Director of Earth Saver’s and Founder of PETA, Ms Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, speaks on the catastrophic impacts of climate change where natural disasters are causing home abandonment, including armed conflict etc. resulting in millions of refugees living in desperate, difficult and degraded conditions in the Philippines, at COP 22 Expo in Marrakech.
The purpose of the on-site exhibition is an inter-cultural collection of photographs, paintings, videos and poetry to be a conscientising call for an emergency humanitarian response globally to this critical condition. In the Philippines, super-typhoons have been a major issue in forcing people to flee their homes, help has been provided for some, but many places are still lacking the basic facilities, i.e shelter, electricity and water supply.
At this Marrakech event, in addressing these issues she hopes it will be a reminder that nations should stop political divides and be united in order to work out all the necessary commitments that will address stopping the heating of the world by more than 2 degrees – our small island states are requesting for at least 1.5 degrees to ensure survival and security of our children.
The value of culture is an essential ingredient for building disaster resilience, working towards peace and sustainable development and most often culture is an absent ingredient in development planning, if it is marginalised – development is retarded or if it is dynamically applied – rooted in history, heritage and real understanding as well of language and popularising scientific data, then you will have a catalyst for lifelong learning, the correct mindset and attitudinal shift, so that we will protect the environment.
She addresses how the cultures of refugees are affected when they have to abandon their homelands, as people are reluctant to leave, especially when there is a lack of help provided by the government and other institutions.
Key factors in the handling of natural disasters include efficient warning systems, signage, weather predictions, and supplies for those in need. Delayed responses to such drastic situations make the experience even more traumatic for the victims, as the refugees are not only affected on a physical level, but on a psychological level as well, due to many of them having been separated from their families, lost loved ones, or are in desperate need of medical facilities that are not available where they are.
The ‘call for mercy’ is very strong in these circumstances and that is why we want to use Arts and Media, not just for disaster preparedness, not just for rehabilitation, but more specifically for ‘healing the trauma’ that they suffer long afterwards.
“We must begin to provide the necessary resilience and prevention of that vision of ~ A Totally Global Condition of Refugees!”