Mangkhut left uprooted trees in its wake and its strong winds destroyed a few houses in our home province of Ilocos Norte. However, we know that this is nothing compared to what our neighbours in the Cordilleras, Cagayan Valley, Isabela, and other provinces are experiencing now. We can plant trees again and we can always rebuild. What we can never replace are the lives claimed by the storm and the landslides and flooding that came after.
We know that this message will not bring them back. We also know that words of comfort have never comforted the bereaved but even if this is so, please know that we will do what we can to ensure that your children and ours will not experience a force this destructive once our generation leaves this world. This is a tall order but we must have the courage to change our circumstances especially now that we have lost so much and that other Filipinos years prior also lost as much or even more.
As a company, we have always been clear about our stance on climate change and the utter devastation it can bring to a vulnerable country like ours. We have taken steps to make our wine production as environmentally-friendly as possible. We have planted trees. We have inked partnerships with solar experts and have been working very hard to bring clean, renewable energy to remote areas in the Philippines and we will keep going because we must.
While our contribution is small, this natural disaster has only strengthened our resolve to carry on and we are lucky that we are not alone. There are companies and non-government organisations around the world who are fighting against the major causes of climate change but more often than not, we are outgunned. However difficult it is, this is the path that the company has chosen to take but we must be very clear on one thing. Joining the ranks of those who call for immediate climate action is not an altruistic move. In fact, it is riddled with self-interest – our interest to leave a better world to those who will inherit the dysfunctional society we have built.
The Philippines is hit by an estimated 20 typhoons per year and they have gotten stronger each and every time. Preparedness has spared many of us and our strength as a people has helped us survive. However, there will come a time when these won’t be enough that’s why there is a need to address the root cause of the problem – carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases released to the atmosphere.
Climate change will plunder the Earth in means and ways so utterly destructive that it will challenge our very existence.
As the planet warms, its heat alters the weather. It alters our oceans and it alters ice. Our oceans are getting hotter. The frozen water we have on Earth is melting and it is contributing to sea level rise. Our weather patterns are now more extreme.
The heat is feeding the typhoons that come our way each and every year and rising sea levels have created storm surges that resulted in unimaginable loss. Climate change threatens us every single day but we can do something about it. We must act when it matters most.