Loren B. Legarda: I love talking to nature

  Luo Yun was born into an intellectual family. Most of her parents and relatives worked in journalism, teachers, doctors and civil servants. Her great-grandfather was the first mayor of San Pablo, Laguna, and her grandfather was the first media personality in the Philippines.
  Before entering the government as a public official, Luo Yun hosted and produced two news programs in the 1990s that were popular in the Philippines and won numerous awards during her 20 years in the industry, including the Philippine Top Ten Outstanding Youth Award (ToY M ), the Outstanding Women in Service Award (TOWNS) and the Benigno Aquino Journalism Award for more than 30 awards.
  As a Senator for the past 30 years, Rowan has worked to improve the lives of ordinary Filipinos by advancing legislation in the areas of environmental protection, women’s rights, education and sustainability.
  Luo Yun has been re-elected to the Senate for three consecutive terms, and is the only woman to receive the most votes in two consecutive Senate races, and the only woman to become the Senate majority leader.
  Under the auspices of Rowan, the Philippine Congress drafted and passed landmark laws, including the Respect for the Elderly Act, revised in 2010, the Agriculture and Fisheries Reform Credit Act, the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act, the Women’s General Charter, and the Anti-Child Labour Act , Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, Tourism Act, Clean Air Act, Environmental Awareness Education Act, Renewable Energy Act, Solid Waste Management Act, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, Climate Change Act, and Amendments Expanding the People’s Survival Fund, Strengthening Basic Education Act and Universal Health Care Act, etc.
  With the worsening climate change and the increasing threat to the island nation of the Philippines, Luo Yun launched a basic education project on climate change, and also spontaneously shot a series of documentaries to let more general public understand the impact of climate change on daily life, and How to prepare for long-term adaptation. Luo Yun founded a “Greening the Philippines” program, planting 2 million trees on more than 500 hectares of land in different parts of the country. Luo Yun also initiated and organized the first Indigenous Culture Summit in the Philippines, calling on all sectors of society to respect the rights and interests of indigenous peoples, appreciate the culture of indigenous peoples, and learn more about the profound wisdom of indigenous peoples about nature. In 2013, the University of the Philippines awarded Luo Yun the title of Distinguished Alumni in recognition of her environmental and climate change efforts in the Philippines.
  Luo Yun also cooperates with the World Economic Forum in Davos, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and other institutions to continuously promote fair and just climate change response measures to climate-vulnerable countries including the Philippines on major international platforms . She and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction co-produced the documentary “Right Now”, calling on leaders and policymakers to increase their efforts and investment in disaster relief. At the Paris Climate Summit in November 2015, Rowan’s climate appeal and efforts were recognized by the United Nations as a Global Resilience Champion. France has awarded Rowan the Order of the Legion of Honor for her vocal advocacy on the impact of climate change on the world’s cultural heritage, as well as for her contribution to strengthening relations between France and the Philippines.
  At the same time, Luo Yun is the most loving mother in the eyes of her two sons. I would like to quote Mahatma Gandhi: “Happiness is when what you think, say and do is in harmony.”
  1. Can you share with us some stories about your childhood and family? For example, memorable experiences in childhood, did these experiences influence your career choices later on?
  I am very grateful to my parents, especially my late mother, Bessie Legarda, who instilled in me a love of culture and nature. When I was a child, this seed was planted in my heart, and then I entered these fields to work, more like a flower from a bud from a deeply buried seed. I often remember playing Kundiman on the piano as a child [Editor’s note: Kundiman (1
  Later I became a journalist and this seed of love for culture and nature began to flourish. I had the opportunity to travel around, touch Different cultures and ideas, and record them. Extensive contacts and exchanges with multiculturalism during this period have made me understand the surrounding environment more clearly, and gradually realize that our way of life is affecting the existence of human beings and other creatures 2. As a woman, what
  do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of gender at work? How do you balance career and family?
  Like other social issues, achieving gender equality and empowering women can only succeed with the joint efforts of all sectors of society. Empowering women should not be a battle of genders, but an effort to enable everyone to realize their full potential and realize their dreams, thereby driving the progress of society as a whole. In my work as both a legislator and a climate policy driver, I take gender issues very seriously. Women have always played an important role in all fields, and as the world faces unprecedented challenges, our presence and voice are even more needed. In addition to women’s empowerment in industries directly threatened by climate change, such as agriculture and tourism, women can also play greater leadership in advancing renewable energy.
  Research shows that empowering women and educating girls are just as fast and effective strategies for reducing emissions as things like solar and wind power. According to Unesco, educating girls could reduce emissions by 51.48 billion tons by 2050, one of the most powerful solutions to the climate crisis. And in the Climate Group’s Project Drawdown ranking of 100 mitigation options, girls’ education ranks 6th, even more effective than better-known solutions such as rooftop solar and electric vehicles [https : tories/2020-02-24/educating-girls-is-more-ffective-in-the-climateemergency-than-many-green-technologies/]. To do this, we need to bring more women together and use our innate resilience.
  3. Outside of work, what are your hobbies?
  I love growing vegetables, fruits, flowers, organic composting, recycling old bottles, refurbishing old furniture, etc. As long as I am in nature and have a dialogue with nature, I like it. Gradually, these hobbies entered my work and became part of the policies I advocated. I believe in the adage: what is personal is political, and what is political is also personal. A deep love for nature drives me to work even harder to give children and young generations a safer, more prosperous, and kinder future.
  4. Life is full of uncertainty, what is your biggest and most unexpected challenge so far? How did you stay the course?
  The biggest and most unexpected challenge facing society right now is the COVID-19 pandemic, and the same goes for me. But I’ve always been that “half full” attitude, optimistic by nature. So the challenge of the pandemic has provided countless opportunities for me to help others, learn new things, and further my advocacy work. For example, during the strictest lockdown in Manila last year [Editor’s note: Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is one of the cities with the longest lockdowns in the world, starting in March 2020 and continuing at different levels until November 2021. This interview has not been fully withdrawn. ], I run a weekly webinar called “Sharing Better Everyday” to discuss people’s lifestyles and community development, especially during the pandemic. We discuss a wide variety of topics, including sustainability, traditional cooking, innovation and more. So, instead of fearing uncertainties, we should see them as opportunities to become stronger and better.

  5. Do your dreams change at different ages? What has been the biggest motivator for you to keep going over the years?
  My childhood dream was to be an astronaut, to explore the mysteries of outer space and the universe. But as I grew up, it became more and more clear that there were enough problems right here on earth, right around me, for me to explore and solve. Lack of fairness, lack of justice, low efficiency, and unnecessary waste are all social and environmental problems that need to be solved urgently.
  When I see with my own eyes that families in the Philippines have benefited from the legislation that I have led to change their fortunes, that’s the biggest motivator. Through the free college education I funded, the student realizes his dream; supporting marginalized and disadvantaged groups with equal rights and equitable resources: many, many… these real people and things are a constant motivator and inspiration for me to make I went to seek more positive social change that would improve the lives of every single person in the Philippines.
  6. How to understand happiness? What is your ideal happiness?
  I would like to quote Mahatma Gandhi: “Happiness is when what you think, say and do is in harmony.”
  I have always said that civil service does not mean work to me because it is what I love and It’s my mission. A happy life should not be just about money, fame or power. My ideal of happiness is that through the law, advocacy, and programs I support as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, communities are actually improved and lives are actually better. If human beings continue to live self-righteously as the center of the universe, the future world is unimaginable. Nothing is more outrageous than this view.
  1. Could you please talk about how you started your environmental protection work? What motivated you to do environmental work?
  For environmental protection, while everyone and every sector has a role to play, the state must be the main defender of the environment. This is the main philosophy behind my driving key legislation for environmental and climate action, and the driving force behind my work.
  A career as a journalist has given me exposure to the irreversible problem of environmental degradation and the impact of climate change, while also learning what needs to be done to protect the planet. So, when I first ran for the Senate, environmental protection was at the top of my legislative agenda, and the first law I passed was Republic of the Philippines Act No. 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. .
  2. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge for the planet?
  The reality is that we are in the era of the extinction of millions of natural species, and over the next decade we will have to worry about food and water security. In order for the planet to achieve an orderly cycle, we must race against time. In fact, when the United Nations declared 2020 to 2030 the decade of ecosystem restoration, the market tweaks we have been accustomed to have not only ceased to work, but have pushed the planet to where it is today.
  3. What is the current focus of your environmental protection work? How do these priorities relate to people’s lives?
  The Ecological Solid Waste Management Law is a basic environmental law that, if fully and effectively implemented, will address health, hygiene, pollution, and more importantly, promote sustainability and resilience.
  4. What new environmental challenges will we face? Will we be warned?
  If human beings continue to live self-righteously as the center of the universe, the future world is unimaginable. There is nothing more outrageous than this view, we have to fight this so-called anthropocentrism and other manifestations of solipsism, such as discrimination and violence against women, a life that tramples on nature, no responsibility for the future Splurge on current thoughts etc. Today’s problems must be faced today, not left to future generations to solve. Our economy needs a long-term view, not the short-sighted consumerism that buys, buys, buys and throws at the moment without thinking about tomorrow.
  5. Can you share some of your unforgettable experiences working in the environment?
  As a legislator, the most gratifying moment must be seeing the real impact of my work on real life. It’s always heart-warming to see those landmark laws I’ve pushed for, like the Climate Change Act or the People’s Survival Fund Act, to actually help communities emanate stronger resilience and more ambitious climate action .
  I have often said that making and enacting environmental laws is just the beginning. Laws only have real meaning when they are enforced and turned into action. Some communities have opened field climate schools to better help local people cope with the hazards of climate change and protect their lives and livelihoods; some communities have used effective early warning systems to achieve zero casualties during deadly typhoons; Rebuild resilience, develop livelihoods and better manage watersheds, ecosystems and forests with the help of the People’s Survival Fund Act. These moments are unforgettable for me. What is even more unforgettable is that the community has established norms and even innovative innovations on the basis of existing laws. For example, they have spontaneously carried out waste management and proposed more sustainable and innovative solutions to plastic pollution. Such spontaneous and conscious changes have inspired and moved me. .
  To this day, I still insist on advocating more powerful and effective policies and financial measures to obtain more resources and win more vitality in the increasingly severe climate crisis. Our ongoing work with governments at the village level has raised awareness of climate change among the general public in the Philippines.
  Earlier this year, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) conducted an international survey called “The People’s Climate Vote,” which involved 1.2 million respondents from 50 countries, including the Philippines. The results show that 64% of those surveyed believe that climate change has entered a critical state, and they have issued a clear call for national policymakers to increase the climate ambitions of the Paris Agreement and make further commitments.
  The survey showed that the Philippines ranks third among Asia-Pacific countries and eighth among all 50 countries in the general public’s perception of climate change as a crisis, with 74 percent. Topping the list are the United Kingdom and Italy, the host countries of the 26th United Nations Climate Conference (COP26), with 81%.
  Survey questions include: whether respondents believe current climate change is a global crisis, and whether they support 18 key climate policies across six action areas (i.e. economy, energy, transport, food and farms, nature and protecting people). The survey was released in 17 different languages ​​and designed for mobile game advertisements, and received a large number of responses from people of different genders, ages and educational backgrounds. Surprisingly, the most actively engaged demographic was the under-18s.
  For Filipino respondents, climate-friendly agriculture, promoting early warning systems for disasters, strengthening infrastructure, and protecting nature for livelihoods are the three climate policies and measures they expect the government to take in the face of the climate crisis.
  The survey also showed that 59% of those who agreed that climate change is a crisis globally said the world should take all necessary measures. Of the 18 recommended measures from the survey, four were the most popular: protecting forests and land (54%); using renewable energy such as solar and wind (53%); climate-friendly farming (52%); More funds are invested in green industries and jobs (50%).

  6. What kind of cooperation in environmental protection do you think the Philippines and China can have?
  For us, at the heart of climate justice is holding the developed world or the largest emitters in history accountable.
  As developing countries, both the Philippines and China are entitled to development space and economic growth. To meet the urgent demands of the times, our economy should rapidly transition to low carbon, while adopting green technologies to restore natural ecosystems.
  While the Philippines accounts for only 0.3% of global emissions, we have a population of more than 108 million, a rapidly growing economy, and are struggling to recover from the pandemic. In terms of advanced technologies such as renewable energy and green city construction, we look forward to China’s leadership and cooperation, so that our cities have more open skies, greener spaces, more energy-efficient buildings and transportation, sponge-permeable roads, and restored ecosystem.
  It is very unfortunate that the Philippines is one of the top contributors to ocean plastic pollution in the world. The government is also undertaking various projects to further reduce the ecological footprint. In addition, China’s climate goals (Nationally Determined Contributions NIDC) and both houses of Congress are also discussing various bills to consider regulating single-use plastics, requiring producers to take greater responsibility, and incorporating the “Philippine Ecological Natural Capital Calculation” System (PENCAS) is institutionalized. Hope our government and our descendants will continue to advance and strengthen these efforts. Climate justice is at the heart of our global climate discussion. No effort is too small, follow your passion and it will lead You move forward.
  1. For many people, who do not have as rich ecological environmental knowledge as you, what do you suggest they do? How to share environmental knowledge and wisdom with children? In order for children to better understand, can you recommend some good Book ~ Website or Activity?
  There are many simple and easy ways to improve environmental resilience, and I will share ten of them: a. Collect rainwater for home and community use.
  Rainwater harvesting can be used as an alternative water source. Supplying water during droughts can help mitigate flooding. The collected rainwater is filtered and disinfected and can be used for drinking water, as well as for non-potable water use such as irrigation, toilet flushing, car washing and gardening. b. Build vegetable and grain gardens, rooftop vegetable gardens and edible landscapes, etc., to ensure adequate and continuous supply of food.
  Utilizing the gardens and backyards of our homes in cities allows us to learn to be self-sufficient, especially during times like the pandemic and climate crisis. There are a few simple ways you can do it even in a small apartment, using open space in your home or public space to grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs. C. The construction of roadside drainage canals is conducive to flood discharge.
  Roadside drains can help drain rainwater and prevent flooding caused by heavy rainfall. d. Utilize solar energy and other renewable energy sources.
  Advocate for energy efficiency and use renewable energy to power homes, schools, and other public spaces, and move toward the goal of a sustainable energy transition. e. Reduce waste to achieve zero waste, insist on recycling and reuse, and refuse to use single-use plastics.
  Ban single-use plastics at home and in the community, insist on recycling, composting, and prevent waste from clogging waterways and contributing to flooding and ocean pollution. f. Planting bamboo to protect slopes, prevent landslides, and provide resilient rural livelihoods.
  Planting bamboo to protect slopes can not only prevent landslides, but also be used for rural life production. g. Planting mangroves and seagrasses to protect coastal ecosystems and
  communities Mangroves can mitigate storms and high waves caused by typhoons and protect inland and coastal communities. Mangroves also help build up silt, creating a barrier against salinity. h. Develop field climate schools, seed banks, and develop resilient livelihoods in agricultural rural communities through literacy and women’s leadership.
  Establish field climate schools to popularize knowledge about climate-smart agriculture and fisheries, enhance the livelihood resilience of farmers and fishermen, and increase food production. i. Understand local natural disaster risks and improve early warning systems to cover the “last mile” to ensure that communities and families can take early action.
  Understand local climate and disaster risks, improve multi-hazard early warning systems, and ensure early action and disaster preparedness in households and communities. j. Strengthen the capacity of local communities to address climate and health risks.
  Strengthen emergency preparedness and response capabilities, including contingency planning, simulation training and exercises, and early recovery planning. Not only will lives be saved, but communities will be better equipped to rebuild from the cascading effects of extreme weather.
  2. The new crown epidemic has changed the lives of many people. It makes us think a lot about respecting nature and living in harmony with the environment. In your mind, what is the relationship between people and the environment in the future society?
  More than a year into the outbreak, the world has been locked down, businesses have been forced to close and billions of people have suffered. Our health systems were ill-prepared for this pandemic to claim millions of lives around the world.
  The climate crisis is a global problem that requires the joint efforts of all countries. Yet climate change is another very divisive issue in terms of responsibility for causing the problem and the victims affected. In fact, the largest emitters in history are often on the side, but other countries are directly impacted, and the most effective way to deal with it is often local wisdom that adapts to local conditions. Countries like ours in the Philippines, with emissions well below the global average, are disproportionately affected by climate disasters.
  As it has been said, climate causes and effects know no borders. The same is true of the new crown epidemic. Only when we face it together, no one can survive alone.
  This is urgent, not only because of the climate crisis, but an issue that an increasingly interconnected international community will have to face together in the future. The pandemic reflects this, and we may face a similar fate in future crises.
  3. Our magazine has a youth charity project – Warm the Planet. Can you share a few short sentences of life wisdom with teens?
  I once shared with the international student organization AIESEC and I told them these were unprecedented times. The Covid-19 pandemic has clearly changed the way we live, but at the same time it has given us a chance to restart the world and reassess the meaning and purpose of our existence. Now, more than ever, we need our fellow youths, who have enormous potential, creativity, skills, talents and energy to bring about positive change in society. Initiate dialogue and exchange to connect youth and communities. Remember, no effort is too small, follow your passion and it will lead you forward.
  I think leaders should also be learners. Please continue to explore learning opportunities, continue to ask questions and reflect. Young people are already leaders today and in the future.
  Today’s young people stand at a historical crossroads. Choose to support conformity and let an unsustainable society continue to linger, or no matter what profession or background you come from, you will create a new normal and work towards a better direction 7 This decision of the moment and the direction of the future of mankind , are in your hands.