My eco-adventure group, the LEAD Movement, was tasked to be one of the speakers at the Earth Hour 2009, organized by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte, in cooperation with the Ilocos Norte Medical Society, on March 28, 2009. I wanted the group’s advocacy to be heard that’s why I jumped at the opportunity to speak before a possible diverse crowd of government officials and employees, students, doctors, media, plain observers, and those who wanted to make a difference by simply being there.
I was the third speaker after Chairman Balintec for the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative (INEC) and Mrs. Felina Rosales for the Green Ilocos Norte Network and Advocacy (GINNA). Both of them gave long speeches and I felt jittery that my half page, about 2 and a half minute speech, might not be enough to influence at least some people in the crowd. The guys in my group, all shy (arghh!), were in a dark area somewhere near the Provincial Capitol garden. Fellow LEAD member and my BFF, Ona Medina, arrived just in time to give me boost. Go, go, go! – she cheered while I mustered all the confidence I could. Here’s the testimony I gave…
When the plastic bag was created, Man said “wow!”; then came the disposable diapers, Man said “How convenient.”; then came beer in cans, Man said, “great!”; and then came all sorts of goods and gadgets and Man wanted to have them all.
Cool your jets, people! The world is quickly running out of space. Even the air we breathe and the water we drink have become global garbage cans.
On behalf of the LEAD Movement, I urge each and every one of us here tonight to shift gears and adopt a more responsible lifestyle. Let us start with the 3 Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – a concept that is “affordable, achievable and transformative.”
When we lessen the waste we produce, we don’t only save money and create jobs through recycling, we also prevent water pollution, shrink our carbon footprints, extend the lives of existing landfills and reduce the need for new ones, save energy by decreasing the extraction and refinement of raw materials for the manufacture of new products, and most importantly, we conserve our natural resources for a more sustainable living.
We don’t need all of these things out in the market today. Sooner or later, these things will be sitting among junk and garbage, then our children will say, “What a frickin’ mess!”, and they will never, ever, forget us.
There is still hope for the future of our environment.
When we heal ourselves, we heal the earth; and when we heal the earth, we heal ourselves. Think green earth now … E.a.r.t.h. … Earth. E for Environmental; a for awakening; t for transformation; r for responsibility, shared responsibility; h for hope.
Let us please use 12 seconds of earth hour to introspect in silence………
Ilocos Norte… yes, we can! (Everybody, please say it again.)
Walang Plastikan!! Spread the word.
On my way back to where Ona was standing, I felt exhilarated. Since the pre-Earth Hour meeting at the Provincial Capitol (wherein my good friend, fellow LEADer, Benny Arce and I couldn’t get an answer from anyone for the proposals we made – the total banning of plastics in the province, from him – and using Earth Day 2009 to form a coalition or a joint-forces agreement to protect the environment, from me), I was itching to let them know why we made the suggestions. We were left hanging at the meeting – that’s how I felt. When we were invited, we thought all the invitees would sit down to work on an action plan for the month-long Earth Day celebration. We didn’t know that preparations were already made prior to the meeting. Manong Benny didn’t come to Earth Hour. Perhaps, he meditated somewhere else.
If only we could be another Bohol or Palawan… Our province has everything, but not a solid environmental protection program that encourages community and ngo participation. I was part of the technical working group that helped draft the Ilocos Norte Environment Code of 2007. Part of the code is the formation of an environment council. During the long evenings that we brainstormed for the EC, I suggested that an environment watch hotline be made to make things easier. 2 years have already passed, but I still hear and see timber poaching and slash and burn farming in the mountains; blast fishing in our waters; garbage piling up not on the main streets, but under the bridges (go check out the La Paz bridge) and in numerous obscure coastal communities; sport hunting among the rich in Ilocos Norte and many other illegal activities that go on even if we have the Environment Code that is supposed to be the basis for cases to be filed against these environmental crimes. I just noticed that in the province, there is no solidarity when it comes to the environment. The same care that is given to heritage sites and landmarks should be given to our abundant natural wealth – wouldn’t it be one great legacy for the next generations?
For spearheading Earth Hour 2009 in Ilocos Norte, I salute Governor Michael Keon and the Ilocos Norte Medical Society. Thank you – from the Laoag Eco-Adventure Development Movement (LEAD Movement) Inc.
To Ilocos Norte, let us E.a.r.t.h. now.