This is our cry, and it’s getting louder every year. How could you imagine that scientifically, if humans won’t do something about this global crisis, our beloved home Mother Earth has only thirteen (13) years to live! And even with such miniscule years left, can anyone do something about this emergency? Do we have time left to save our common home? Can there be effective ways to restore the health of the planet? Do nations in the COP2 consistent with the agreements in the convention? Do governments (local and national) have enacted laws effectively for the protection of the environment? So many questions, with no clear answers.
On second thought, are we helpless and Mother Earth doomed to destruction?
We are not at all powerless, if we integrate our passion and our love for life, environment and for making this world a better place to live, especially for the next generation, then we can do so much for this global problem. Our lifestyle has much to manifest if we desire to contribute and do workable solutions to help in this crisis.
CY 2019 was a crucial year, yet in many ways grateful being able to do practical ways that lessen my carbon footprints and impacts in the environment. I had an inventory of few radical changes that was done if not to engage myself in a conscious environment-friendly living.
- Limit taking flights during travels
My trips last year were limited, I guess for very good reasons including my environment impacts. For frequent travelers this could be hard. I had only 3 round trip flights to Manila in the past year, and those trips were mandatory in nature. Compared in prior years, most of my flights were for recreation, so for my dive trips I chose the boat and bus to reach my destination. Shooting two birds with one stone – it was cheaper and less carbon impact!
- Grow your food and grow more trees anywhere possible
Last year, with the help of my sisters we finally expanded our backyard garden for vegetables and have promised to maintain it. Although, we have veggies garden in the past, it wasn’t as extensive as it ought to be. Growing plant-based foods is not only healthy and cost saving, it lessens the impacts of commercial agriculture. And what a joy, to watch your gardens blossom every day! I guess it’s more therapeutic. We planted around the backyard more trees – golden showers, indian tree, and fruit trees – guayabano, guava and bauno. I was glad that our rambutan had its first fruits last year! Aside from alleviating global warming, we can enjoy eating fruits from our own backyard!
- Think twice before buying new clothing
The fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to global wastes and carbon emissions, so stuffing much clothes in our closet without using them is mortal sin. And so, never buy that new blouse, jeans or jacket if you think it could never be use at least 15 times! Just few days back, I went inside a second hand shop just to take a look, that distressed jeans and summer dress were not costly and still looked new but I know I do still have mine of those stuff for my need. Women must say no to fast fashion, to share in the unsatiated need of the less fortunate who can barely cloth their backs. We are talking here about need, not the wants. Now and then, I unload my closet and hand down my unused clothing to those who need them.
- Utilize public transport and consider not owning a personal vehicle
Public utility vehicles (PUVs) are common means of transportation in the Philippines, so this is not all too difficult. All my life I relied on public transport – be it motorela, tricycle, jeepney, bus, rail, boat. The comforts of cars or privately-owned vehicles were limited to hitch rides from friends, my sisters or official vehicles. Getting my own personal car is too far from sight, for more than a decade now my driver’s license was never renewed.
- Reduce consumption of single use plastics
I admit that I still have struggles in this area, while I wanted to eliminate them in my day to day routines there are still products I need wrapped with plastics. I have avoided fruits and veggies in plastic packaging, sort of non-sense I believe. I refuse plastic utensils when eating out, and I chose food chains where it can be requested, and always thank them for the favor. I am grateful that the local government of the city where I am based have implemented effective Jan 1, 2019 the no plastic policy for all establishments in the locality, and I admire the political will of the city administration. Now in it’s second year of implementation, the people are now fully aware and have adopted this in their daily routines. It is mandatory and the fines are hefty for the violators. People are now used to have their eco bag when going to market or supermarkets, or buying food at your suki carenderia needs containers now. These are visible improvements and I’m looking forward when plastics are totally banned in all communities. And let us all be trash advocates as a lifestyle – whether diving or trekking, picking up trashes is the least we could do for mother nature.
- Be mindful in sorting trash and garbage and treat this task with importance
All over the country, trash bins were provided in public places, government offices, schools, hospitals and even the lowly Motorola here in Cagayan de Oro. We can all utilize them but let us be mindful which bin to throw our trash, stop and think – plastic bottles, cans, food wastes, paper/cartoon, plastic wrapper, and more. The bins sometimes are down to these specific labels, so please let us treat this simple chore with importance. Especially at home, let us be consistent in waste segregation. Our garbage collection system will be in peril, the mix-up will cause delay, will destroy facilities and will cause more working hours with corresponding costs. Let us cooperate and be responsible with our wastes.
- Invest on environment friendly personal essentials
Slowly, I bought for myself personal needs that don’t harm the environment, bit expensive but not hazardous. My Lush© shampoo bar and soap with matching tins were not cheap, this brand sell their products naked and I believe patronizing them will encourage more producers which will eventually lead to affordable merchandise. Now, I have reusable pads, bamboo toothbrush, tooth tabs, plant-based insect repellent and set of bamboo straws. The good thing is local businesses started to produce environment friendly products, readily available in the local market.
Here’s hoping that everyone shall be good stewards of what was entrusted to us by the Creator, each of us plays a vital role on this fight for the environment.
In one of the speeches of Greta Thurnberg with the youth currently fighting for climate emergency, she said, “It’s like the children setting off the fire alarm, then parents went out, smelled the air and affirmed the house is indeed on fire, but went back inside the house, finished dinner, watched TV and went to bed. If a house is on fire, we don’t wait for years to call the fire department!” This Swedish girl has a lot to say and she is right, we are aware of this sad situation yet our actions were not justifiable, the reactions especially our governments took so long, much has been left undone even now!
So, what kind of Planet Earth we want to leave to the next generation?