The Philippines can raise its voice loudly in the international stage against global warming- Garrity

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The discussion during the 13th SESAM ExChanges last April 16, 2024 circled around landscapes, people and planet, featuring Dr. Dennis Garrity, former Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre. SESAM ExChanges is an environmental challenges and solution seminar series organized by the University of the Philippines-School of Environmental Science and Management (UPLB-SESAM).

Dr. Garrity, a systems agronomist and research leader whose career has focused on improving small-scale farming systems in the tropics. He has been serving as drylands ambassador for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, emphasizing the role of agroforestry, evergreen agriculture and landcare for sustainable land management.

He currently chairs Global Evergreening Alliance based in Victoria, Australia. It is a partnership of nearly all of the major development and conservation organizations around the world. In addition, Dr. Garrity also chairs Landcare International, worldwide effort to support grassroots community-based natural resource management.

Meanwhile in his opening speech, Dr. Rico C. Ancog, Dean of SESAM, expressed his appreciation to Dr. Garrity who has been doing plenty of research and other related endeavors in environmental science. “His ideas are quite not the norm now, but we are inviting everyone to have an open mind because any complex problems will really require thinking out-of-the-box, meaning maybe not within the usual norm, but that is precisely the role of the academic community,” Dr. Ancog said.

Dr. Garrity is a supporter of SESAM for decades. “I’ve followed the development of the School of Environmental Science and Management ever since it started out as the hydro-ecology project under the leadership of Dr. Percy Sajise in 1975 when I was a graduate student in UPLB and he was my professor in advanced ecology,” Dr. Garrity said.

In his lecture entitled “human and ecosystems vulnerability to accelerated global heating in the Philippines, so what’s the plan?” Dr. Garrity stressed the importance of improving small-scale farming systems in the tropics. “The earth is cooking and the ecosystem is bearing the brunt of it, along with billions of vulnerable people and the organisms that we share with in this beautiful planet,” he added.

“The policy implication of such a prospect for the Philippines is such enormous, the question is how can we inform the Philippine public and political leaders that it is not necessary just to sit back and wait for disaster to happen, the Philippines can raise its voice in the international stage and call vigorously for more research and development in these science-based solutions,” Dr. Garrity stressed. 

In the synthesis and closing remarks, Dr. Antonio Contreras, Professor, SESAM said that Dr. Garrity’s presentation was very scientifically warranted and necessary. “It is an eye-opener for all of us, which highlighted specifically what needs to be reinforced and replicated to solve the crisis we have now,” Dr. Contreras said.

SESAM ExChanges is organized by the Continuing Education and Training Division (CETD) of SESAM. More than 400 attended via Zoom and Facebook Live. 

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