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Young creatives and climate advocates gathered for climate change art fair ‘Taking Root’ in Intramuros

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Youth, artistic collectives, and climate advocates gathered at the historical memorial in Plazuela de Santa Isabel, Intramuros for a local arts fair, sharing stories and art about collective memory and hope in the midst of the climate crisis.

Organized by the Agam Agenda, Green Dreams of a Generation, 350Pilipinas, and Youth Advocates for Climate Action-Philippines (YACAP), the arts fair entitled “Taking Root” brought together young creatives and climate advocates who exhibited books and visual artworks, and performed music and poetry for climate action.

More than ever, climate movements need to be invigorated with art and storytelling. Culture and the arts help us envision collective realities, and culture must have a central role in building resilient futures.


The local arts fair happened in the context of the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt. The biggest international conference where environmental policies are negotiated, and world leaders meet to determine climate-related pathways and cooperations of many communities, including addressing loss and damage.

During the arts fair, Carissa Pobre, writer and strategist for creative communication of Agam Agenda, spoke about the role of culture in creating viable futures for all. Sharing more about Agam Agenda’s campaign and thrust on “rewriting” COP, she said on behalf of the group: “Culture is not an add-on to socio-ecological factors considered primordial in allowing communities to prosper. It is precisely the system of values and beliefs that encompasses individuals, collectives, and environments, which manifests itself in profoundly different ecological consequences.”

“And while culture, in the sense of living cultures, gives us our framework for relating to the places we inhabit, culture in the sense of creative expression assists us in interpreting (and reinterpreting) our world, and in communicating our visions with each other.”

“Culture lives outside any walls and any conference. But there is a responsibility that comes with occupying spaces of power as well. As world leaders and decision-makers meet to determine the fate of many communities, the contributions of culture need to be spotlighted as valuable knowledge sources for collectively reimagining and creating paths towards regenerative planetary relationships.”

She also shared “Harvest Moon,” the anthology of climate poems and stories from the Agam Agenda and Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities. Featuring poetry, prose, and photographs across Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and Latin America, the book highlights people’s lived experiences of the climate crisis without technical jargon, and is being shared in various places around the world including Washington DC and Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Maria Veloso, founder of Green Dreams of a Generation PH, also shared insights about fostering hope for young people in the country; Faye Cura, writer and founder of Gantala Press, Filipina feminist publisher, spoke about women throughout history, and the need to remember and commemorate their lives and contributions and; Climate activist Johnny Guarin and balikbayan rapper Sobrang Itm also performed music and spoken word poetry as part of the creative storytelling program with poets and artists.

The official agenda at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt includes just a handful of events centered around the role of culture—and cultures—in climate action. In an arena dominated by economic and technical solutions (also called ‘technofixes,’ ranging from carbon capture technology to geoengineering), the attention and resources given to socio-cultural concerns, including the preservation of local knowledge and Indigenous stewardship, come close to last.

Agam Agenda’s global creative campaign WHEN IS NOW aims to bring arts and culture into climate discussions, and place the spotlight on the integral role played by cultural expression in long-standing change. With the transdisciplinary collaboration of visual artists and poets from across the globe, WHEN IS NOW has put together a collection of stories that reflect the lived experiences of those at the forefront of the climate crisis.

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