Following a successful run in Tacloban City during the 10th-anniversary commemoration of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) on November 8, the People’s Museum of Climate Justice opened its doors in Manila City as part of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior ship’s visit to the capital region.
The People’s Museum of Climate Justice pays homage to the stories of climate survivors through a poignant collection of objects of memory and art pieces that encapsulate their enduring memories of the climate crisis.
Organized by environmental non-profit organization Greenpeace Philippines, the exhibit is co-created and co-curated with climate-impacted communities from Tacloban, Bohol, Metro Manila and other vulnerable regions in the Philippines.
The exhibit features everyday tools, mementos, and significant items contributed by community members, each item a vessel of stories recounting their encounters with extreme weather events and the profound impact of climate change on their lives.
“A museum is a bastion of memory—a collection of tangible and intangible artefacts that carry narratives and experiences of people, put forward to be immortalized,” said Mark Simbajon, a Yolanda survivor who contributed to the exhibit.
“For us coming from communities at the receiving end of the impacts of the climate crisis, this is our physical concretisation of strength—strength that defines our truth, truth that refuses to be just sidelines of history,” Simajon added.
Raise for Habitat’s John Emmanuel Tayo, a climate survivor from Catanduanes who experienced the wrath of Super Typhoon Rolly in 2020, was among the community members who contributed a memento to the exhibit.
He shared: “Catanduanes is far from economically advancing and achieving livelihood security as year after year, we are devastated by strong typhoons exacerbated by climate change. We are always prepared for typhoons, but if the scenario stays the same and super typhoons become the norm, we will not progress.”
Through its exhibit in Manila, the People’s Museum of Climate Justice aims to bring abstract statistics into human focus. The museum’s goal is to serve as a reminder of the environmental and social injustices that climate-vulnerable populations must navigate daily.
“The People’s Museum of Climate Justice is more than just an exhibit; it’s a platform that brings the realities of climate change experienced by the most marginalized communities around the country to the fore,” said Greenpeace Philippines Campaigner Eunille Santos. “Each object of memory on display is not just a remnant of climate disasters. Behind them are stories that show the strength of the Filipinos.”
Santos explained, “People never forget, but people are also tired of always remembering. There needs to be something after remembering. This museum aims to show how remembering is not only recalling, it is doing something with that memory. In this case, it is collective climate action.”
Inspired by other collective memory initiatives, such as the Museum of Memory Against Impunity in Nicaragua and the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Chile, the People’s Museum of Climate Justice will run from November 21to 30, from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. at the Remedios Jubilee Mission Center, Malate Catholic Church compound. Admission is free. Walk-ins are welcome but guests are encouraged to register online at act.gp/shiptour2023manila.
The People’s Museum of Climate Justice is part of Greenpeace Philippines’ 2023 Ship Tour. This year’s Ship Tour honors the courage and determination of Filipino communities that are standing up for justice in the face of devastating climate impacts. The Rainbow Warrior will carry their stories of hope beyond the Philippines to foster international solidarity for climate justice, demanding to make climate polluters pay.
Image credits: Alecs Ongcal/Greenpeace