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IT has been close to three years since I have been back to Davao City in the big island of Mindanao and mind you it is a great feeling.

New things have happened here; for one, the city has a 30 kilometer speed limit imposed, aside from being it a smoke-free city, with a night market every night.

The people are happy

On our schedule is a visit to Digos and Kidapawan and then Mt. Apo, the tallest peak in our beloved country.

Mt. Apo which stands about 10,311 feet above sea level is still a marvel to visit. We went to Lake Agco and viewed the thermal water and the power of thermal energy that the mountain has. People bath in pools and cover themselves with the mud to cleanse their bodies.

I had looked forward to this journey as I have never seen the lake up in the mountain.

Also on tab are swimming the placid lake and breathing the clean mountain air. Likewise, seeing a real jungle, a forest and a mountain filled with trees.

Naturally they are nature’s bounty, without the need for a single centavo to build. They have grown naturally, blessed with the gentle rain and the richness of the soil and the biodiversity of the mountain.

People get revitalized and that to me is the wellness of the mountains. The wellness of nature and the medicine nature can provide.

Aside from fresh food and abundance of fruits, clean water and fresh air. Nature at its best gives us species and biodiversity.

This to us is the real development. The development and richness of nature and its natural capital.

You don’t see this anymore in Manila and the ever expanding metropolis -- there, you don’t have the basic needs for a healthy life.

Already shortage of food, water and an abundance of polluted air and horrendous traffic jams are symptoms of a way of life that is anti-development.

It destroys lives and kills people. In urban locations, diseases are more pronounced as poverty continues to increase while the scarcity of the clean things that nature provides are no more.

And yet there are those who still believe in passing the buck and the right to pollute our environment. Those who believe in money and -- Carbon Development Mechanisms.

We will never understand this narrow thinking of quantifying life and trading carbon.

It is not like barter or trading goods. It is trading lives and peoples.

We have faced the wrath and destruction brought forth by super typhoon Yolanda, a typhoon that has the honor to hold the world record as the most powerful typhoon to hit the planet -- a super typhoon that has made meteorologists and scientists think twice about climate change.

Twice about climate change; a typhoon that brought Pope Francis to visit Tacloban and our climate change -- impacted country. Our Pearl of the Orient Seas.

We will continue to do what we need to do to survive. We will mitigate and adapt. We will increase our carbon sinks, our seas and forest.

We will enhance them. We will plant in the billions. But we will not trade the carbon we absorb for others to pollute so we can be victims of more Yolandas.

We will prevail and we demand climate justice from the world’s polluters.

We demand that the COP 21 in Paris next year come up with a binding and courageous agreement that will make us win the war against global warming and climate change.

We will march and occupy. We will make the winds of change.

(By: Antonio M. Claparols – President ESP)