Yeb Sano - Unlikely Climate Justice Star
Saño: "Climate change is the biggest problem we face as a human family"
Yeb Sano, the young Filipino diplomat who became the face of the UN
climate talks in Poland last year when he wept and fasted for two weeks after
super-typhoon Haiyan devastated his country, is now an unlikely climate justice
superstar. He has the same job, the same friends and he still displays the same
shy emotionalism mixed with intellect, but he now talks confidently to crowds
of thousands, is invited around the world, advises governments, signs letters
with Nobel prizewinners and, instead of regulation climate negotiator dark suit
and tie, he wears sharp shirts - Guardian article
"The climate battle will not be won or lost at the international level: ________________________________________________________
it will be won or lost at the grassroots level." Yeb Saño
During his speech at the COP 19 talks in Warsaw, in the wake of Suipertyphoon Haiyan devastiting his homeland, Yeb Saño added an
unscripted pledge to fast during the conference, until meaningful progress had
been made. He said:
“In solidarity with my countrymen who are
struggling to find food back home and with my brother who has not had food for
the last three days, in all due respect Mr. President, and I mean no disrespect
for your kind hospitality, I will now commence a voluntary fasting for the
climate. This means I will voluntarily refrain from eating food during this COP
until a meaningful outcome is in sight.” video
Other extracts from his speech:
I thank the youth present here and the
billions of young people around the world who stand steadfast behind my
delegation and who are watching us shape their future. I thank civil society,
both who are working on the ground as we race against time in the hardest hit
areas, and those who are here in Warsaw prodding us to have a sense of urgency
and ambition. We are deeply moved by this manifestation of human solidarity.
This outpouring of support proves to us that as a human race, we can unite;
that as a species, we care.
It was barely 11 months ago in Doha when my delegation
appealed to the world… to open our eyes to the stark reality that we face… as
then we confronted a catastrophic storm that resulted in the costliest disaster
in Philippine history. Less than a year hence, we cannot imagine that a
disaster much bigger would come. With an apparent cruel twist of fate, my
country is being tested by this hellstorm called Super Typhoon Haiyan, which
has been described by experts as the strongest typhoon that has ever made
landfall in the course of recorded human history.
To anyone who continues to deny the
reality that is climate change, I dare you to get off your ivory tower and away
from the comfort of your armchair. I dare you to go to the islands of the
Pacific, the islands of the Caribbean and the islands of the Indian ocean and
see the impacts of rising sea levels; to the mountainous regions of the
Himalayas and the Andes to see communities confronting glacial floods, to the
Arctic where communities grapple with the fast dwindling polar ice caps, to the
large deltas of the Mekong, the Ganges, the Amazon, and the Nile where lives
and livelihoods are drowned, to the hills of Central America that confronts
similar monstrous hurricanes, to the vast savannas of Africa where climate
change has likewise become a matter of life and death as food and water becomes
scarce. Not to forget the massive hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and the
eastern seaboard of North America. And if that is not enough, you may want to
pay a visit to the Philippines right now.
The climate crisis is madness. It is the 19th COP, but we might as well stop
counting, because my country refuses to accept that a COP30 or a COP40 will be
needed to solve climate change.
have entered a new era that demands global solidarity in order to fight climate
change and ensure that pursuit of sustainable human development remains at the
fore of the global community’s efforts. This is why means of implementation
for developing countries is ever more crucial.|
cannot sit and stay helpless staring at this international climate stalemate.
It is now time to take action. We need an emergency climate pathway.
for my delegation. But more than that, I speak for the countless people who
will no longer be able to speak for themselves after perishing from the storm.
I also speak for those who have been orphaned by this tragedy. I also speak for
the people now racing against time to save survivors and alleviate the
suffering of the people affected by the disaster.
We must stop calling events like these as
natural disasters. It is not natural when people continue to struggle to
eradicate poverty and pursue development and gets battered by the onslaught of
a monster storm now considered as the strongest storm ever to hit land. It is
not natural when science already tells us that global warming will induce more
intense storms. It is not natural when the human species has already profoundly
changed the climate.
"The climate crisis is madness"
- Naderev Yeb Saño.
To read the entire text of
Yeb Saño's speech, link here