Saño among 2013 ‘10 People Who Mattered’ in science
Climate Change Commissioner Naderev “Yeb” Saño represented the millions of Filipinos affected by super typhoon “Yolanda” (internatioanal name Haiyan) when he spoke at the United Nations climate talks in November, and it is still to them that he dedicates the honor of being named one of the “Ten People Who Mattered” in 2013.
Saño, who drew a standing ovation over his solidarity plea at the UN climate talks at Warsaw, is chosen as one of 10 people who mattered worldwide in 2013 by Nature Journal, an international science journal, joining the list of people who excelled and made breakthrough discoveries in the field of science.
‘The Climate Conscience’
Nature journal described Saño as the “Climate Conscience” for focusing the world’s attention to global warming following the destructive typhoon Yolanda that killed more than 6,000 people in Eastern Visayas.
On November 20, Saño started his fasting during the 14-day climate talks “until a meaning outcome.” His sacrifice has resulted in the last-minute deal of delegates from international community to keep negotiations on track for the next major climate summit in 2015.
Saño, a climate change advocate since 1997 and served as part of the NGO delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also dedicated the acknowledgement he got “to all the people around the world confronting inequity, injustice, and the risks of a planetary system gone awry,” he told Manila Bulletin Online.
His said he was “deeply moved” that his message at the UN talks has been recognized by several organizations worldwide.
“I am absolutely stunned. To have been lined up with these amazing people who are trailblazing in their quest to make people’s lives better is a huge honor,” he said.
But this only serves as the beginning for Saño.
The University of the Philippines-Diliman graduate said they are launching a program which is similar to the fasting he and other concerned groups in the climate talks did: the #FastForTheClimate campaign.
Saño joined the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), together with other global organizations, in a monthly Day of Fasting for the Climate beginning 1 January. They urge prayer and spiritual reflection to express solidarity with those who are most vulnerable to climate change.
“[We are] calling on people to join us in fasting every 1st day of each month until December 1st 2014 when the next UN Climate Change Conference takes place in Lima, Peru,” he said.
In the Philippines, Saño and his group will visit communities nationwide to highlight the things needed to be done to build resilience against climate change.
“I also dedicate it to my children and future generations from whom we are merely borrowing this Earth.”
Saño noted that even his name will be forgotten, what’s more important is that the message has been delivered to the world so “solidarity and the global awakening live on.”
“The most important thing is to be a living example of what we advocate for. I will continue to take public transport regularly to build awareness on the need to improve the public transport systems,” he said.
Saño is chosen together with Feng Zhang of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge who has been tagged as the “DNA’s master editor”, and Tania Simoncelli, a US science-policy expert who fought to keep genes open to all which earned her the title the “gene patent foe.”
The science journal’s list also includes Deborah Persaud, a virologist which proved that infants born with HIV can be cured, Michel Mayor who belongs to a group who have found hundreds of exoplanets during the past two decades, Viktor Grokhovsky or the “meteorite hunter,” and virologist Hualan Chen who helped China to combat an outbreak of H7N9 avian flu in humans.
Also in the list are Shoukhrat Mitalipov, or the ‘cloning chief”, who developed a line of stem cells from a cloned human embryo; Kathryn Clancy, an anthropologist who “unearthed disturbing trends in sexual assaults at field sites; and Henry Snaith or the “Sun worshipper” who boosted the efficiency of solar cells this year.