NAFCON Congratulates Leonardo DiCaprio
March 1, 2016
One of the most notable moments from the Oscars occurred when Leonardo DiCaprio, upon receiving his first ever Oscar award, closed his acceptance speech to shine light on the issue of climate change. DiCaprio affirmed to the millions watching throughout the world, “[Climate change] is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”
The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) congratulates Mr. DiCaprio, not only for winning best actor, but also for using his famed moment to encourage the world into action. Over the last several years, the need to combat climate change has become very clear to the Filipino people. Warmer temperatures and rising sea levels associated with climate change have devastating effects to less developed countries such as the Philippines, which in the past years has been repeatedly rocked by more deadly and destructive typhoons, killing several hundred in 2009 (Typhoon Ketsana) to several thousand in 2013 (Typhoon Haiyan).
“NAFCON agrees with Mr. DiCaprio. We all have to take action to change the undeniable trend of worsening climate-related phenomena from super-typhoons in the Philippines to droughts in California,” says NAFCON Information Officer Jun Cruz.
“Sea levels this century are rising at its fastest rate in 2800 years because the modern world has become so dependent on fossil fuels and environmental destruction. We have to work together to find better alternatives that are healthier for our environment and our future. It is in the interest of not just Filipinos but the whole world to change things. It is just more pressing for countries like the Philippines because there are many communities including many indigenous peoples whose entire livelihood is already being taken away by worsening flooding, landslides, typhoons and other climate related catastrophes,” continues Cruz.
NAFCON also appreciates that Mr. DiCaprio emphasized that it is people in less developed nations, like the Philippines, who bare the bigger burden from climate change. In his speech DiCaprio continued, “We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this.”
Currently, NAFCON is engaged in an effort to support indigenous communities in the Philippines who are struggling to combat the effects of big polluters and Climate Change. Sadly, Philippine President Aquino has long supported corporations that prioritize profits over people and the environment. NAFCON launched the Adopt a Community Program last year to help communities develop infrastructure and thrive in their education in the face of large scale environmental destruction.
Through our Adopt A Community Program, NAFCON not only works to build things such as water systems in partnership with indigenous communities but also campaigns for their defense against government and military harassment, detention, and displacement.
“Last November I met Lumad children, indigenous people from the southern part of the Philippines, as they camped out in the capital city of Manila to bring their demands to the Aquino government. I realized that the government’s loyalty for corporate destruction of the environment is reinforced by its active suppression of the indigenous people who are standing up for the survival of their families and their right to education. The Lumad children recounted how they have been forced to evacuate from their communities as the Philippine military burn down their schools, illegally arrest their community leaders, and use intimidation to dissuade any forms of resistance,” remarks NAFCON Alliance Secretary AV David.
NAFCON echoes this open letter to Mr. DiCaprio from one of our community partners in the Philippines that draws attention to human rights violations experienced by the indigenous people and their determination to protect the environment and their lives.
“If by chance, Mr. DiCaprio would be interested in visiting the Philippines to see firsthand the effects of climate change on indigenous communities there, NAFCON extends an open invitation to this year’s Oscar’s Best Actor as well as anyone who might wish to go on our annual educational and solidarity trips to the archipelago,” concludes David.