The youth plays a vital role in Philippine society as they are the next leaders of our nation. Their elders see the nation’s future in their eyes,while we shape how they will change this nation in the future. Our actions are their model; our words become their values; our present behavior could become their way of life. Their awareness of their environment depends on how much effort we put it in to make them understand, little by little, how each step will make a positive difference in the scheme of things.
On June 29, 2016, students and teachers of Quezon City, San Juan, and Muntinlupa participated in the Environmental Education and Awareness Seminar at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA). Mr. Boi Mojica of the Parañaque City Environment and Natural Resource Office welcomed the participants, and also talked about how Parañaque City took the challenge of improving the current state of LPPCHEA through their environmental initiatives. Representatives of the Philippine Coast Guard also presented their program and initiatives for the protection of the country’s coastline. It was also during the said event that the participants were taught that although LPPCHEA is relatively far from where they live, their solid waste management practices in their homes, in their schools and communities bring negative impacts to the said critical area. They were constantly reminded that their behavior has a direct impact to the environment, no matter how far the distance is. The event aimed to emphasize their important role of sharing the learnings they gained to the school community and even in their homes so that their realizations from the activities can be sustained.
After the tour, the students were asked to share their insights. One mentioned that she was able to learn so much from the event, as she was not aware that LPPCHEA exists. She shared that what struck her the most was seeing the volume of garbage present in the area, and how human activities affect the environment. Another one shared that the key to deliver change is to be mindful and conscious of our surroundings, and be more responsible of the wastes we dispose. Ms. Salvacion Aguinaldo-Solis, Head of the Environmental Education and Information Unit of the EMB-NCR and Mr. Chris Villarin, Chief of the Regional Public Affairs Office of the DENR-NCR, reminded the students and their teachers that they can be our partners in environmental stewardship in their own ways.
This is how we, at the EMB-NCR, would like to strengthen the youth’s environmental consciousness: by educating them early, for them to realize that nature is far greater than pictures or scientific terms that they see in books. We, at the EMB-NCR, commit to involve them in what is really happening in their surroundings by bringing them out of their comfort zones and encouraging them to immerse themselves on the actual picture, rather than the usual visual representations, of the environment’s current situation.