I was just recently interviewed by Sophy Elevall, who "devotes all her waking time trying to make this world healthier, for present and future generations." as editor for Save the Planet, a swedish magazine that seeks to inspire young people to act for a better world. These were my answers. They are long, and might bore you.
Who is Esperanza Garcia?
Esperanza Garcia is a 23-year-old Global Youth Leader & Climate Change Advocate from the Philippines currently working in New York. She is Co-Founder and Director of Global Warming & Climate Change Initiatives for the International Youth Council. She is the founder of the Philippine Youth Climate Movement, traveling all over the Philippines awarding Climate Hero's and mobilizing Youth to take action on Climate Change. Working for Senator Loren Legarda, she is a Climate Change consultant for the Philippine Senate Oversight Climate Change Committee. She was an official delegate of the Philippines at the UNFCCC COP15 conference in Copenhagen. She was a journalist for UNICEF's 'Unite for Climate' Campaign & accredited 'Climate Voice' writer for Oxfam covering news for the UN General Assembly & Clinton Global Initiative. She is the Development Associate of Friendship Ambassadors Foundation, a UN accredited organization. She is currently focusing her efforts as an active member of the Planning Committee for the upcoming 7th Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations in August of 2010.
What is your mission/task/assignment?
With the Youth Assembly at the UN, my job entails mobilizing young people from all over the world who seek practical ways to contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, global networking and social entrepreneurship skills as well as meeting with and contributing to civil society formally affiliated with the United Nations.
With the International Youth Council, we seek to empower the next generation of leaders by providing them with the training, resources, and opportunities they need to succeed and bring together and support young leaders from around the world in pursuit of partnership, progress, and the Millennium Development Goals.
As an advocate of Climate Change, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to represent my country as an official delegate at the UNFCCC COP15 conference in Copenhagen last December. I am lucky that my passion is being shared and supported by one of the most influential people in my country, Senator Loren Legarda. With her support, in four months, I was able to travel all over my country to enage over 30,000 young people on Climate Change and developed the Philippine Youth Climate Movement. PHILYCM was inspired by the International Youth Climate Movement, which I had the opportunity to work with, who's goal is to empower youth to take their voices in to decision making platforms.
Which movement/organization are you involved in?
• Co-Founder and Director of International Youth Council
• Climate Change Consultant for the Oversight Climate Change Committee of Philippine Senate
• Development Associate of Friendship Ambassadors Foundation
• Founder/President of the Philippine Youth Climate Movement
• Volunteer for the International Youth Climate Movement (YOUNGO)
• Member of the Planning Committee for the7th Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations
Do you like what you’re doing?
Living the life of public service, I know that I am passionately giving all of myself to what I firmly believe in. I haven't once questioned whether “I like what I am doing,” I do what I do because I have no other choice but to. My job doesn't feel like a job and because I love what I do, everything that needs to be done just follows.
Would you rather do something else?
I would rather do more than what I am already doing. I am mad as hell knowing that there are 1 billion people in poverty right now, but I know that I can do something about it, and I know that more work needs to be done. I would like to join those who passionately feel the same way about this issue and encourage others to join us in helping others who need help the most.
Somehow, people around me are aware that I am an extremely passionate person, because of that, opportunities fall in my lap and life naturally falls into place. Ofcourse, there are challenges, and when they come, they are always immensely intense and overwhelming. I encourage challenges to happen in life because it allows me to develop a thick skin. As ambitious as I am, in order to achieve what I want to achieve and do what I believe in my heart is right, god knows I will be needing an even thicker skin. If something else falls in my life, so be it, the path is paving its way for me, I am merely walking through it.
If there was something I need to rather focus on however, it would be reminding myself to do the basic things in life, most times, I always leave sleep and exercise out of the agenda. Luckily, I eat right because I am pescetarian, other than that, it fazes me that I always forget to sleep most days in the week.
Why are you doing the things you do?
I am greatly inspired by the youth and firmly believe that it is our generation that can avert the global crisis. More than anything, my life revolves around my daughter. At the end of the day, my actions resonates her life. I believe every parent can relate when I say that the world that I am building, and everything that I do, is for my child.
What is your driving force?
I attribute a lot of who I am today to where I am from, the people who have raised me, and having a daughter at such a young age. I have compassion for people in poverty because I see hungry people in my country everyday , and I can no longer pretend that I am immune to seeing this because I know I can help. I know I can help because I was raised by people who devoted their whole lives to helping other people in my country. My father, Winston Garcia as the President of GSIS, my Grandfather, Congressman Pablo Garcia as a two-termer Congressman of the Third District Cebu, three-termer Governor of Cebu. Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the Republic of the Philippines, my aunt, Gov. Gwen Garcia, who has the reputation of being the best Governor in the history of Cebu, my namesake, inspiration, and Grandmother, Judge Esperanza Garcia, and many more people in my family who inspire me to be as ambitious as I can be, so I can help others around me. My country believes in my family, because they have proven that they can make a difference, and have made the desired changes, and I am proud, blessed, and honored to be part of a lineage of brilliant characters.
Going through single motherhood in my teens allowed me to mature faster, but also empathize with people. Having felt a surmount amount of pain and only to be given the best thing that had ever happened to me justified hope. Hence, I empathize with people undergoing through pain, and know that there is always hope for them as well.
Do you have any role models or a specific person who has inspired you a lot?
I have been blessed with great mentors who are globally-respected. Other than those who have inspired me in my family, there are the mentors whom I have met in life who are constantly encouraging, providing me with valuable advice and endless opportunities. It is an honor to have each and every one of my mentors, and it fazes me that I am able to simply call any them on the phone just to well, chat! Some of the mentors who hold a dear place in my heart are the people listed below, and I have had the honor to work with each and every one of them:
Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Chairman of IPCC, Director General of TERI; Rajendra Kumar Pachauri. Shared Nobel Peace Prize with the IPCC and Al Gore.
I met Dr. Pachauri at the UN last August. I recall watching him on CNN one day and the next day sitting in front of him interviewing him for a video that was being made for the UN General Assembly. It was surreal. It is still so surreal that since then “Patchy” and I have maintained a great relationship since and he remains a great mentor. We share mutual passion for the environment and he has always been encouraging of my goals in life.
Senator Loren Legarda of the Republic of the Philippines: I am lucky that my passion is being shared and supported by one of the most influential people in my country, Senator Loren Legarda. With her support, in four months, I was able to travel all over my country to enage over 30,000 young people on Climate Change and developed the Philippine Youth Climate Movement.
Ambassador Francis Lorenzo from the Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic as his intern, I worked on the presentation for the Second Committee of the General Assembly among other things. He has always very encouraging and supportive.
Dr. Tony La Viña; Dean of Ateneo School of Government. I had the honor to work with him durin the UNFCCC COP15 Conference where he was the Chairman of the REDD negotiations. Since then he has been providing me with the most valuable advice in life.
Lucia Kaiser, a well respected individual in the entertainment-industry , she is a generous woman who embodies strength, and has taught me a lot . She has graciously helped me during the Youth Assembly. She is helping in developing a panel for the YA that she is moderating.
Patrick Sciaratta; Exectuive Director of Friendship Ambassadors Foundation and Co-Founder of the Youth Assembly at the UN. I am where I am today because he believes in and gives opportunities to youth leaders like myself.
I am blessed that my passion and goals are in line with the mission and vision of the organizations I am involved with, I work with and meet brilliant and inspiring individuals, I have the honor to have globally respected mentors who help encourage my work, give me advice, and endless opportunties, more than anything, I have supportive family and friends who bring me back to reality when I need a wake-up call. I am always overwhelmed by the support & encouragement I am receiving daily from people around the world to pursue my passion further.
"You are a living magnet; you attract into your life people, situations and circumstances that are in harmony with your dominant thoughts. Whatever you dwell on in the conscious grows in your experience."- Brian Tracy
Your best memory/experience as a ”climate change-heroe”?
Working for Senator Legarda during the 2010 Philippine elections allowed me to see my beautiful country and travel all over the Philippines to campaign for Climate Change. We searched in every region, school and university seeking "Climate Hero's."As it was the elections, I had to constantly travel, I recall being in 6 cities in one day each at least 2 hours away from each other. I had lived in the Philippines my whole life, and only at the age of 23 did I have the chance to fully experience how beautiful my country is.
Are young people engaged in these problems/questions in your country?
As I working during the Philippine elections from January – May of 2010, Philippines was undergoing El Nino. It was very interesting to be actively engaged in a developing country at this time as well as see the harsh impacts of Climate Change and engage with those who are being affected by it. Admittedly, I had met the people who do not know that Climate Change exists. I met people who were going through Climate Change impacts without realizing that it was effects of Climate Change. I have met a farmer with a family of 11, who could not feed his family because his crops were being affected by the drought.
What would you like to say to those who DON’T act on climate change or for a better world?
I am not in the position to change people's minds on climate change, especially those who feel cynical about the effects. However, I would like for that person to meet with my friend Constance Okollet. Constance is a peasant farmer from Tororo district in Eastern Uganda and a mother of seven. She is a community activist and chairperson of the Osukura United Women network which includes 40 regional groups in Uganda's Osukura Subcounty. In 2007, heavy rains destroyed the homes and food supply of her village displacing all of its residents. The people in the community suffered from hunger and thirst. Once the situation stabilized, the community was dealt a second blow and the drought dried up crops and wells. There are hundreds and millions of people undergoing similar situations like Constance. Currently 3 Billion people live on less than $2/day. 24000 children die/day in poverty. 1.4 M die/year from lack of safe drinking water. 121 M are out of education worldwide. These are all preventable, and I know I can do something about it. I want to join those who are already doing something about it, and asking others who can help, to join with us. We can't do this alone.