The impacts of climate change have gradually intensified around the world with countries experiencing more severe weather conditions, and sea levels rising at an increasing rate. Without urgent action, these are only foreseen to worsen and among those who will bear the most burden is the next generation.
Recognizing this, the youth are taking a stand towards mitigating climate change in various ways such as supporting environmental causes, reducing their carbon footprint, and using their voices in raising awareness on the current climate situation. The United Nations even described them as “agents of change, entrepreneurs and innovators” when it comes to climate action.
As a way to provide the Filipino youth a platform to develop new and workable solutions that can help address pressing climate concerns, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) and Nestlé Philippines launched “Klimathon: Our Race Towards a Net-Zero Reality” last October 2021. Students and young innovators were asked to send in their project concepts focusing on any of these three pillars: plastic waste management, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and food security.
After receiving entries from participants nationwide, CCC and Nestlé have selected 10 teams that will advance to the final stage of the Klimathon and undergo a mentoring program led by experts in the fields of sustainability, agriculture, energy, and technology. The finalists presented their project concepts during the virtual Klimathon Finalist Showcase.
Engr. Angelica Anne Munar, the winner of the International Eco-Concrete Competition in 2019 and youth innovator, gave her words of wisdom and advice to the finalists
Each of the top 10 entries exemplified the youth’s innovative thinking and out-of-the-box approach in helping address environmental concerns in the country. From upcycling fish food waste into bioplastic to solar-powered temperature and humidity-controlled food storage boxes.
During the event, the members of the mentoring pool were also introduced to help participants refine their proposed solutions and support them as they become more involved in climate action moving forward.
After the mentoring sessions, the three winning teams will be named at the Klimathon Finals happening in April 2022. Special citation awards will be given to entries that embody and promote gender empowerment, originality, and community participation.
The top 10 finalists and mentors gathered during the showcase together with Nestlé Philippines and the Climate Change Commission during the virtual showcase. Also present was Department of Finance Assistant Secretary Paola Alvarez who talked about the role of the youth in mitigating climate change
“When the CCC and Nestlé Philippines launched this competition last year, we aimed to showcase what the Filipino youth can offer when it comes to climate action. We want to provide an avenue where they can freely create and develop sustainability-focused ideas for the environment. Knowing more about their innovative and refreshing project concepts today, I do believe we have achieved this goal,” said Mr. Ludwig O. Federigan, Chief of Information and Knowledge Management Division from the Climate Change Commission.
Nestle Philippines AVP for Sustainability and Public Affairs, Ms. Christine Ponce-Garcia, also commended the young finalists: “Seeing these bright minds come together shows us that the future is indeed bright as we journey towards a net-zero reality. At Nestlé PH, we celebrate the youth engaged in climate action with their vision and passion. They will be the leaders in ensuring a healthier, more livable planet that they will inherit.”