By: Reyshimar Arguelles

THE water crisis in the capital and adjacent provinces can only be the result of a problem that’s growing worse over time. With at least P1.33 billion in crop damage caused by weak El Nino, people should begin tackling climate issues with the same vigor we exert whenever we go online to smash each other’s heads over politics.

Over the weekend, we celebrated Earth Hour, which is an annual global event meant to raise awareness about climate change and how its literally turning the planet into a microwave oven, due in part to excessive carbon emissions produced by humanity’s hunger for energy.

At least 180 countries took part in switching off their lights in a gesture that’s supposed to tell us it’s possible for communities to come together and address a deadly threat to humanity’s existence. Indeed, we have now entered what scientists call the Anthropocene era. We have reached a point of being able to alter the environment in ways never before possible. Our survival will depend on how we take the threat of irreversible climate damage seriously amid a sea of misinformation and outright ignorance demonstrated by people in power.

It’s not an easy battle to win, considering the amount of climate change deniers and big business groups out to derail any piece of eco-legislation. But it’s a battle that we can’t afford losing if it means preserving our species from a fate worse (and more realistic) than a zombie apocalypse. That being said, it has become more important than ever to draft laws that appropriately address the challenge of climate change, which has taken on social, cultural, and economic dimensions.

PR events that provide the illusion of action can only do so much as to tell people we have been acting like dicks to the environment for a very long time. What we need is radical action, and not dance battles, acoustic sessions, and other “feel good” activities that make you forget why you’re at an eco-event in the first place. But if it’s your way of welcoming the apocalypse, then fiddle away while everything slowly melts to the ground like candlewax.

Earth Hour could barely make a dent in our annual energy consumption. Even its official website says the event is not “an energy and carbon reduction exercise – it is a symbolic action.” Sure enough, real action doesn’t start with corporations that latch on to any social or environmental issue to bury their own crimes under humanitarian pretenses.

All this would describe the farce of using band aid to seal up a gunshot wound. Cauterizing the wound is the only choice we have, and this is exactly the reason we have US Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’ Green New Deal. Unfortunately, both sides of Congress thumbed down this set of reforms which sought a total shift towards renewable energy sources. The move was considered to be too radical even for Democrats, citing the long-term economic effects it entails in a country whose carbon emissions last year spiked to new highs, according to the Rhodium Group.

But there’s a silver lining to this, and it’s the fact that we can fight against ignorance by voting people who have something valuable and, at most, useful to say about the climate. And while the Green New Deal didn’t jibe at all with the agendas of US politicians, it’s still an essential way to keep the conversation going and remind that the bottom line, profitability, and all that corporate BS won’t matter when you’re scouring a wasteland of sand.

The Philippines is definitely a climate casualty on account of the weather extremes it has experienced recently. So, instead of killing off defenseless farmers in pointless anti-crime operations and letting the world’s number one producer of CO2 have its way in the water crisis, we should spend our resources in addressing climate change and mitigating its effects.

It all starts with the ballot.