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Wellness Words Of Wisdom From Some Of Our Favourite Environmentalists

Words Of Wisdom From Some Of Our Favourite Environmentalists

Words Of Wisdom From Some Of Our Favourite Environmentalists
By Isabel Martel Francisco
By Isabel Martel Francisco
September 30, 2019
Tips, lessons, advice and words of encouragement from Chit Juan, Anna Oposa, Rodne Galicha and Carlo Delantar.

The news as of late has been filled with statistics, real-life experiences and incidents that should serve as terrifying wake up calls to us. Climate change is real, it is happening now, it is affecting life as we know it, and will forever change our planet. You may have noticed that brands, communities and governments are trying to make waves in the direction of the eco-conscious, sustainable and going-green persuasion. With big geopolitical happenings attempting to make change on the macro level, we —each and every person—should also do our part, which will definitely not go unnoticed.
 
We spoke with some notable environmentalists to gain some advice, tips and to learn some valuable lessons. Find out what they have to say by reading on:

CHIT JUAN

Photo by Medal Elepano
Photo by Medal Elepano

Chit Juan is a social entrepreneur who is a staunch eco-warrior and a coffee expert. She strongly promotes women’s empowerment through her endeavours and always supports local businesses and artisans. Chit is the founder of ECHOStore and the Southeast Asia councillor of Slow Food International. She has always been in love with food and is very focused on promoting local agricultural and culinary talents. On top of being the regional coordinator of International Women’s Coffee Alliance she is also the president and co-chair of the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc. She shares her experience, expertise and passion at many international conventions, summits and forums, putting a positive light on the Philippines and promoting excellent causes.

What message or lessons do you want to share with people on the importance of being eco-friendly? 
 
I think everyone can do their part in saving the planet by just doing everyday stuff— from rising in the morning to going to bed. Small things like what they buy, what choices they make in what they eat, all contribute to making the world last a little longer.
 
Why and when did this advocacy become so meaningful to you? 
 
When I got exposed to our farm I saw nature at its finest: bees kissing the flowers, harvesting fruits in season, our free range chickens laying eggs in the oddest places, and seeing the changing seasons and the bounty they bring. I thought about the farm as a microcosm of the world. Then I joined the slow food movement and it reinforced my belief in everything natural. I realised we had a broken food system. Founding EchoStore of course became our contribution to the natural first, going-green movement, and gave us more of a chance to talk about the challenges and possible solutions that every man can do.

How can people be more proactive? What tips do you have for people to start leading a more eco-friendly lifestyle or what can you share to help people go-green? 
 
First, they must realise that there is a problem. Once they accept that the world is indeed making a turn for the worst, then they will be willing to learn. Then we can start with basic small steps until people start to think of their own solutions that fit into their lifestyle in order to make positive contributions back to the planet.
 

Why do you think it is such a challenge to make eco-friendly habits the norm in society; something permanent and consistent? 
 
Because man is naturally selfish and entitled. Until disease hits home, or a grave misfortune like a flood affects people, they will stay asleep. Luckily some read up and get exposed to facts before disaster strikes and therefore are luckier as they are more able to change and adopt green habits sooner rather than later.

CARLO DELANTAR

Photo by Wesley Villarica
Photo by Wesley Villarica

He is the country director of Waves For Water, which is an NGO that aims to provide communities access to clean water. The NGO has helped over 1,000,000 individuals in remote communities across the Philippines set up rainwater storage and filtration systems. He is also the co-founder of a sustainable manufacturing company called Altum which focuses on furniture and interior decor built on circular economy principles. Carlo collaborates with hotels, retailers and brands to bring designs from concept to form. Carlo was named a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum and attended the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos in 2017 as the youngest male attendee. He was also included in Forbes Asia’s 30 under 30 list. At Waves For Water, they aim to do 10 clean water missions every month and has proudly responded to every major natural disaster in the Philippines since they started, and has reached over 50 Philippine provinces so far. Their work includes filter distribution, but also infrastructure development like water well restoration, and setting up rain catchment systems and water tanks.

What message or lessons do you want to share with people on the importance of being eco-friendly? 
 
We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last generation who will be able to do something about it. This message is so powerful because our lifestyle directly affects our environment.
 

Why and when did this advocacy become so meaningful to you? 
 
I have been lucky to be raised in a family where nature and social impact have been engrained early on. Planet Earth is working very hard to provide for the ever-growing population. Exhausted, if the inhabitants forget to compensate for the resources used, we end up harming the environment. Biodiversity involves an ecosystem being balanced. When the ecosystem is imbalance, all other factors change. More people will lead to more food needed. When more food is needed, we end up overfishing or farming more. The race to fulfil demand, stakeholders cut corners like dynamite fishing to illegal logging that tend to reduce natural barriers of the world for calamities like typhoon and earthquakes. Ultimately, we suffer at the end because the environment can’t help us anymore. Its important to remember that our actions directly affect the planet and everything living in it.

How can people be more proactive? What tips do you have for people to start leading a more eco-friendly lifestyle or what can you share to help people go-green? 
 
By evaluating one’s lifestyle, we can look for different alternatives that are good for the planet. Changing one’s diet, for example, directly changes how our environment is being extracted from our resource. Eating less or completely eliminating beef from one’s diet is a significant reduction to one’s footprint.

Why do you think it is such a challenge to make eco-friendly habits the norm in society; something permanent and consistent? 
 
I firmly believe that people have this strong connection with the environment. However, our connection to the environment is subjective. Meaning the less we have experiences with nature, the ocean or animals, the less we care about the environment. The youth, however, is changing the narrative. Like Greta Thunberg, the youth is speaking up for adults to act on climate change. The youth have a strong sense on what the world needs to do to reverse climate change. From adding their voices on www.youthfortheplanet.com to demanding companies to look for sustainable alternatives, there is still hope to reverse climate change before it is completely irreversible.

ANNA OPOSA

Anna is the executive director and chief mermaid of Save Philippine Seas. Within the past two years she has founded the Sea and Earth Advocates Camp, which has trained over 200 participants in marine conservation. She also helped operationalise the country’s first shark and ray sanctuary in Cebu through empowerment and education programs. This young activist has dedicated her time to cleaning up our seas and spreading awareness on the importance of protecting the environment. Anna aims to reduce single-use plastics at its source, and develop the national shark conservation policy here. She strongly believes that education is key and thus is focusing on creating environmental education programs with schools and companies in order to inform more Filipinos on the gravity of our planet’s situation.

What message or lessons do you want to share with people on the importance of being eco-friendly? 
 
Being eco-friendly is a journey. There's no "perfect" environmentalist. Some changes are easier to make than others - challenge yourself but also forgive yourself for certain lapses. Find a support system, research, and make informed choices.

Why and when did this advocacy become so meaningful to you?

It's only common sense to care about the environment. Our lives depend on the natural environment and access to clean water and air is a right, not a privilege. Growing up, I was always exposed to environmental issues and injustice. My dad is an environmental lawyer, so policies and cases were ordinary dinner table topics. I co-founded Save Philippine Seas in 2011 thinking it would be a passion project, and in 2015 I realized that it wasn't just an interest, but a career choice.

How can people be more proactive? What tips do you have for people to start leading a more eco-friendly lifestyle or what can you share to help people go-green?

If you have access to internet and gadgets, a good starting point is to follow local organisations like SPS, Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines, Greenpeace Philippines, and SWEEP PH. Do a "waste audit" to see what daily choices produce the most waste. Learn about issues and ask yourself what changes you can make in your own sphere of influence.

Why do you think it is such a challenge to make eco-friendly habits the norm in society; something permanent and consistent? 
 
Advertising tells us that we'll be happier if we have the latest gadget, newest clothes, and most expensive items. But consumerism is costing us our planet's health — we're taking more minerals, chemicals, fossil fuels to give us things we think we need. I'm not saying I don't buy things; I'm sharing this because this is something I struggle with too. Whenever I declutter or purge my closet, I see so many items that made me happy for a few days and now just collect dust. The key is to be more mindful. Now I buy fewer items, and choose things that will last longer or more than one purpose.

RODNE GALICHA

Rodne has dedicated his life to fighting for a better, brighter future by protecting and conserving the environment. During his time working with former US Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore’s foundation, The Climate Reality Project, he helped organise the Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training. Together with civil society partner organisations, Rodne led the green initiative to push for the ratification of the Paris Agreement last year through #ClimateActionPH efforts.

He works to inspire young Filipinos to take action on the climate crisis through various programs like the Filipino Youth Beyond Paris and Campus Corps. His goal is to transition the Philippines towards its using renewable and sustainable energy forms. In 2018, he was chosen by the Global Peace Initiative of Women to represent the Philippines in the Inner Dimensions of Climate Change, a contemplative retreat for young ecologists from Asia. Rodne is also chairperson of a local ecology and cultural conservation organisation in Romblon called Bayay Sibuyanon, and vice chairperson of Greenpeace Philippines. He was named one of the country’s 2018 Outstanding Young Men and Women (TOYM) and currently leads Living Living Laudato Si Philippines which is a Catholic environmental, sustainable movement.
 

What message or lessons do you want to share with people on the importance of being eco-friendly?

The first step of being eco-friendly is the change of mindset. There is a need to recognise and admit that what we are, our body, and all what we have come from nature. Once we destroy the very source of our life and livelihood, we are killing ourselves.
 
Why and when did this advocacy become so meaningful to you?

It is still so clear in my mind. I grew up in a coastal area in Romblon where early in the morning with a bonfire, we usually waited for fishermen with their fish catch hoping to be given free squids or small fish. Decades after, I realised that about 20 large mining companies were destroying our island. We peacefully fought for our survival and one of my colleagues was shot to death. I found myself then in front of the CEO and board of directors of the world's largest nickel mining company and appealed to each and every shareholder to withdraw their project. We were successful! And now, we are facing this ecological crisis, greater than mining. This is the climate emergency. With the same zeal and vigour, I continue to stand in front of the many financial institutions' CEOs, board and shareholders to urge them not to finance this crisis. Yes, the root of all these turmoils is greed, profit for the sake of the few, sacrificing the integrity of our fragile ecosystems.

How can people be more proactive? What tips do you have for people to start leading a more eco-friendly lifestyle or what can you share to help people go-green

Levelling-up, we need to look at how we spend our money, is it for needs or is it for wants? Where do you invest your money? What kind of industry? Will it harm the earth or make it better? Would it pollute the air you breath? Would it poison the food you eat? Would it harm the lives of your children, and your children's children in the years to come? 

Why do you think it is such a challenge to make eco-friendly habits the norm in society; something permanent and consistent?

The norm is balance. The new norm is sustainability. We need to learn from the wrongs of the past to address our needs at the present while not compromising the capacity of the next generation to live. Sustainability is the new revolution. Let's divest for sustainability and invest in the care of our common home.

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Wellness earth environment health sustainability recycle go green

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