Advocates get grant to narrate stories of how communities would look like 100 years from now

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Team DanTAOn endeavors to narrate the stories of several vulnerable communities across the country. These pieces of multimedia content will then be uploaded to an online platform that the team will also put up. Image from DanTAOn.

A group of advocates received a grant from the Climate Media Labs, helping it produce visual renditions of how five communities would look like one hundred years from now based on climate change projections. 

Team DanTAOn, composed of Arch. Arlene Christy Lusterio, Isabelle Therese Baguisi, Jolly Anne Gibe, Min-Roselle Malunhao, and Ma. Theresa Amor Tan Singco, was awarded a PhP70,000 Umalohokan Grant by the Labs, which was organized and funded by the Oscar M. Lopez Center. Named after town criers who disseminated news in pre-colonial Philippines, the grant will help Team DanTAOn and four other groups to fully implement their campaign and communications research plans.  

One of Team DanTAOn’s campaign goals is to “capture and share narratives of people who experience disasters and climate crises to persuade positive action and hold the drivers of climate risks accountable.” 

The online platform it plans to establish also seeks to “provide an accessible and interactive climate data platform that would support communities in disaster imagination and climate action.” 

Based on its campaign plan, Team DanTAOn (loosely translated as a century hence) will take pictures, produce short videos, and write creative non-fiction pieces narrating the stories of several vulnerable communities across the country. These pieces of multimedia content will then be uploaded to an online platform that the team will also put up. 

Communities to be featured include those living on Manicani island, a small island in Guian, Eastern Samar; Lupang Arenda, a lakeshore area in Taytay, Rizal; Kasiglahan Village and Southville, a resettlement site in Rodriguez, Rizal; Tanza Dos Navotas, an urban coastal area in Metro Manila; and coastal and lowland areas of Zamboanga del Sur. 

All five areas have felt the effects of climate change in different ways, the group said in its campaign plan. While small islands like Manicani are threatened by rising sea levels, the two communities living in Rizal have “experienced extremely hot summer days,” resulting in rising electricity bills, among others, the group said. 

According to its campaign plan, the team will also organize a public forum and a film-showing and produce information, education, and communications materials regarding the issue. The events and the materials are expected to further increase awareness about climate change among its partner communities and local governments, the group said. 

Besides Team DanTAOn, the other Umalohokan grantees are Bicol Umalohokan, which focused on sustainable food production and consumption practices; Team G-Unit, which will help promote new, climate-resilient farming methods; Team Bintuwak, which emphasized the importance of indigenous knowledge for river conservation; and, Team Salikhain Kolektib, which produced short videos about life on small islands that are threatened by rising sea levels. 

All five Umalohokan grantees belong to a larger group of ten teams whose members have all been given Umalohokan Fellowships. The fellowships entitled members of all the groups to attend the Climate Media Labs, a six-week learning program that sharpened their knowledge about the basics of climate science, climate change communications, among others. 

All teams submitted climate story pitches as part of their applications for the Umalohokan Fellowship to the Climate Media Labs. Most, if not all the pitches involved climate stories that were either unreported or underreported, a fact that was brought up by Mr. Chris Wright, founder and managing director of Climate Tracker, a partner of the Climate Media Labs. 

During his speaking engagement at one of the Climate Media Lab sessions, Mr. Wright said that “the kind of stories that don’t get reported enough are probably the adaptation and mitigation efforts at the barangay level.” 

“There is a big focus on what the national government and the international community is doing but not enough to celebrate what small communities are able to achieve,” he said, underscoring one of the goals of the Climate Media Labs.  

Mr. Wright is one of the scientists and experts who delivered lectures for the Labs, including Ms. Lourdes Tibig, the lead author of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate; Dr. Ma. Laurice Jamero, a contributing author of the recently released Working Group I report to the Sixth Assessment Report of the IPCC; and Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz, the founder and Director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Developed with Climate Tracker and TheNerve, the Climate Media Labs is just one of several efforts of the OML Center to increase awareness about climate change.   

“While the science on climate change in the Philippines has increased ever since our Center was established in 2012, appropriate action is still lacking,” said Perpi A. Tiongson, associate director of the OML Center. “Communicating climate change and the potential for enabling action remain big challenges. The Climate Media Labs is one of the ways of helping provide context of the risks and impacts of climate change and of enabling action through documenting realities and surfacing stories of local experiences.” 

One of the ten teams that took part in the Climate Media Labs will receive a final grant of PhP150,000 for the most creative and successful execution of their blitz campaigns and research projects on the most relevant issue of their target community. Register here for the multi-stakeholder forum on December 10, 2021.

Visit the Balangay Media Project page on our website to learn more.