November 18, 2020 – The Department of Education (DepEd) has been hosting the National Climate Change Conference (NCCC) for three years since 2017. Due to the “new normal” brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 4th NCCC will be conducted online through a series of learning sessions live-streamed at the DepEd Philippines Facebook page from 19-25 November 2020. Filipino sign language interpretation will be provided.
With the theme “Alpas: Channeling youth eco-anxiety to climate action,” the 4th NCCC aims to elevate the discussion of the impacts of climate change on mental health and the actions that can be done to make meaningful change. Eco-anxiety refers to the amplified anxiety brought by one’s knowledge of environmental changes, which includes the feeling of loss, helplessness, and frustration in the face of climate change. Children are known to be more vulnerable to eco-anxiety as their generation will bear the consequences of climate change.
The year 2020 placed the climate crisis into a different spotlight as the world responds to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department, through the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS), serves at the forefront of advocating and empowering learners and personnel amidst the pandemic. In line with this, the DepEd DRRMS hopes to lead the conversation on youth eco-anxiety and how it can be transformed into powerful actions of adaptation and mitigation. The general objectives of this year’s conference include the strengthening of awareness on eco-anxiety and its effects on young people and increase the participation of learners and DepEd personnel in addressing climate change concerns in their immediate communities.
True to our commitment to elevate students’ voices, the majority of the presentations will be given by our learners. They will share their climate action story, highlight the role of education in their engagement, and call for climate action from key decision-makers and the older generation.
On 19 November, the Opening Ceremony will include a keynote address from Ms. Anouchka Grose, a British-Australian psychoanalyst and author of A Guide to Eco-Anxiety: How to Protect the Planet and Your Mental Health, and presentations from five learners on their inspiring and proactive climate action stories. (Read more at DepEd’s 4th National Climate Change Conference virtually launched, emphasizes mental health awareness)
The following day, 20 November, the 2019 Climate Action Advocacy Show held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines will be streamed. The performers and directors will conduct a talkback after the show. (Read more at Theater play revealing climate change threats livestreamed as part of national digital conference)
In an innovative way to raise awareness, an online quiz show on climate change, the Battle of the Brain Corals – Climate Change Edition, will be held on 21 November. Nine pairs of high school learners from across the country will participate in three rounds of climate change info blitz. The Battle of the Brain Corals – Climate Change Edition will be organized with Save Philippine Seas and Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation Inc. (PRRCFI). (Read more Online quiz show on climate change organized for DepEd’s 4th NCCC)
Acknowledging the crucial role teachers play in climate change education, the Climate Science Master Class for Secondary School Teachers is also set to be held in partnership with the Climate Change Commission (CCC) on 24 November. Members of the National Panel of Technical Experts will serve as speakers. (Read more DepEd, CCC conduct webinar on climate education for secondary teachers)
Finally, on 25 November, the Closing Ceremony will feature DepEd projects on climate change adaptation and mitigation such as the School Waste Management, Gulayan sa Paaralan, Tree-Caring and Growing in the New Normal. It will also involve narratives from learners about their experiences studying in a sustainable and eco-friendly school and leading climate action initiatives. (Read more DepEd eyes strengthening of climate change awareness in basic education)
National Day of Youth for Climate Action
In partnership with the National Youth Commission, the Department endorses the observance of the National Day for Youth in Climate Action and the ASEAN Youth in Climate Action and Disaster Resilience on 25 November. All public and private elementary and secondary schools, including schools district and division offices (SDOs), and regional offices (ROs) are enjoined to initiate activities in observance of the National Day for Youth in Climate Action and the ASEAN Youth in Climate Action and Disaster Resilience.
Commitment to Climate Change Education and Action
The Department has long responded to the call for climate change education as key DRR and CCA concepts are integrated from kinder to junior high school subject areas such as Health, Science, Araling Panlipunan, and Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao. Aside from curriculum integration, the Department has programs such as Gulayan sa Paaralan and Schools in a Garden and also partakes in the Expanded National Greening Program of DENR. DepEd through the DRRMS is working on strengthening the integration of climate change in the curriculum, co-curricular activities, and policies of the Department.
The DRRMS takes the lead in empowering learners, personnel, schools, and DepEd offices in ensuring safety and learning continuity; institutionalizing Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, Climate Change Adaptation, and Education-in-Emergencies; and strengthening the resilience of the education sector in the context of natural and human-induced hazards, including armed conflict.
The 4th National Climate Change Conference is organized by the DRRMS with the support of the Information and Communications Technology Service (ICTS), Public Affairs Service (PAS), Bureau of Learner Support Services Youth Formation Division (BLSS-YFD), Indigenous Peoples Education Office (IPsEO), and Bureau of Curriculum Development (BCD), and in partnership with the Climate Change Commission and Association of Young Environmental Journalists (AYEJ).