Ilocos Sur state U makes climate change program a serious business By Imelda C. Rivero, PIA, Ilocos Sur

VIGAN CITY – For two decades, the state-run University of Northern Philippines (UNP) here has worked on strengthening its climate change program.

Dr. Gilbert Arce, school president, said climate activities are integrated in the school’s over-all curriculum and extension services to communities such as coastal cleaning and growing trees.

“Fighting climate change is a global fight, and every individual’s fight. The challenge is for every Filipino, for every Ilocano,” Arce said.

The Growing Trees program of the university, for example, requires each student to plant, take care and safeguard the trees they plant until they grow tall and strong.

“It is not just planting trees because planting only ends there. Trees planted are left alone to thrive by themselves. At UNP, these trees are given the tender loving care they deserve to grow strong and tall,” Arce added.
In 2013, the school had five reforestation projects in the province covering 195 households. Its 18 environment and health education seminars on climate change, disaster preparedness to enhance the residents’ awareness on environmental and sanitation protection helped 1,166 residents. Its five coastal clean-ups helped residents became aware on proper coastal resource management and waste disposal.

The school is looking at ways to use solar-powered street lighting system to reduce carbon emission in the campus.

It also started a research on a biogas project in Barangay Quimmarayan in Santo Domingo town. This will help develop a model community that uses renewable energy for the whole province to adopt.

Other researches include determining the influence of certain weather parameters from 2008 to 2012 on crops like rice, corn, onions, garlic and tobacco to establish a date base for adaptation policies for resilience and sustainability through years of unpredictable weather conditions.

The establishment of fruit tree nursery in the school will help conserve endangered indigenous fruit and forest trees. The study on the level of awareness, practice on mitigation and adaptation on climate change of the indigenous peoples of Ilocos Sur will prepare and educate them to be economically stable through hard days of global warming.#