A new study reveals half of Earth glaciers will melt this century, even if the most ambitious global climate targets are met.
Should some 104,000 of the world’s 215,000 mountain glaciers and ice caps melt due to the 4-degree Celsius increase in temperature – as projected by researchers — the global sea levels will rise by over three inches.
As sea levels rise, so are the risks of intense rains and cyclone-induced storm surges. Heavy precipitation heightens floods, which then result in diseases and damages to the ecosystem and infrastructures.
While the consequences brought about by climate change affect everyone at a global scale, the impacts vary in every country. If the situation appears dire across the world, it’s worse for us here at home.
The Philippines is at a highly disadvantaged position in the matter of climate-related natural hazards. In fact, we are classified as “High Risk”, ranking 34th out of 191 countries, in this year’s INFORM Risk Index.
Not only are we sitting along the Typhoon Belt, we are also within the Pacific Ring of Fire, thereby exposing our country to tropical cyclones, flooding, and earthquakes – all of which are projected to intensify as the climate changes.
Several studies have established the Philippines as one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change. Published research reveal:
Unfortunately, despite our nation’s vulnerable position, our first defense against the effects of climate change endures widespread destruction.
Ecologists attribute the worsening floods to the trees we lose from logging, slash-and-burn farming, and land conversion. According to the Biodiversity and Finance Initiative, 52,000 trees are felled daily – a cut rate so fast we are erasing 47,000 hectares of forest annually.
Trees catch and absorb rainwater, thus preventing runoff and flooding. By holding soil particles together, they help reduce erosion. Trees also capture carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – tackling the root cause of global warming.
Additionally, these mighty natural wonders ensure the availability of freshwater.
Reforestation and conservation efforts are seen to help mitigate the effects of climate change and guarantee that we receive the benefits of healthy forests, especially in a densely populated region such as Metro Manila.
Recognizing the environmental impact of a rainforest the size of La Mesa Watershed, the ABS-CBN Foundation’s Bantay Kalikasan in 1999 led the rehabilitation of the then severely denuded area.
As the only remaining watershed in the region, La Mesa is the major source of raw water for over 13 million residents in NCR. In addition, its forest cover absorbs about 3-5% of carbon emissions of the metropolis – earning the tag “green lung of Metro Manila”.
Through its partners, the Save the La Mesa Watershed project has successfully reforested 1,552 hectares and enriched its biodiversity in the first 15 years of rehabilitation.
But the work is not yet over.
True to its commitment to environmental sustainability, Anchor Land, through its signature corporate social responsibility program Care to Change, has partnered with ABS-CBN Foundation’s Bantay Kalikasan in its continued preservation and enrichment of the La Mesa Watershed.
On December 13, 2022, employees from different departments of Anchor Land joined the mission to increase the population density of tree species at the nature reserve through enrichment planting, which aims to add more layers of trees to the reforested area.
“From 2016 to present, we have enriched about 1,300 hectares through tree planting activities – nearing completion of the second layer,” said Sarah Alcayde-Agcaoili, operations manager of ABS-CBN Foundation’s Save the La Mesa Watershed Project.
She continued, “We will add more layers until we reach the ideal point where sunlight can no longer penetrate the ground.”
Anchor Land kicked off its partnership with the planting of 500 indigenous species of Lago tree. During the activity, the employee-volunteers also learned about seed germination and the importance of proper care and preparation of seedlings prior to the planting season.
“As a mindful organization concerned with the needs of people, Anchor Land has been committed to creating a meaningful and long-term impact on the next generation. We are honored to partner with ABS-CBN Foundation in our pursuit of sustainability and environmental protection,” said Anchor Land President Elizabeth Ventura.
Following the first phase of the partnership, Anchor Land’s “Earth Warriors” will return to La Mesa Watershed to join the tree planting activity during the tree planting season between June and September this year.
“We hope that with each tree planted, we can secure a greener and brighter future for all,” Ventura said.