Use Your Power to BreakFree from Fossil Fuels

Today’s youth are playing an active role in  the global dialogue on climate change to protect environment and to find solutions to climate change. On the occasion of International Youth Day, we’re happy to share a beautifully written deep thoughts by a 14 year young man Justin Federigan. Well, when I was a teenager I was playing stupid video games, and he is playing Climate Change volunteer (wow.!! My Goodness). I hope this blog awake the adult and inspire more youth to act on climate change issues, as together we can and we will make a difference.

Here goes Justin N C Federigan:

Our one and only earth is currently dying due to the effects of climate change. The causes of this drastic event, climate change, are due to increase of Green House Gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, and water vapor. In the Philippines, currently we are using less renewable energy than non-renewable energy such as coal, gas, and oil or known as fossil fuel as sources of energy. Fossil fuels are non-renewable energy, which means that coal, gas, and oil are minerals that are consumed faster than it can be naturally produced by the environment.


The Dr. Jean Lindo, once said, “There is no such thing as clean coal.” Yes, I myself agree with Dr. Lindo. Coal is not clean and will never be clean. Coal is just one of the three fossil fuels used to be turned into energy. The other two are Gas and Oil. Coal, gas, and oil, also known as Fossil Fuels, contain a huge amount of carbon (C), and once it is in the atmosphere where oxygen (O) is present, it will turn into carbon dioxide (CO2). The more we burn these fossil fuels and turn them into energy; we pollute the atmosphere with more and more carbon dioxide. In addition, we cut down trees and we do not replace them. The more we do these, we have more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere and the temperature at the surface increase. Why? It is because carbon dioxide traps the heat from the sun causing the atmosphere to be warm. This is what you call the “Green House Effect” which is a good thing. However the bad news comes next, the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes the extreme increase of temperature at the surface. This is “Global Warming.”

The Biggest Sources of Greenhouse Gases

Recently in Davao City, the southernmost city of the Philippines, two coal-power plants were launched and each power plant can generate 175 megawatts (175MW). These two power plants is part of the Phase II of AboitizPower’s Therma South Incorporated’s (TSI) Project. However, rotational brown-outs in Davao City are still happening. Aboitiz mentioned that the reason for the rotational brown-out is that the water level in major National Power Corporation-Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (NPC-PSALM) hydro power plants is below the critical level due to the extreme heat caused by El Niño. Surprisingly, El Niño is one of the effects of climate change. So what/who really is the cause of climate change? Sad to say, it is us, humans, who cause all of these to happen. The increase of institutions emitting extreme carbon to the atmosphere, increase in cutting down trees and not replacing them, these mistakes we do increases the effects of climate change which includes, global warming or known in our country as “El Niño”.

Climate change is here to stay from now until tomorrow. Have you heard about the quote “The Youth is the Hope of the Future”? This single quote shows that the youth can still do something about it. Even if you are young, do not be afraid to do your best in saving our one and only earth. Young or old, we can still make a difference. It is never too late to start helping one another. There is still time. There is still hope. We can still make a difference. So, I urge each and every one of you to reflect on our daily lives and see how we can change the way we live. The change in the way we live will not definitely stop climate change but it will slow down the effects of it. Let us use our power to try to stop, try to help, and do our best to make our one and only earth a better place to live in.



Justin N C Federigan, is currently involved with the Philippine Youth Climate Movement and the Let’s Do It Philippines-Youth as a volunteer. He was recently elected as one of the fourteen (14) Global Children Board Members and the only one from the Philippines, of the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation (based in Germany) for 2017-2018 and will soon organize Plant-for-the-Planet Academy in the Philippines, particularly in Southern Mindanao.

 Thank you Justin for sharing this with Greening Asia, so proud of you 🙂


Why buying cheap smartphone is NOT sustainable?


Mobile Phones have evolved from a basic handset to a Smartphone and with the advent of 4th/5th Generation mobile technology, Smartphones became an inevitable part of our daily life now. By next year, it is estimated that one third of world population (or maybe more) will own a Smartphone. In India, around 3 lac handsets are being sold every day, and the number is increasing the 29% each year. One of the influencing factors for this bullish trend is the small-upfront cost with high tech specifications. The recent low cost launches from the new entrants in mobile handset industry like Docoss X1 for Rs. 888/- (approx. $ $ 13), Ringing Bells for just Rs. 251 (approx. $4) and Namotel for Rs. 99 (approx. $1.5) are few under this umbrella. Rather than being happy launch of Make in India cheap phones, this news is disturbing and strike me think about “How sustainable/eco-friendly are these cheap phones”.

We talk so much about global warming, climate change, sustainable development, but when it comes to buying an electronic equipment like a “Smartphone” we just follow the price trend, and hardly pay attention to the harmful effects it produces at the end of its life. The story behind making of these cheap smartphones & its overall impact on us is worth to discuss here. Through this article, I want to point out “Why buying cheap smartphone is not eco-friendly”. But before we move to Smartphone sustainability approach, let us understand what is meant by “Sustainable Production & Consumption”.

As per UNEP, Sustainable consumption and production is to promote social, environmental and economic development within the carrying capacity of ecosystems by addressing and, where appropriate, delinking economic growth and environmental degradation through improving efficiency and sustainability in the use of resources and production processes; and reducing resource degradation, pollution and waste.

In short sustainable production is about taking care of environment, social and economic development simultaneously. It’s up to us and manufacturer to install sustainability in our life and production of smartphone now or later.

The manufacturing of a smartphone mostly involves materials like glass, metal, and plastic, which gets futher processed in factories, and assembly line in Africa and Asia (mostly the developing countries). Have you ever thought, why & how these cheap smartphones costings are done?


“The selling price is dependent on the raw material purchase price”


“For better quality raw material , higher price needs to be paid”

This signifies the correlation that the Lower Priced Phones are not the Best Quality Products.

It is a general buyers tendency that, while purchasing a Smart phone, design, operational ability and cost are the deciding factors. However cost has the highest weightage. For a good looking budget friendly smartphone (no-name brands) especially manufactured in China are quite eye appealing, but we unconsciously end up buying unreliable (& not-so-eco-friendly) handset. The first Chinese manufactured imported phone, my friend bought was of around Rs. 9000/- (~ $135), which comes with swanky features, 5 inch screen, 8 MP camera, wifi, latest android OS and 1.2 GHz processor, but when he started using he realised with all these good features comes with poor touch screen technology, low speed and low quality camera etc Once, it got slipped out of his hand (Oops!), his smartphone started making all sorts of funny noises and the screen got damaged beyond repair with no replacement available in the company owned service centre. So, the smart phone within a month of its use turned to an e-waste, which has got no place then the garbage bin (no recycling option too).

2.    Manufacturing Cost : – Low wages to Labour

The current competitive market where companies are trying to gain maximum market share sale, cost of smartphone plays an important role. The most challenging fact today is maintaining good quality and high features at low cost, which is definitely not possible without skilled workforce in production and supply chain.


According to a report by Hong-Kong based “Asia Monitor Resource Centre” the working conditions in Indian electronics industry are “among the worst” in world. So, as it is rightly said, skilled labour doesn’t come at low cost and low cost labour isn’t skilled.

3.    End Use Recycling?

As I mentioned about my friend’s first smartphone story, after a month usage turned into a SCRAP and he has to dump $135 phone in garbage bin (Lesson well learned for buying cheap phone). But what he did is adding to E-waste. As the prices are slashing down with frequent updation in technology and software, people are changing phones as frequently as within 6 months or less in certain cases. Who is responsible for growing amount of E-waste because it has become so easy and economical to use and throw a smartphone.

fairphone2_0As per UNEP report 40 million metric tons (MT) of e-waste is produced annually in the world, most of which is illegally dumped or traded, and about 1.7 million MT is generated by India.

Another major problem we face is lack of technology and infrastructure to effectively handle e-waste, or either processed informally leading several health issues among the labours. Most disheartening fact is around 4-5 lakhs child labours between the age group of 10-15 are observed to be engaged in this activity. And I see no aggressive policies by cheap phone manufacturers to collect old phones, to recycle and reuse them.


Of course I know, there are reasons for buying cheap smartphones than not buying. And definitely I am not encouraging you to buy expensive smartphone. But being “Responsible Consumer” (than just smartphone user), if you a cost effective smartphone you will at least think before throwing it up. Let’s work together for better future. Hope you install sustainability now, not later