Tacloban City—Victims of the 2013 Super Typhoon “Yolanda” in this city held another round of storytelling through the 4th edition of “LIVErary” on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Entitled “People vs. Big Polluters,” this ‘LIVErary’ volume highlights Living Books, with stories about the impact of climate change to a community’s livelihood, children’s rights, human rights in general, and how it breeds disaster capitalism, said Joanna Sustento, one of the organizers of the event.
Sustento, who lost most of her family to “Yolanda,” said the event coincides with the public hearings triggered by a groundbreaking climate change and human rights petition filed in 2015 at the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines.
The third public hearing on Wednesday in Manila was represented by Arthur Golong, a transgender community leader from northern Tacloban, whose statement was streamed live during the LIVErary session, followed by a panel discussion.
“The LIVErary is an intimate space where you can listen to stories of experts and storytellers instead of reading a book. This was fueled by the need for a safe space where Yolanda survivors can share their stories of loss, survival, and the cry for accountability years after the historic tragedy,” said Sustento, the 27-year-old “climate warrior.”
In 2017, Sustento joined Greenpeace to confront the Norwegian government and a giant oil company Statoil in the Arctic Ocean for its oil drilling activities which, according to the global environmental group, have contributed to the climate crisis.
The climate change hearings in Manila were set as a response to the petition filed by “Yolanda” survivors, fisherfolk from Alabat Island in Quezon City—originally known for its rich fishing grounds—plus communities living near the Bataan coal-fired power plant, and civil society groups.
“The petition aims to set the record straight that the coal, oil, and gas companies are the most responsible for the climate crisis and must take action to prevent further harm,” Sutento said.
“During these public hearings, world experts testify and present their research into the fossil fuel industry’s contribution to climate change, and how these companies knew about its risks but chose to mislead the public, even hiring scientists to deny climate change,” she added.