“Governments must act together to significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions and work towards a climate resilient future.”
MarinelUbaldo, 18, knows the urgency of this call. Two years ago, when Typhoon Haiyan devastated her community in Eastern Samar, Philippines, she lost most of her belongings, including a box where she kept all the awards she received in school.
While world leaders work towards closing a deal from the Paris climate talks this week, a documentary by filmmaker Christoph Schwaigerstarring Marinel will have its debut on French television
(Link to the teaser of “The Girl and the Typhoons” by ChristophSchwaiger, and narrated by French actress Marion Cotillard: https://vimeo.com/146327850 )
“I really want to show the world that in the Philippines, climate change is a reality. It’s not just an idea; we have to live with it,” the young typhoon survivor tells narrator and award-winning French actress Marion Cotillard in the film.
Marinel has been playing an active role in the community projects of child rights organisationPlan International Philippines, particularly in Climate Change education. When she received a message from a Plan International staff about Typhoon Haiyan (locally named Yolanda), she immediately informed her friends, neighbors, and family to evacuate to a safer place.
However, no one could have anticipated the magnitude of the disaster brought by the typhoon.
“For three days, we just had to eat cassava. I was unable to access a bathroom and I couldn’t go to school as it had been badly damaged,” shares Marinel.
“My dad is a fisherman and it affected his livelihood, too. He had no net and his pamboat was destroyed. It took some time before we were able to return to normal, but the chilling memories still remain.”
Advocating climate change adaptation
Through Plan International’s Climate change adaptation project, Marinel was able to talk to her peers and community about climate change.
“I found myself inside a radio booth, educating the public about the effects of climate change and ways to adapt to its effects, while discussing the science with experts,” she says.
“We learn about tracking typhoons, marine biology, and the impacts of climate change on coastal livelihoods.”
In Paris, France for COP21
Amid the climate negotiations at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21), Marinel has been attending speaking events in Paris, France where she talks about climate change and how it steals children’s futures.
She hopes to urge decision-makers to put children at the heart of the climate agenda.
“They (governments) must ensure their decisions will create a better world for us,” says Marinel.
“I want world leaders to commit to minimising the emission of greenhouse gases. I want them to help vulnerable countries, such as my own, adapt to the unavoidable effects of climate change,” she adds.
The COP21, which takes place until December 11, is seen as the “last chance” for governments to reach an agreement before it becomes too difficult to control the emissions that cause drastic changes to the climate.
Marinel Ubaldo is a young advocate who has been raising awareness on the risks of climate change through Plan International’s community projects in EasternVisayas, Philippines.