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Getting to Know Renee Karunungan

By November 22, 2015 No Comments

Renee is a 26-year old Communications Director of Dakila- a group of artists, students, and individuals committed to working together to creatively spark social consciousness formation towards social change.

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We asked her 10 questions relevant to her role now as a Climate Tracker and here are her answers:

I don’t think I’m an environmentalist as much as I am a human rights defender who believes in social justice. I see the issue of climate not as an environmental problem but ultimately a problem of social justice and human rights — where the poor become poorer and suffer the most and where they are continuously harmed by the rich. I’ve been involved in climate campaigning since I was in the university. My first involvement was through Tik Tok Pilipinas, a campaign for climate justice during COP15 in Copenhagen. What drew me into climate campaigning was knowing that the way we can solve this crisis is by changing the system

Primarily the issues of developing countries like adaptation and loss and damage. Coming from the Philippines and seeing how the impacts of climate change affect lives, I believe that these two are crucial to achieving climate justice. We need to make rich countries accountable for the harm they have done.

70% mitigation of carbon by 2030 is good and ambitious. However, the Philippines’ INDC needs to be clear on how to achieve this. It also needs to commit to its INDC even if the government keeps saying everything is on conditional basis. What we need to see are concrete action plans that are sincere in achieving targets.

I think we all bring something different to the team. For me, I believe I have the skill to write articles that can go viral and reach a wide audience.

Just because it isn’t happening (yet) to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t already a matter of life and death for millions of others.

Online, there are climate deniers trolling my social media and commenting on my articles. They come in hoards and they would not stop for days. In real life, I wrote an article against a big company (Petron) about the pollution and human rights violations their coal power plants cause in Bataan. They contacted me and I was on guard on what they might do. Thankfully they didn’t sue me. I understand there will always be these battles with big companies I target in my articles.

Having people read my articles, being tapped as a speaker in forums for young people, being asked by the government to become one of its young advocates for its national campaign. The best part is when I get messages from other young people saying they have become interested in climate campaigning or that they are inspired to act on climate because of what I do and the things I write.

I would change the way our system was built and the way our lives were built around this system. I would like a system of greed and selfishness change to one of sharing and selflessness. 

John Lennon, Pablo Neruda, and Frida Kahlo. Imagine the music, poetry, and conversations in that island.

I have seven tattoos and I used to wear my hair blue. 🙂

And just recently, she had a Facebook post against a company on their adIt was picked up by Local News When In Manila, and Coconuts ManilaThe bank involved eventually apologized.

Apart from that, here are some of the articles Renee wrote:

Why shifting to brown rice matters (This was shared 13,000 times.)

What Paris means for every Filipino (This was shared 4,000 times.)


Angeli Guadalupe

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