This section highlights participation of individual faculty members to local and international events, activities or programs. For submissions, please click here.
Three faculty members presented papers on different topics during a brown bag session organized by the Department of Biology on February 7, 2011 at the Alumni Conference Room.
The brown bag session is a venue where the faculty members of the Department share their researches or learning from a conference in a relaxed, less formal setting. Students are also invited as it is an opportunity to be updated on the latet research findings which might be helpful in their future courses.
Prof. Elena Ragragio spoke on “Plant Community Diversity in Selected Lahar Areas of Bacolor, Pampanga Province” where she shared the findings of her research team.
Prof. Ragragio investigated the composition of plants in select areas of Bacolor, Pampanga, which was devasted by lahar for almost 20 years. She talked about the succession of plant species in the area, and implications on future return of farming in the area.
Dr. Rosario Rubite discussed “An Endemic Philippine Radiation: Biogeography and Delimitation of Begonia Sect. Diploclinium in the Philippines,” where she discussed the perils of placing high taxonomic importance on single reproductive characters.
She also highlighted the importance of some previously overlooked vegetative characters.
Prof. Anna Theresa Santiago presented “System Change for Climate Change,” wherein she summarized the history of negotiations among nations for addressing the climate crisis and shared her experience as UP Manila representative to the KlimaForum '09, the civil society-counterpart of the Copenhagen Conference of Parties (CoP 15) in December 2009.
She concluded that while climate change seems like a scientific and technical issue, the current stage of the crisis demands political solutions and community disaster preparedness among the vulnerable nations and groups such as the Philippines.
With report from Prof. Sedricke Lapuz, Department of Biology
THE OCCURRENCE of unpredictable extreme weather events and the increase in global average temperatures have made climate change an unequivocal crisis.
Originally posted at http://beta.bworldonline.com/weekender/content.php?id=4977
Although climate change is influenced by natural phenomena such as the periodic variation in the Earth’s orbit around the sun, the changes the world is experiencing today are attributed to man-made global warming.
Industrial activities such as fossil fuel combustion, incineration, metal and cement production, livestock activities and air-conditioning emit gaseous by-products that are carbon-based. These gases form a layer on the Earth’s atmosphere that traps excess solar radiation that should otherwise be reflected back into outer space, thereby heating the planet much like a greenhouse.
At the COP15 held last Dec. 7-18 in Copenhagen, Denmark, civil society asserted its desire for a system change from purely market-oriented methods in solving the climate crisis to a sustainable approach that considers equitable access to safe and renewable forms of energy, environmental care, and human rights.
At this 15th meeting of over 190 UN member states regarding climate change, the prominent issues that are still being discussed involve market-based solutions focusing on carbon trading. Meanwhile, amid warming temperatures and rising sea levels, small Pacific island-nations such as Tuvalu and Kiribati are in danger of being submerged within the next 50 years or so.
ASEAN countries including the Philippines should expect more super typhoons attributable to climate change. In that case, issues such as climate-induced migration, disaster management, spread of infectious diseases and food shortages should be included in UN climate change policies.
Even UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon stated that "We do not have another year to deliberate. Nature does not negotiate with us."
Simultaneous with the COP15 negotiations, a people’s climate summit known as Klimaforum09 also took place in Copenhagen. I was fortunate to have been sent by the University of the Philippines-Manila College of Arts and Sciences to participate in this activity.
Klimaforum09 was organized by Danish NGOs in cooperation with major international NGOs. Through Klimaforum09, groups from all over the world met at the DGI-Byen Center of Copenhagen and engaged in discourse regarding the issues and multi-sectoral impact of climate change. The major output of this summit was a printed declaration aptly titled "System change -- not climate change."
The declaration was a result of almost a year’s worth of discussions among various people’s movements and ordinary concerned citizens that culminated during the first week of Klimaforum09. The declaration calls for the abandonment of fossil fuels, reparation and compensation for climate debt, rejection of purely market-oriented solutions that deepen social conflicts and sovereignty over energy, food and water.
Inasmuch as the accumulation of GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions on the Earth’s atmosphere has been identified as the major cause of unpredictable regional temperatures and precipitation patterns, the major driver of climate change is the prevailing system of thought that is economics-based.
The "green market" opportunity posed by the climate crisis will only lead to further irreparable environmental damage. With the disagreements among developed and developing nations regarding emissions reduction and carbon trading, a grassroots approach to mitigating the impact of climate change is the way to go.
But what can we ordinary citizens do at this point? Reducing our electrical consumption by shifting to energy-efficient appliances and limiting our use of private vehicles by using public transportation. Perhaps, system change can start at the individual level, just like what Mohandas Gandhi implied when he said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." -- Anna Theresa Ata-Santiago
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