OML Center @ 10: Loosening the Climate Gordian Knot

In 2012, as he was conferred a Doctor of Laws honoris causa by the University of the Philippines Diliman, Chairman Emeritus of the Lopez Group of Companies Oscar M. Lopez addressed the graduating class and said, “the environment that we so gravely abused has begun striking back at us in horrific ways that we could never have imagined.” He talked about our changing climate and referred to it as the “new normal,” more than a year before Super Typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines. More interestingly, he understood that the climate problem was like, as he described it then, a “Gordian Knot”—a mythic intricate knot tied by the Greek king, Gordius, that no one could untie, and which has come to mean a complex and unsolvable problem.

Despite this seemingly impossible task, Mr. Lopez offered the young graduates a number of solutions, one of which was establishing a Center for collaborative research that would “save lives and take our people out of harm’s way.”

Ten years later, the Center is Mr. Lopez’s vision in motion, working to loosen the complex knot that climate change reveals itself to be. While the task is indeed complex and great, science and collaborations with like-minded partners have helped us better understand how we got to this tangled mess, and how we can begin to loosen the knot.

The Center celebrates a decade of threads loosened from the Gordian climate knot, the allies who have helped in the undoing, and what lies ahead to help enable a nation of climate-resilient communities.

Risk-Based Climate Planning

As part of its endeavors to push knowledge to action through collaborations with various local actors, the OML Center is conducting capacity-building activities with local climate actors and local government units (LGUs) and a multi-sectoral symposium to discuss the state of the Philippine climate and its impacts, and identify and address climate adaptation and climate information gaps in policy and action.

LEVEL-APP YOUR LCCAP: Workshop on Risk-Based Climate Planning Tools” is a virtual workshop designed to help local government units create science-based local climate change action plans (LCCAPs) that enable strategies toward climate change adaptation. More details about the workshop here.

A multisectoral symposium on October 12 titled, “Future-Proofing PH Communities: A Multisectoral Dialogue on Bridging Climate Knowledge to Action,” will discuss the state of the Philippine climate and its impacts, and identify and address climate adaptation and information gaps in policy and action. More details about the symposium here.

Climate Resilience Challenge 2022

In its pursuit of surfacing innovative climate solutions, the Center is holding the 2nd Climate Resilience Challenge. First held in 2020, the Climate Resilience Challenge was developed to seek innovative, interdisciplinary, and solution-oriented ideas to build and enhance resilience in the country.

This year’s edition is a call for solutions focusing on climate change adaptation strategies for Philippine coastal communities, particularly on the following priority areas: (1) climate-resilient livelihoods of vulnerable communities, (2) climate-resilient coastal and marine ecosystems, and; (3) reducing vulnerability against sea level rise.

Learn more here.

Journeys from Knowledge to Action

The Center would not have been able to accomplish the first decade of its journey to loosen the Climate Gordian Knot without the contributions and collaborations of like-minded individuals and organizations. Through a series of interviews with funders, experts, co-producers, grantees, users, and beneficiaries, the Center hopes to highlight the outcomes of valuable collaborative endeavors. 

Short videos on these collaborative endeavors will be released through the Center’s website and YouTube channel soon. Visit the Center’s YouTube channel

Paying Homage to Allies

The OML Center reconstructs its past to tell a story of beginnings, uncertainty, collaboration, and success. In telling this story, the Center puts the spotlight on the people and events that paved the way not just for the Center’s growth and transformation, but also for the dynamism of the larger climate space within which the Center moved and thrived, and where the Center found allies to push the agenda of climate action.

In recognition of key partners and collaborators, the Center contributed 400 native forest trees to help enrich the forest cover at the La Mesa Watershed. Each seedling represents those who helped establish the Center and its place in the climate space, including foundation members, former and current board members, former and current staff, grantees, partners, collaborators, and peers.

The tree-planting also pays homage to its Founder, Oscar M. Lopez, whose love for trees has imbued his approach to business, which views environment and enterpirse as parts of a holistic and integrated system.