Climate change anthology ‘Agam’ launched in Berlin

Originally published in GMA News
An anthology on the effects of climate change in the Philippines was launched in Berlin last week.

“Agam: Filipino Narratives on Uncertainty and Climate Change” is a collection of 26 photographs and 24 narratives about climate change written in eight languages—Bikol, Cebuano, English, Ilokano, Maguindanao, Tagalog and Waray, with English translations throughout.

The photographs were taken by photojournalist Jose Enrique Soriano and the stories supplied by 24 writers, including Merlinda Bobis, Merlie Alunan, Ramon C. Sunico, Sheila Coronel, Criselda Yabes and Regina Abuyuan.

The book, the brainchild of Abuyuan and Renato Redentor “Red” Constantino, executive director of the non-profit Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, was launched in Quezon City, New York City and Washington, D.C. last year.

Last Thursday’s launch at the Heinrich Boell Foundation in Schumannstrasse was opened by Philippine Ambassador to Germany Melita Sta.Maria-Thomeczek and featured readings by Berlin-based Filipina singer Isa Tabasuares, graduate student April Matias, and German climate activist Daniel Mittler.

“The title of the book, ‘Agam’, is an early Tagalog word for foreboding and memory,” said Constantino in a press release. “More than climate change, the book is about people, about what was, what might be, and what is. It is the story of all of us. It is an attempt to alter the discourse on an issue bigger than anything the world has encountered.”

Bestselling Canadian author Naomi Klein said of the book, “‘Agam’ is exquisite: a deeply original concept executed with tremendous artistry. Rather than asking readers to care about the whole world at once, these elegant vignettes distill the climate crisis down to its most intimate and human details. By focusing on the small, the biggest questions of all are cracked open. How do we heal after our most beloved and nourishing places have turned against us? How do we live in a world that has itself become a question mark? And most of all: How can we stop inflicting such violence on one another?”