Tag Archives: environment

I didn’t learn politics from school

This is the best time to write about Gina Lopez. She has been my favorite subject matter for a few years now ever since that fateful first impression at the Development Academy of the Philippines seven years ago.  “What is DAP?” she haughtily asked, that bravado kind of turned us off,  given her limited knowledge of those working for a government think thank.  How come she doesn’t know what we do, what is our purpose and mandate. I think that meeting was merely using the facilities of DAP. We were looking for funding and we were thinking she would be a good benefactor for sustainable development projects and policies.

I have no idea what was the outcome of that meeting but fast forward to 2017, we meet again at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.  I’m writing this at my temporary space at the DENR compound a few days after her rejection by the commission of appointments as DENR Secretary.

Her leadership approach was totally unconventional but at the end of it all what can we learn from it?  I have encountered people from the entire spectrum of for and against her, I don’t want to comment on that, I respect their stance.  The last blog I wrote on her was the fact that people compare me to her given my educational background in environmental science. I remember my early years in UPLB when former classmates perceive our presence in the university as merely farming, similar to that, environmentalists are like Gina Lopez, which is totally stereotypical.

How about people who have worked all of their lives at the DENR, particularly the Environmental Management Bureau, are they environmentalists, or are just government employees working for the environment. The public will judge not only Gina, but the DENR itself, but after her 10-month stints, some thing will totally change  drastically.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Management System, Greenwash, Pollution Control, Random, Sustainability

The picture on my blog banner was the biggest “F” of them all

Have you ever wondered where the picture from my banner post was taken? It was taken at the NGCP Substation inside in the Kalayaan Power Plant complex in Laguna, Philippines sometime February or March of 2011.

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It was my first foray to be part of a CDM Validation team as an observer, technically no, since I got my Lead GHG Verification course in September 2011.  I was just the “dakilang alalay”  or slave of Adarne Crispo, carrying with me our personal protective equipment or just proof reading the CDM Validation report to be submitted to the UNFCCC CDM Registry.

My mentor-mentee relationship with Mr. Crispo is somewhat complicated, because I am not sure what is the concrete outcome. I have no idea what competence I have gained in the complicated field of CDM Validation/Verification or even GHG Verification of Corporate GHG Inventories.  Nothing moved forward, as if somebody is stopping my growth on purpose, even my Lead Auditor qualification in ISO 14001 was shelved for three years, even my qualification in GLAD was purposely not updated.  Anyway there is Karma, if my designated operational entity does not want me in their roster,  I can always move forward with confidence, and I have. Though things seemed like I have thrown it on the back burner, that is still my ultimate career goal.

The CDM registry is already closed for emission reduction projects, people are now talking about Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action, Intended Nationally Determined Contributions  and after COP 21 comes the Nationally Determined Contributions. Everyone’s anticipating the ratification of the Paris Agreements, but the Philippines seems lukewarm about it. The concept may not be fully understood by the current leadership, maybe our DENR Secretary can show some good animated materials for the president’s appreciation.   I am very happy now at this point in time working to support some of these efforts.

The Validation  of the CDM project on SF6 Emission Reduction in High Voltage Transmission will always be my first and somehow last CDM Validation project.  I was working at the back-office technically supporting Mr. Crispo, though we would hate each other every now and then, I never really took it personally, unless of course he did. Working on the validation project gave me a strong technical foundation on the nature of SF6, as the most potent greenhouse gas considered by the IPCC.  It is relatively easy to monitor and measure since its emission calculation methodology is mass balance.  Uncertainty is somewhat low, based on the API 2009 GHG compendium. Being in the validation/verification component  of the project, the focus was strengthening the quality of data on SF6 use and looking more into the maintenance processes of High Voltage Electrical Systems.

I was able to use that knowledge in auditing Geothermal, Natural Gas and Coal Fired power plants on their quality and environmental management systems. I have realized that its high GWP was not always considered environmentally significant, due to absence of a local regulatory framework. However, its significance in terms of cost is always highlighted.  A cylinder can cost around PHP 300,000 to PHP 500,000 in the Philippines, the add-on in terms of shipment cost due its nature as a Dangerous Cargo in the EU. Maybe the Paris Agreements can change this in the long run.  Not to lower cost but to force users to conserve a valuable and at the same time, a dangerous resource.

SF6 was not included in the national GHG inventory of the Philippines.  It is not a halocarbon, it is an F-Gas but the Second National Communication at base year 2000 have not considered it even if it is grouped together with HFC and PFC. Some people would call me crazy for my high regard of this F-Gas. Even now working on HFCs and PFCs, I never fail to mention SF6 as the most potent F-Gas of it all. Without a proper inventory, no one will really kow how much we really use this stuff and how much the Philippines is currently emitting GHGs from SF6.

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October 9, 2016 · 4:32 am

I was not photoshopped into the Chocolate Hills

Bohol 2012

Be careful what you put to social media. People can manipulate images. I was not that Kenyan Girl who was obviously photoshopped into the Great Wall of China. Above was an old photo of mine taken January 2012.  It was my first trip to Bohol for Bureau Veritas. After five (5) years doing management system audits and documenting QHSE, I have decided to go back to development work.  I have done quite a bit of sustainable development work prior to joining BV, the difference maybe is that I just don’t own a really great high resolution camera, maybe the next time I travel, I may have one wherever my new work experiences could take me.

Ten years ago, I told myself that my career goals are to work for a Multi-Lateral Development Organization and become a Lead GHG Verifier. Maybe God is kind to me, I still have not achieved those goals…because maybe…my career could have been over by now….one things for sure though, such goals are attainable, but such goal could not be fully achieved if I stay in my current situation.  There are policy barriers,  market barriers, or personally motivated manipulative barriers. People fear the unknown. However, I do know where I want to go.

I am very much thankful for BV that I was able to gain the basics of auditing based on ISO 19011, data quality assurance, even actual implementation of ISO 17020 for inspection activities. These are the recommended Quality Standards specified by the IPCC. More importantly, I was able to get myself copies of ISO 14064-1,2 and 3. Though Part 3 is a struggle with Atoy, at least I was able to do actual GHG Verification work for Energy and Agriculture Sectoral Scopes.

Most of my verification work involved more studying, desktop review of data, recalculations and less physical verification. Now that I have gotten this knowledge, what should I do with it?

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Filed under Biodiversity, Career Notes, Ecotourism, GHG Mitigation Effort, Travel

The Burden of a Hundred Millionth Filipino

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Way back in college, during my days of SOSC I,  there were only 75 Million Filipinos based on the 1995 population census. I just got back the office today to be welcomed by public school teachers conducting pre-census for 2015.  It is confirmed, the Philippines has reached its 100 million population mark this year and the 2015 census is a confirmation.

It is quite surprising that after the announcement, no one seemed alarmed of the challenge that a hundred million population would bring given the limited resources endowed in this country. My first class in resource economics totally changed my outlook in college, the Philippines has lost its endowment and optimizing resource use is difficult.

Why no big deal about this? Is it a good or a bad thing?  The point is, there lies a challenge ahead and no one is anticipating the burden that something like this will bring about.  If there is a population, there is a population pressure. The science of demographics has been developed to objectively analyze things.

However, analysis is skewed and biased to those who will benefit from the data. Objectivity is rare this days, everyone is self serving. The self serving nature will cloud up the data, until things are totally problematic.

 

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Audit, Pollution Control, Sustainability

A Visit to New Songdo City

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I was a bit disappointed when we emerged  from the IBD subway station because it was a cloudy day and we were welcomed by tumbleweeds and grasses.

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The planned city is still under construction.  Building works are still ongoing and the space was wide. We just have to walk further towards the Central Park to see some life in the city.

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We were quite surprised to see a deer.  A hint of wildlife and vegetation for for sustainability purposes. It was such a nice spring day kids can enjoy!

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Filed under Biodiversity, Ecotourism, Environmental Management System, Sustainability

Earth Houring, Crowd Sourcing and Trafficking.

Time flew fast.   I just finished earth hour.  I didn’t stay home, I was driving during the course of earth hour and changes in local government jurisdiction also changed the lighting condition of roads. It is only now that I realized that lack of lighting can be hazardous specially towards traffic, increasing the risk of traffic accidents. Whoa!  Are we supposed to pull-over during earth hour, but that will waste an hour of travel. First time, an earth hour paradox had occurred.

The last time I was active for Earth Hour / SWITCH 2010 when I have to go to the Mall of Asia to join the concert of darkness organized by WWF but the for the previous years I just spent it at home. This year, fully unaware what time it was, I was driving.

Anyway, Spiderman was supporting the Earth Hour movement. Things are changing, because now Earth Hour has funded environmental improvement projects.  Does this make economic sense? Of course, environmental improvement has an economic value and any degradation is a loss of value.  Everyone has a responsibility to internalize their externalities.

 

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Disaster Management, Environmental Management System, GHG Mitigation Effort, Greenwash, Renewable Energy and Biofuels, Sustainability

Beyond The Rolling Hills

Beyond The Rolling Hills

Just got back from Malandag, Sarangani Province in Mindanao. We took a land trip to Davao City and the flight back to Manila was horrible. We have to go through a three to four hour delay due to bad weather. Davao City was on halt due to flooding. Upland in Sarangani, flooding is not an issue but the lack of forest cover is sure less protection from  a heavy down pour down  hill.

Clear cut land is a usual site in my travels and it has been common in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.  Land has not been properly utilized to maximize its benefits. People in power and  the mass and hordes of proverty stricken people have brazenly utilized land towards degradation without foreseeing the possible tragedies that may lie ahead. Regardless of periodic and seasonal tragedies that were already experienced, not much has changed. Population grows grows grows and land is used brazenly, may be this is what we really want small steps towards our total destruction or we just make ourselves blind because not knowing is not hurting.

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November 1, 2013 · 1:38 pm