journalists, we need to build increasingly compelling stories so we can act decisively, with urgency. It can save lives, formulate plans, change policy and empower people to make informed choices. We can push our governments to do more by writing solution-oriented stories,” shared Abano.
For his talk “Climate Change Disinformation,” Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Manny Mogato advocated for fact-checking and accuracy in news reports to counter rampant disinformation in environment reportage.
“In the Philippines, false information easily spreads because Filipinos rely on social media platforms to get information. As journalists, we cannot allow disinformation to win. We have to fight back by becoming more accurate, fair, impartial, and transparent, and we can achieve this with available tools we have at our disposal,” he said. Other speakers included Finance Assistant Secretary Paola Alvarez, GA Circular‘s Head of Operations, Mr Tam Nguyen; Director Republic Cement’s Ecoloop Atty Angela Edralin-Valencia; EU Delegation to the Philippines’ Programme Manager Mr Giovanni Serritella and International Relations Officer for Southeast Asia, DG Environment, European Commission Ms Katarina Grgas Brus.