The Internet can help fight climate change, says eco-group Greenpeace leader Kumi Naidoo. The current technology we are using have made high speed communication between continents possible. It has definitely made the delivery of breaking much faster than traditional media. It has helped advocacy groups pressure government to be more transparent. It has enabled countries like Egypt to facilitate social revolutions. Therefore, says Naidoo, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it can help solve the problem of climate change.
Each time someone posts a Facebook status, streams a favorite video on YouTube, and types a Twitter message, the information is contained in massive data centers which uses up a lot of electricity. Data centers are a major part of the online cloud system, and one can consume as much electricity as a medium-sized city.
If cloud computing were a country, according to Naidoo,who hails from South Africa and has been the group’s International Executive Director since 2009, it would rank sixth in the world on based on how much power it consumes.The amount of data going to and fro around the world is forecasted by experts to triple in the next few years, as more and more people use the Internet to connect with the rest of the world.
Naidoo, who is also known as a human rights activist, acknowledges that the internet has changed the world for the better. It has mobilized groups of people toask for more freedom, transparency & democracy from their governments. The Greenpeace director says it is only natural that it moves the world to a clean energy revolution that will last for generations to come.
Naidoo reminds people that the Internet that everyone finds useful, and the companies that run it, are at a crossroads in terms of where their energy comes from. Several online-based companies are nowaiming for a green Internet and a sustainable future. Companies like Facebook, Apple and Google have committed to 100 percent renewable energy.They did this in response to advocates around the world who have asked them for a greener Internet. Other fast-growing technology companies, like Salesforce, Rackspace and Box, have joined the rest in making the same commitment, proving that 100 percent renewable energy is 100 percent possible for any company that has the will to implement it.
Naidoo adds, “In contrast, some popular online companies, including social media sites that people use every day like Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr, still power their platforms with fossil fuels and nuclear energy.” At the moment, the largest cloud-based company is Amazon Web Services, a division of Amazon.com. It is the data host for some of the most popular Internet brands in the world. Unlike major online brands like Google and Apple, Amazon’s main source of power for its servers comes frompollution-causing sources of energy that threaten nearby communities and the climate. “Of course, Amazon doesn’t have to remain stuck in the energy sources of the 1800s. Energy sources like wind and solar made up for more than half of all the new electricity in the United States in 2012,” says Naidoo.
The Greenpeace director assures the public, though, that digital pioneers are making moves toward eco-friendly measures, both online and offline. For one, Apple is now operating the largest privately-owned solar installation in the U.S. at one of its data centers. Facebook persuaded a U.S. power company to supply its data center with 100 percent wind energy. Google followed suit by pioneering the use of clean power purchases, buying wind energy to provide electricity for its services like Gmail and YouTube, as well as the rest of the power grid.
Naidoo further comments, “If Amazon and others want to stay innovative and relevant, it’s high time they made the switch to the abundant, sustainable, renewable energy of today.Simply put, we need a greener online to preserve a greener offline.”
Indeed, the Internet has helped influence world policies in the direction of freedom, transparency and democracy. Naidoo is optimistic that the world’s move to a clean energy revolution will last for generations to come. He advises, “These companies can make that happen, but only if they hear from you.” Naidoo is actively inviting the public to join him in convincing Internet companies to commit to 100 percent renewable energy for their data centers.
by the Editors
MILLIONS of Filipinos suffered the wrath of super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan). There are countless tales of death, loss and survival especially from Tacloban City, Leyte, which bore the brunt of the tropical cyclone.
Via a post on her Facebook account, Sheena Junia, 26, a close relative of OpinYon Chairman and President Ray Junia recounted how she had to surf the typhoon’s huge waves to save herself.
Here’s Sheena’s story:
She woke up around 5 a.m. of Friday, because of a loud bang on her door. It was the wind, much powerful than she was used to hearing. She could hear window glasses breaking from her neighbors’ houses. It sounded like the burst of automatic gunfire. Bad weather, she thought. She knew a strong typhoon was hitting the province. She saw it yesterday in the news. What she did not know was that it was going to be that strong.
Sheena tried to go back to sleep. She wanted to because she was too scared to listen to the howling wind. Maybe if she slept for a few more hours, it would go away. After two more hours of sleep, another huge bang on the door woke her up. This time, the wind was too strong that it knocked the door off, and then floodwater rushed in. She got up in a hurry. Her bed was submerged in water in seconds. It was now knee-deep inside her room. She hurried to get dressed but just after two minutes, the water has reached her waistline. It took her another two minutes to get her backpack and reach her new surfboard. It just arrived the day before. By then, the water was now neck-deep.
Surfing the Waves
Sheena mounted her surfboard and paddled her way out of the house. She couldn’t see anything. It was foggy, the water was black, and the wind was too strong that it was hard to keep her eyes open. But she kept paddling. She paddled against the strong current until she reached the entrance of their compound in Barangay Sagkahan Mangga, Tacloban City. She was hoping to find someone, but she could not see anyone or anything. Sheena said she decided to swim along the current which she knew would lead her to the back of the compound. There, she saw stairs that led to a door. She immediately paddled her way towards it, and tried to open it but it was locked.
She quickly stopped and noticed her bag was becoming too heavy, so she did away with some of its contents. They’re not important now.
If the water continued to rise, she might get trapped, she thought.
She knew she could not stay there, so she rode her surfboard again and paddled as hard as she could against the strong current to reach the front of the compound again. She saw a steel bar protruding from one of the broken walls nearby. She reached for it and held on to it tightly. Her surfboard kept her afloat. Every time the waves would hit her, she would fall off. But she was holding onto the steel bar so tight that she always managed to recover. She fell into the water about 4 times.
What felt like forever standing there-falling off-standing there-and falling off again was just really about 10 minutes.
The water kept rising, and brought with it more wood and other debris every time she opened her eyes. Sheena saw a woman floating. The woman—in her late 20s or early 30s—was alive. She appeared calm. The woman looked at her. She looked back. They both knew none of them would be able to do anything. She had to let the woman float away.
Call for Help
Sheena was just about to lose all her strength when she saw a group of people. In that group was a pregnant woman and a child–breaking a door open from a balcony nearby. She called for help. Most of them did not hear her, or maybe tried to ignore her. After a few more calls, one of the strangers looked at her direction. That gave her some comfort. There was nowhere she could plant her feet. She held on a window grill to start her way. She moved from one window to another until she reached the spot near where the other people were.
She was holding on to the grill, and her surfboard. She had to let one go so she can reach out for the hand of one of the strangers.
She took a leap of faith, and ditched her surfboard.
“I almost fell and barely made it,” she said.
The water was continuing to rise when she got to the balcony. They needed to move to the next house which was bigger. They passed through gutters and scaffolds. They all made it safely to the house, even if she slipped a few times. A few scratches here and there but nothing she was worried about it.
Riding the Storm Out
They stayed there, watching people drown to death outside. They could not do anything. This went on until around 10:30 am when the wind died down a bit. They started to help whoever they can.
Around 11 am, the water started subsiding, slowly unfolding the devastation caused by the strongest typhoon ever recorded in recent times.
Sheena remembers seeing a lot of dead bodies. Almost all houses in her neighborhood were destroyed. She had to stay at a friend’s house for three days. For the next few days, Sheena went out with her friends to look for food. Her friends have always treated her as one of the boys, so she went out to loot with them.
She remembers going to Robinson’s or Gaisano–malls that had supermarkets. “Literal na hanap buhay,” she said. (We literally looked for anything that can help keep us alive.)
She’s not proud of it—the looting.
“We had to do it to survive,” she said.
Hunger and Thirst
She remembers being thirsty, and trying to buy a small bottle of tea for PhP200. But they would not sell it to her. She remembers trying to ride a pedicab offering to pay a thousand pesos, but the driver did not want money. They wanted water as payment. She had none.
Sheena arrived in Manila Tuesday, Nov. 13, night via a commercial flight. She now has fever. She feels weak. She said whatever happened to her is just starting to sink in. She said she does not want to go back to Tacloban, but she has not heard from her mother and grandfather who lived in Tolosa town.
If she does not hear from them in the next few days, she will come back to Tacloban and look for them.
Sheena used to operate airport vans in Tacloban for a living. She does not know how she’ll start again.
“I won’t be able to make plans until I know my family is safe.”
Sheena’s fight for survival goes on.
- Rappler Newscast Special Edition | November 16, 2013 (rappler.com)
- Surfing the waves of Haiyan for survival (rappler.com)
- INC conducts ‘Lingap sa Mamamayan’ relief and medical mission in Tacloban City (businessmirror.com.ph)
- After Yolanda: When prioritizing the living over the dead is just another option (examiner.com)
- Meeting a monster: First person account (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Typhoon Yolanda death toll nears 6,000, Justin Bieber visits Tacloban (theglobaldispatch.com)
- Romualdez recounts how gov’t withheld help in ‘Yolanda’ aftermath (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Hell Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned (vixsterbee.wordpress.com)
- In the eye of the storm: TV reporter tells his story (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Politics, lack of command hound Tacloban (rappler.com)
[by Miriam Tan-Fabian]
FILIPINO indie musicians have it more difficult than their mainstream counterparts. They travel to great lengths both figuratively and literally just to be able to play. They get paid little, if at all, and oftentimes even refuse the little honorarium offered to them because most of them do it for the joy of playing music.
Indie musicians patiently wait their turn through a lineup of bands to be able to play anywhere from just 3-5 of their original songs, even. They lug their gear and equipment, sometimes through hours and kilometers to perform in an accessible venue with a good sound system, a cooperative and helpful sound man, and an appreciative crowd all in the pursuit of that elusive “perfect” performance. Thus, music venues are of primary importance to musicians.
Enter IDB, a cool and cozy venue located in Parañaque City, which hosts some of the best and most talented independent musicians from the local independent music scene.
IDB, a combined rehearsal studio, sound equipment rental, and bar is located on the third floor of Richland Commercial bldg. along Sucat and in front of Jaka Plaza in Brgy. San Isidro, Sucat, Parañaque. Although IDB is easy to miss, the gig entrance being small side entrance of Richland Commercial Bldg., it is now one of the happeningest place in the South, the equivalent of Makati’s Saguijo but without the relic feel and the pretentious hipster crowd.
Here’s the scoop on how IDB started.
Home is Where the Music Is
Sharen de Guzman, proprietor of IDB and rhythm guitarist of long-time indie/shoegaze/post-rock band Legarda and new super group The Skeleton Years, explained how he was inspired to put up a music venue. “It all started as a hobby really. We’ve been in the music scene for more than a decade now, and we know that gigs in the South are a bit limited due to the fact that there are only a few places that hold these kinds of events. Being in a band from the South that has to travel to northern parts of Metro Manila like Cubao or Timog Avenue, just to play, we’ve decided to open up our very own place that we musicians from the Metro South can call home.”
Sharen was very humble about the contributions of IDB when he said, “IDB is just your regular hangout spot but with some awesome music, great company, and overall great environment”. IDB continues to be one of the most accommodating places in the southern part of Metro Manila for bands and performers alike. Anyone who is anyone in the independent music scene who wants to hone their musical chops and get a boost in crowd support has to play in IDB.
With its mix of quirky, gothic, and artistic interiors, including a wall-sized picture of Darth Vader’s head as a mural, a pencil rendition of a skull with a tentacle in one eye, a colorful wall of aliens and whimsical monsters, low tables, and even some old car tires turned into seats and tables, how could IDB not feel relaxing and cozy?
Sharen stressed that IDB’s ambience is one of its unique features and selling points as a live music venue when he said, “A lot of people who’ve been to IDB say that our place has this relaxed and homey feel to it. Chill lang daw, kahit nga daw nakaupo ka lang sa sahig, okay na e [It’s a chill place, they don’t even mind sitting on the floor to enjoy the show]. Also, the crowd can mosh (a style of dancing in rock shows) if they want to, which other venues do not allow. There are also these bands that say that IDB is like their home now.”
Indie Music Advocate
This hobby-turned-business has been running for three straight years now, promoting and giving actual performance opportunities to such non-mainstream but notable bands that push the envelope of Pinoy music, from electronic acts like Gentle Universe, a trio from Cavite specializing in ambient, ear-friendly, instrumental music; Cerumentric, an edgy synthrock band that uses computerized instruments instead of traditional guitars and drums; Names Are for Tombstones (NAFT), a one-man darkwave/synthpop band. It is a favorite venue of indie crowd darlings such as Walk Me Home, Neverdie, Pinstriped Rebels, Cebu’s raging girl-fronted outfit Tiger Pussy, The Sleepyheads, and acoustic-garage rock warblers Death To Puberty.
IDB has taken on a non-discriminatory and welcoming approach to organizers and bands alike, encouraging new musical styles to be performed where other typical venues won’t allow it. While it has welcomed mainstays and music veterans like The Youth, and Alfie Mela of acclaimed Pinoy new wave group Half Life Half Death, among others, it has also opened its arms to touring foreign acts, cover bands, fresh college bands, experimental musicians, and even new bands who are still exploring and developing their unique sound. IDB has had its share of being a venue of choice for touring foreign indie bands, such as when Grand Hotel Paradox, an acclaimed band from Dubai, played in the country. It has also hosted interesting events like flip top competitions. ‘Fliptop’ involves two spontaneous rap performers who try to outdo and tell off each other using rhymed speech, similar to the traditional art of balagtasan but delivered in sync to a hiphop beat. The recent one resulted to a fully packed and standing room only venue.
Since Sharen is a musician as well, he invested in a good sound system and soundproofed the venue himself. He is known to be hands-on and personal when he deals with the bands. He is also right in on the case when there are technical problems with the sound system.
One of a Kind
Before IDB, there was Al’s Bar along Aguirre Avenue in BF Homes, another venue for great music and good food where you can just chill with your friends and colleagues. For good or bad, when Al’s Bar closed, its regular patrons were displaced, and were looking for an alternative place to go. Luckily, IDB was there to take up the slack. Sharen was very candid about IDB’s potential competition when he said, “We don’t particularly have competition in our area to worry about, partly because there are really very few gig spots here in Paranaque to start with.”
Need: A helping Hand
When asked about his challenges in running IDB, since the venue operates as a small enterprise, Sharen answered, “We only have small crowds and we’re basically only open during the weekends”. He added, “One challenge for us is to fill up all the Saturdays and Fridays of every month. We need all the gigs we can get.” In light of this, it is probably no exaggeration to say that many gig places are a dime a dozen. IDB though, is a gem among gig places, and in its own small way has promoted Filipino music, creativity, and artistry. Unfortunately, places like these get little assistance from the government. Gig organizers may also be uninformed about the type of assistance they can ask from the government. Either way, there is a gap that needs to be filled.
Different Business Model
When asked about his plans for IDB, Sharen shared, “Nothing specific really. We just want to continue what we’ve started and just provide a place for bands to call their home, here in the South. He also understands that much of what he has achieved was because of the wellspring of support from the indie music scene when he said, “And if it weren’t for all the support we get from them, none of this would be possible”.
And when asked what insights and tips he can share with would-be entrepreneurs, he offered, “Just persevere and do what makes you happy”. We hope and pray that IDB gets more supporters so that it can do what it has always been doing: inspire more musicians, enrich music and culture, and create an audience that will appreciate it, while sustaining itself on the business side of things.
For event reservations and live gig updates, IDB can be reached at 09228678938. Visit IDB on Facebook: http://facebook.com/idbsouth