Every time that we celebrate Earth Day, people, writers, speakers, and environmentalist alike around the world shares steps or tips on how to take part on their own little way for the betterment of the Earth. They often express things which previous laws aims yet failed to achieve. Others would even pass policy or laws to enforce the initiatives of the few. Yet, still, numerous opt to be indifferent to the cry of the Earth which translate to the cry of the poor who are mostly affected.
Sadly, after Earth Day commemoration, we easily forget what we have read from social media platform posts. We go back to our business of destroying once again the land where we stand and hold us together. We continue once again throwing garbage, plastics, digging holes through mining and air pollution.
This time, rather than writing tips on how to contribute for the rehabilitation of Earth’s Health which many have written already, I will mention personalities who I believed had worked hard and contributed for the influence of many to rethink their relationship with Mother Earth especially here in the Philippines.
- Von Hernandez- he championed as a Filipino environmental activist and spearheaded on organizing against waste incineration. He received the Goldman Environmental Prize that has been dubbed as the “Nobel Prize for the environment,” last April 2003. Amidst the fight and the Clean Air Act of 1999, Hernandez sees the struggle against waste incineration is far from over.
- Fr. Edwin (Fr. Edu) Gariguez- I personally knew the person because he is the executive secretary of the CBCP-National Secretariat for Social Action where I am also working at the moment. Fr. Edu’s passion for service towards the poor and his fight against mining is inevitably reflected on his life. He has been championing on the decade long campaign against large-scale nickel mining in Mindoro that affected the Indigenous People’s community. He will also be receiving the Goldman Environmental Prize this April 2017. He is motivated by his religious belief and the strong desire to uphold and protect the people and the environment. He is a co-founder of Alliance Against Mining (ALAMIN) and a co-convener with Alyansang Tigil Mina (ATM). At present, he continues to challenge the government, politicians, leaders and even the Catholic Church herself on enforcing and promoting environmental protection initiatives.
- Gina Lopez- she is the current Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR). She is an outspoken environmental activist criticizes the mining industry on the Philippines due to its oppressive effects to the environment and to the people. Her presence had threatened the mining industry. But, it also made a clear wakening fist to all mining industry to be responsible and pro-active for the people. She always cares for the welfare of the affected communities and people in the mining areas and other environmental affected areas. Across the country, all and other environmental activist supports her especially her causal fight for the environment.
- Jayme Navarro- he uses pyrolysis technology converting trash plastics into less sulfuric Diesel, Gasoline and LPG. He was an undergraduate of commerce and had become passionate on the versatility of plastics. He started recycling around 1970 of plastic scraps to make plastic twine, straws and sticks in Bacolod. In 1983, he experimented and was able to produce liquid hydrocarbons. In 2007, Mr. Navarro found a great way of recycling plastic bags. He found the best process of converting reject plastic into fuel. His invention was patented with intellectual property last November 2008. He was able to put-up his company Poly-Green Technology and resources, Inc.
- Joy Onozawa- an architect who takes her advocacy to heart and applies it even to work in architecture. It was in her work in Plantation Bay owners she was able to apply environmental-friendly techniques in building methods. The green architect is an outstanding example of what we all ought to be – driven to nurture not only ourselves, but also the Earth.
- Antonio Oposa Jr. – he believes that the worsening situation of marine ecosystem can be reversed for the sake of future generation particularly on the Visayan Sea. He popularized the “Oposa Doctrine” that argues that the interests of future generation could be protected in court. In 1999, he supported a group of citizens that sued the government as liable for the pollution of Manila Bay. He founded Law of Nature or Batas Kalikasan with three-pronged strategy of engineering, enforcement and education. He is a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee.
Above are few Filipino environmental activist who have been influential in the past years. There might have been a lot more people working hard for the protection of Mother Earth. We wish to know them too. If you have know a person or someone from your place who devoutly put much effort and life for the protection of our Mother Nature, please do not hesitate to share his or her life story. May we be influenced through their examples.