Sunday, September 17, 2023

Youth climate justice activists strut their advocacies on the runway for Global Climate Strike

Wazzup Pilipinas

In a powerful display of climate advocacy and historical remembrance, Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines Inc. (YACAP), a member of the Fridays for Future movement led by global climate activist Greta Thunberg, delivered a compelling message of hope and resistance through their fashion show protest at Studio 72, Quezon City, on September 15.

The event entitled "Fashion Against Fascism and Fossil Fuels. Empire of the Son: Drought and Deluge" showcased a ready-to-wear collection that emphasized the role of the country’s ineffective and authoritarian leadership in exacerbating the climate crisis. It is part of a broader effort to amplify the voices calling for the Global Day Against Fossil Fuels and the Global Climate Strike, which stands as a key component in the multi-sectoral movement against the historical distortion perpetuated by the current Marcos administration.

“This show hopefully serves as a reminder of the historical and political in which our climate challenges persist,” said Mitzi Jonelle Tan, YACAP's international spokesperson. “As the 51st anniversary of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s Martial Law approaches, it is important to realize that the effects of his regime persist today, and are mirrored by his son Marcos Jr.’s first year of presidency. From large-scale mining and reclamation projects to inadequate disaster risk management plans, to the administration’s intolerance to dissent, it is clear that there is an urgent need to address climate and historical injustices.”

Activists, influencers, artists, and celebrities, conveyed a powerful narrative that linked fashion and music to six key climate action issues during the first year of Marcos's Presidency — displacement, environmental plunder, mental health, food insecurity, disinformation, and human rights violations. This fusion of art and advocacy culminated in a protest action at the end of the program, in which the producers, designers, and models, including singer-songwriter Zild Benitez and drag queen Maria Christina, carried signs calling for the protection of environmental defenders. This is especially poignant as the Global Witness recently reported the Philippines as the most deadliest country in Asia for environmental defenders for a decade.

Tan’s impassioned words encapsulate the essence of "Fashion Against Fascism and Fossil Fuels. Empire of the Son: Drought and Deluge" and the broader mission of YACAP. “We hope to call on this generation to take up the endeavor of fighting for climate and social justice. Through fashion or any other method, let us continue to hold Marcos Jr. accountable for his anti-people and anti-environment policies. Let this be a rallying cry for a better future, one where our leaders prioritize the well-being of both the planet and its people."

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