AFTER completing a 38 day walk spanning 1,000 kilometers last year from Manila to Tacloban, former Philippine Climate Change envoy Yeb Sano is leading a civil society-led crusade to bring the world’s attention to the global impact of climate change.
Sano, a member of the aksyon/2015 initiative which seeks to mobilize individuals, organizations, social movements and other stakeholders to fight for justice, equality and peace on the occasion of the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals by September and a new climate treaty by December 2015, was joined yesterday by people of faith in what is called The People’s Pilgrimage.
The project involves a network of individuals who set off on long and short walks to places at risk, sites that cause man made climate change like coal mines, oil pipelines, supporting and inspiring communities to fight back against the threat of fossil fuels and environmental degradation.
Sano kicked off The People’s Pilgrimage in his home town of Tacloban, considered the ground zero of super typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) together with people of faith who want to drum up awareness about climate change and its devastating impact.
Through the social media platform twitter, Sano gave live updates on the status of the pilgrimage, starting with the remnants of a ship that was washed ashore by Yolanda, receiving blessings for the journey, and milestones in their pilgrimage like the crossing of the San Juanico Bridge receipt of letters to world leaders by victims of Yolanda which will be delivered by Sano himself to the UN Climate Talks in Paris later this year at the end of his journey.
Sano also shared images of the group and maps of their progress, which he occasionally alternates with photos of devastation – homes destroyed by the super typhoon, which reminded the world how climate change caused the death of thousands and resulted in the loss of billions worth of property and livelihood.
“We leave Tacloban with hope in our hearts and carry the voices of the people as we walk to Paris,” he said.
OurVoices, a non-profit organization focused on climate change, explained that the mobilization of individuals through the People’s Pilgrimage matter in making world leaders know just how important the issue is.
“Pilgrims are taking both long and short journeys – anything from a few steps if they find walking difficult, to a few miles, to across continents. They are travelling on foot and by bike. What matters is that by sharing our hopes and fears, we’re lifting up one powerful voice as to why climate matters, and the need to act this year. What matters is that by sharing our hopes and fears, we’re lifting up one powerful voice as to why climate matters, and the need to act this year,” the group stated.
“All of these journeys will be part of the People’s Pilgrimages and will be shared online through a special map-based storytelling platform that will show the incredible diversity of faith climate concern and action around the world. Every step counts. Our aim is for the total number of steps taken to represent a walk at least once around the world, let’s show our leaders how small and precious our planet is,” it added.