AJHS boys rep PH in virtual global pilgrimage to COP26

December 13, 2021

Ateneo de Manila Junior High School students Ignacio Balmaceda (Cardoner/10-Canisius) and Luis Galang (Cardoner/7-Alvares) recently participated in EcoJesuit’s “On The Way To Change” virtual global community pilgrimage to COP26 (a.k.a. the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference). COP26 was held in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom from October 31 to November 12, 2021. As Ecojesuit delegates, Luis and Ignacio joined the youth-led roundtable discussion on the environment and wrote letters to the COP26 leaders.

Ignacio Balmaceda, Luis Galang

In his letter, Luis wrote, “In my country, the Philippines, we experience about 20 typhoons a year. These typhoons have become very destructive, so damaging that many people are left homeless days after. Even without a typhoon, a few hours of rainfall can cause severe flooding. That problem has been here for such a long time yet people keep repeating the same habits that harm the earth. Forests have been burnt and many trees have been chopped down in the name of progress. Yet, many Filipinos still live in poverty. Unfortunately, our leaders have not been doing enough. Because of corruption, our natural resources are depleted because of greed. I feel sad and frustrated about the situation for our environment and the lack of policies for it. So for the sake of those who lost loved ones and for young people like me, I urge you to please find solutions that all nations will follow seriously.”        

For his part, Ignacio writes, “To all those with the real capability to change things, those leading this world into the future, I sincerely hope that this message finds you. We can’t allow self-interest, or the interests of one group, dictate the fate of all mankind. The world that we inhabit does not belong to any one person or party, it belongs to everybody. Each and every person on this earth has a stake in it, and we cannot allow others to make brutal decisions that only hurt those around them. Greed and power is only ever temporary, but because of them our beloved earth has been beaten and bullied. We live at a tipping point for the world currently, and every major step we take will change it, whether we want it to or not. In the fight for our planet, we must not allow petty conflicts or trivial superiority over others to run us into the ground. It may be my inexperienced self talking, but I do truly hope for and believe in better. We’ve got one Earth, let’s not waste it.”

You can read more about the online pilgrimage to COP26 and the roundtable discussion in this article, which also mentions Luis’ ecological advocacy: https://cop26.ecojesuit.com/2021/11/god-is-wherever-our-paths-meet-a-you...