US ecologist urges Filipinos to help mitigate climate change
By Robert E. Roperos
Butuan City (26 February) -- An ecologist from the United States of America urged Butuanons and all Filipinos to help in mitigating climate change and to adopt the impact brought by it.
This is the call of Dr. Laura Schmitt Olabisi, an ecological modeler with experience using system dynamics, statistical, spatial, and participatory modeling techniques, during the Climate Change and Sustainability forum held Thursday, February 25 at Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) AVR-2.
According to Dr. Olabisi, the use of modern technology is a big contributor to the climate change. "That is why all of us must find solution to this problem. And through planting and preserving trees and our environment in general, we can help in mitigating the effects of climate change," she said.
Olabisi also differentiate climate change?s mitigation from adaptation. She said, adaptation is preparing and adjusting to the effects brought by climate change while mitigating prevents severe effects of climate change by reducing green house gases. "Stopping global warming is not just about avoiding effects that could be undone but we must first adopt to the effects brought by it," she added.
Meanwhile, Dr. Olabisi cited Costa Rica?s plan to be a "carbon-neutral" country. She said, this will be achieved through planting trees and getting electricity from wind mills ? or the so-called "Wind Power".
When asked what to do to mitigate climate change, she said reducing emissions is one of the best solutions. This can be achieved by walking or biking instead of using vehicles, reduce aircondition usage, turning-off lights and appliances when not in use, install solar panels, and buy a hybrid car.
Olabisi further reiterated the importance of planting trees, stop cutting trees, and to implement sustainable agriculture.
The ecologist also recommended ways for the people to adopt the effects brought by climate change. She said that people should prepare for human and animal migration. Reducing human impacts on ecological system especially the most vulnerable such as rainforest, coral reefs, and mangroves must also be considered.
The government should also find ways to develop capacity of poor and vulnerable people and communities ? may it be in skills, health-related, livelihood opportunities, and the like, she said.
Furthermore, Dr. Olabisi recommended that every individual should develop its ability to respond to new information. "Having all of these, we could easily adopt to the effects brought about by climate change," Olabisi said.
Dr. Schmitt-Olabisi is an assistant professor of Michigan State University, jointly with the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation, and Resource Studies, and the Environmental Science and Policy Program. She is interested in how models can be used to enhance systemic understanding for tackling the critical sustainability issues of today.
Currently, she is working on research projects around upland development in the Philippines, land use decision-making in Minnesota, and climate change and the bioeconomy in Michigan. She has also taught ecology and environmental science classes at the high school, college, and graduate level. (PIA) [top]