demandAll over the world activists and communities are gearing up to support the unprecedented climate mobilization that will be happening in New York City to echo the voice of the people in demanding actions, not words to world leaders invited by Ban Ki-moon for a historic summit on climate change.

The vast march is an indication of a global awakening coming from an enraged world faced with the reality of a changing climate making it imperative to take on the streets and remind world leaders of their obligation to take the action necessary to create a world with an economy that works for people and the planet – now.

As we all brace ourselves for the march that’s set to happen tomorrow, we at East Asia are making it known to everyone in East/Southeast Asia why this march matters to all of us here are a couple of compelling reasons:

The true cost of coal

In many places around our region, the fossil fuel industry has been peddling coal as the cheapest source of power. Hundreds of new coal plants are set for construction over the next years accompanied by booming exportation of coal mined from places like Batang in Indonesia which currently counts as among the biggest exporters of dirty energy globally.

The energy sector is responsible for some two-thirds of world’s climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions. Coal fired power plants are the biggest source of man-made greenhouse gas as one-third of all carbon dioxide emissions worldwide come from burning coal.

Primarily used for generating electricity, it emits 29% more carbon per unit of energy than oil and 80% more than gas, becoming the leading contributors to climate change. Apart from that, it also causes irreparable damage to the environment, people’s health and communities around the world. Burning coal releases massive amounts of toxic substances such as mercury and arsenic that have deadly impacts on human health and create acutely detrimental effects on developing economies and hosting communities.

Showing us that the true cost of coal is definitely not cheap and the coal industry itself is not paying for the damage it causes, the world at large is with their health, ecosystems, and the impacts of extreme weather events.


Sparking an energy revolution

Confronted with such an overwhelming difficulty, it is easy to just accept that we are helpless in facing such a huge crisis. While global warming is a problem of enormous proportions, that doesn’t mean we can’t do something about it. There are important things we can do to reduce our impact on the environment.

Solutions are readily available and interventions can be done by drastically shifting the way we use, produce, and distribute power.

We need to increase our reliance on renewable energy, and use energy more smartly to achieve the cuts in carbon emissions required to prevent dangerous climate change. Crucially, this can be done while phasing out damaging and dangerous coal and nuclear energy while at the same time protecting forests and ensuring community participation in all aspects of energy production and consumption, dramatically moving away power from corporations to people and communities.


Our survival makes it necessary

Faced with a global catastrophe that threatens to become graver with inaction, we should not settle for such tepid response that our world leaders have shown before. If there’s anything we can learn from the fiasco at Copenhagen, it is that the war on global warming isn’t in the hands of government alone. It is our collective struggle for survival. With our future on the line, we need everyone, everywhere to use this weekend to bend the course of history.

Climate change is already wreaking havoc across the world with increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and storms, sea level rise, water scarcity, decline in agricultural output, proliferation of pests and diseases, and the extinction of species. Never before has humanity been forced to grapple with such an immense environmental crisis.

That is why we should seize every opportunity to combine both personal and collective action to lessen our carbon footprint and to push for drastic cuts from major sources of emissions because our very survival deems it necessary.

To do so we need everyone, especially –you.