Walk the Talk: YMCA Philippines’ road to become a Carbon Neutral YMCA

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Last Updated (Wednesday, 29 September 2021 22:49)


Over the past years, Philippines had been experiencing the impacts of climate change and global warming. Extreme weather events and unpredictable conditions happen that aggravate the vulnerability of its population and development.

In response to this continuous challenge, the YMCA of the Philippines gathered forty-four (44) staff, volunteers and lay leaders from twelve (12) local YMCAs for a 2-day virtual training session on How to be a Carbon Neutral YMCA. This effort aimed to provide local YMCAs technical skills on how to compute their YMCA carbon emissions and be able to design carbon offsetting projects to compensate their carbon footprint. Lastly, this is to gain support and commitment of local YMCAs to strengthen the global movement through mindful and collective actions.

The first sessionheld last August 20, 2021 with 3 parts: (1) YMCA Global Goals and State of the Climate, (2) Carbon emissions and Carbon Footprint Calculation and (3) How to offset Carbon Footprint. Ms. Ianne Christine Aquino, Chairperson of the YMCA Philippines National Green Team shared the path of the YMCA in becoming a Greener Movement with a sustainable planet. Likewise, she informed the participants of the latest status of the climate and called for an ambitious action to reduce urgently the greenhouse gas emission because the impact of climate change is intensifying and is continuously relentless.

Calculating carbon emissions and footprint has always been a struggle to many local YMCAs. The Green Team Philippines developed a simpler contextualized template to be utilized by local YMCAs in the Philippines to easily understand and compute their emissions. Ms. Ranielle Navarro, Albay YMCA Green Team Member, discussed the different sources of direct and indirect carbon emissions and guided the group of the gradual steps in filling out the carbon calculator. Participants were tasked to compute their local YMCAs emissions and present their assessment on the next meeting. With this collective effort, the YMCA of the Philippines would be able to come up with a National YMCA Carbon Audit Report.

Different practical and simple activities to reduce and offset carbon emissions were presented by Ms. Magda R. Gana, Program Secretary of YMCA Makati. She emphasized that taking actions begin with data gathering and quantifying the level of emissions. However, the most important action to take into account is our personal choices.

On the second session, September 3, 2021, the local YMCAs presented their carbon audit reports and suggested carbon offsetting activities. Most of the local YMCAs major emissions are electricity, wastes and water. Partner YMCAs from Saohin and Y’s Men Club, represented by Ms. PatcharinAviphan andMr. Colin Lambie, respectively gave feedback during the presentations. After which, all participants wrote their own personal resolution in making the earth a sustainable planet and together recited the pledge of commitment in unison.

Finally, in order to keep track of the local initiatives and communicate with our partners globally, the YMCA of the Philippines launch a Sustainability Website. Ms. Almayne Joyce Mayor, Albay YMCA Admin Officer, presented to the group the features of the website and how it will benefit the movement in the long run. The site will serve as a monitoring tool to track each local YMCAs carbon emission and feature green activities and programs being implemented by local YMCAs.

The training was concluded by Mr. PablitoTabucol, National General Secretary of YMCA Philippines, he commended the organizing team, partners and participants for the fruitful output and productive training. Also, he appreciated the commitment of all the local YMCAs to take the challenge and step up towards the goal of being a Carbon Neutral YMCA. He believed that there are numerous opportunities that everyone can do and now is the right time to make it happen.


By: IANNE CHRISTINE J. AQUINO, YMCA Philippines Green Team Chair