Philippine Tatler: Words Of Wisdom From Some Of Our Favourite Environmentalists

Tips, lessons, advice and words of encouragement from Chit Juan, Anna Oposa, Rodne Galicha and Carlo Delantar.

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:

Photo: The Climate Reality Project / Jojo Mamangun

Photo: The Climate Reality Project / Jojo Mamangun

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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