An Earth that does not kill: A reflection on Newt Gingrich’s silly, unserious question


I had a strong negative reaction to Newt Gingrich’s recent claim that it is pure hubris for climate advocates to work to mitigate climate change.

Why my strong reaction?
1) He appeared to take by surprise the other panelists for a split second, and (2) as result of that effect, I suspect that we’ll be hearing this silly question thrown around by the Right and other climate deniers for a while, distracting us from the real, more urgent dialogue around how to work together to prevent unnecessary further loss of life from climate change-related events.

He asked, “What’s the right temperature…for the planet?”

My short answer: bad question. Asking and answering his question does not inspire the right dialogue; it evades it.

Governance requires a line of thinking more grounded in the imperatives of public welfare. Clearly, arriving at a consensus on the right temperature, while I guess important, is beside the point when the immediate need is a pragmatic policy framework and public dialogue that work to prevent climate-related loss of life and property, something that continues to happen needlessly.

On CNNs GPS recently in June 2014, the President Anote Tong of Kiribati lamented that it is too late for many of his people whose islands have been swallowed up by rising seawater. From that interview, what I remember the most is him saying, “[It] is already too late for us…we are working together collectively with the countries in the (sic) like situation, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, the Maldives, where the impact of climate change is about total annihilation of … our nations.” You can watch the interview and read the transcript here.

How have we allowed our world to get so sick that it is now its own destroyer???

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson recently said that if the wealthy start losing money from climate change, things will change for the better at the policy level. I disagree. Regardless of what the elite chooses to do, those of us who have solutions with even the most remote chance of success should act. Ordinary people need to change, mostly in how they see themselves as non-actors in this global issue. Climate change solutions need to be as personal as its negative impacts which are many and varied depending on where one lives.

I see climate change as an all-encompassing mega issue that wraps together so many others that have haunted us for generations: Poverty, North-South power imbalance, Group marginalization, Community empowerment, to name a few.

The vulnerability to its impacts that we share is shaped by these underlying issues, which are all too familiar. To be actors in climate work, therefore, in part means being solution-oriented toward all the familiar barriers to social justice and human development.

“Asimbonanga: We have not seen him”


This song was written during Mandela’s incarceration as a call for his freedom. The video is a mock ‘impromptu’ performance doubling as a commercial and commemoration of Mandela’s passing.

Asimbonanga [we have not seen him]
Asimbonang’ uMandela thina [we have not seen Mandela]
Laph’ekhona [in the place where he is]
Laph’ehleli khona [in the place where he is kept]

Asimbonang ‘umfowethu thina [we have not seen our brother]
Laph’ekhona [in the place where he is]
Laph’wafela khona [in the place where he died]
Sithi: Hey, wena [We say: hey, you]
Hey, wena nawe [Hey, you and you]
Siyofika nini la’ siyakhona [when will we arrive at our destination]

‘WASTE’ – A video on the environmental cost of food waste


WASTE – an informative short film on the relationship between food waste and resource waste. A film production of SCHNITTSTELLE THURN GbR commissioned by WWF Germany and UNEP in support of the Think Eat Save – Reduce your foodprint campaign.

Kundiman music #1


Meditative and evocative at the same time, this video makes me feel more Filipino. I have watched it many times.  My aim is to easily find it whenever I want to watch it by posting it here. If you are to be similarly touched by the music as a result of my selfish act, then that would be icing on the cake.

For little-known historical info on the lost practice of ‘kundiman’ and ‘harana’, go here and here. May this beautiful practice of nationalism, respect, chivalry and tenderness find the youth generation that will aim to restore it with sincerity.

More info from youtube:
“Guitar Duo of Michael Dadap and Florante Aguilar perform Joselinang Baliwag, the most popular song during the revolution against Spain in the 1800s. Arranged by Michael Dadap for 2 guitars, the song is part of the Folkloric Suite in Dadap and Aguilar’s upcoming duo album.

This footage is also an excerpt from the upcoming film Harana directed by Benito Bautista and produced by Fides Enriquez. Music video edited by Emma Francisco.”

Pacquiao v Marques IV vidéos


Video #2


Video #3


‘Change informatics’ series: Part 5


“The process of poverty removal itself can be an engine of growth, leading to growth that bubbles up rather than trickles down” – Devaki Jain.

This is the first in a series of three videos based on footage from the UNRISD Seminar Series event. Does a country need to be rich in order for women and society to advance? Is development a synonym for economic growth? Watch the seminar highlights to find out more. This video features Devaki Jain (founder of the Institute of Social Studies, Delhi), Mariama Williams (South Center) and UNRISD Director Sarah Cook.

‘Change informatics’ series: Part 4


This is the last in a series of three videos based on footage from the UNRISD Seminar Series event. In the context of the global “multiple crises” of food, fuel, finance and jobs, the flaws in the current patterns of development are undeniable – especially for women. These crises have major economic and social implications, and the underlying, deep-seated problems of growing inequality are not being sufficiently addressed. Understanding and harvesting feminist knowledge, these speakers suggest, is increasingly critical to addressing these crises. This video features Devaki Jain (founder of the Institute of Social Studies, Delhi), Mariama Williams (South Center) and Naoko Otobe (Senior Employment Specialist and Gender and Employment Coordinator at the ILO).

Happy Philippine Independence Day 2012



Video of 2012 Philippine Independence Day celebration

“There are no tyrants if there are no slaves”
José Rizal

For a good resource of Philippine history, see