Thursday, August 9, 2012

Virtual Assistants, Sub-standard Homes and Climate Change in the Philippines

Photo Credit:  REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo

The Philippines made it to the international news again as millions of Filipinos are affected with the onslaught of nearly 2 weeks non-stop monsoon rain. Many areas in the National Capital Region and the nearby provinces were flooded. Forty-nine people were reported to have drowned and died as of August 9, 2012. It’s a sad plight of the Filipinos—really sad to see this happening again.

All of these happened while I was inside my home barely going out due to the strong rain and because I was doing a research paper for a client. It was so timely because the research was all about building passive design homes. In simplest term, it means building homes with consciousness about human nature and the climate.

I experienced a momentary black out while doing my paper. But that was about it. The rain didn’t affect my work. I thought of other virtual assistants who are affected by this weather—those who are flooded or doesn’t have electricity. I wonder if some of them were able to communicate what’s going on to their clients who are in different parts of the world.

As virtual assistants or independent contractors, clients are expecting us to provide our deliverables or get the job done in a timely and efficient manner. We could immediately lose a project or a client when we are not performing well. If not, clients wouldn’t intend to hire us again. In our type of business, it is so easy to lose than to gain a client. Client can always hire another virtual assistant who is cheaper or who can do the task better.

Communication is very important for us independent contractors. Because clients don’t see us personally, they assess us through the job we deliver and the way we communicate with them. And without electricity, we definitely can’t do that. So, I am wondering how these guys were able to keep in touch with their clients. Maybe they didn’t. Or maybe they did one way or another.

The Homes

The research paper introduced me to interesting concepts in designing homes and about the climate. It made me realize that many homes here in the Philippines are sub-standard. They are poorly designed with poor orientation, not environmental friend and are using poor materials. This makes so easy for these houses to be washed away during calamities like this monsoon rain, which is not supposed to be a calamity but a usual occurrence. Evidence is everywhere--the shanties, make-shift houses, and, forgive me for saying this, the low housing units.

While there are so many rich people here in the country, a lot of people are struggling day to day to feed their families. What’s heart-breaking is the gap of the poor masses and the elite is so immense. We don’t need statistics to show proof about poverty, we see it everyday. Life is difficult for a lot of us here in the Philippines. And surely that reflects on the houses we live.

The Climate

Pollution is a sign of progress. Sugar-coating a bad concept, eh? There is truth in it actually. It is a sign of industrial development, increasing livelihood and burgeoning population. However, it leads us to our destruction—slowly.

When we talk about pollution, we talk about greenhouse gas emission. Let’s think of fumes coming out from a smoke-belching jeepneys and buses in Manila, the carbon emission from industrial factories, and burning coals—these contributes to the greenhouse gas emission. But aside from the obvious, common citizens like us contributes to this too. Common household activities like cooking, heating, and refrigeration emits greenhouse gas. In short, the more we use our electricity, the more we contribute to this greenhouse gas emission.

Greenhouse gas emission leads to climate change. It makes the summer heat terribly hot and the rain so hard and wicked that causes flood and kill people.

Climate change is real and it is a serious issue.

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  1. A lot of beginning online marketers start off with blogs hoping to earn popularity and loads of money. If it doesn't seems to be easier, they will throw in the towel in discouragement. Instead, at this point, they should feel inspired to find and create unique ideas to get the readers inspired.

    1. I appreciate for the comment, John. True! If the sole purpose of a blog is for marketing purposes or monetizing it, its failure to rank well or receiving poor traffic is such a huge discouragement that could end up totally giving up on blogging.

  2. It's the reality for us Virtual Assistants who only works at home and doesn't get sunlight that much. I really know how you feel Caryl, since I'm from the Philippines and the big bad storms always hit us. Though thankfully, some of my clients are very understanding and considerate despite the country gap.


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