The rise of young environmental advocates is an inspiration, as well as an ongoing challenge to pay attention and take action to the world’s alarming crises
The last quarter of 2019 witnessed the rise of young environmentalists and climate change advocates like Greta Thunberg. With it came heated debates and conversations on recognizing environmental concerns and how governments must lead in taking action. Though inspiring, it also is alarming that it takes for the youth to step out for the world to start moving. In the Philippines, there are Filipino eco-warriors who have been helping to address the planet’s crises since at a young age. Whether researching, initiating projects or doing cleanups and conservation activities, these young Filipino eco-warriors are certainly making a difference in our world.
A first-class honor psychology graduate from the United Kingdom, Vito closely works with the Department of Environment and Sustainability of El Nido Resorts. To help address environmental concerns, he focuses on coral reef studies and surveys of fish species in each resort. The aim is to protect them and at the same time, provide an educational yet enjoyable experience for the resort guests. Vito also participates in the launch and implementation of the Department of Tourism’s “Save Our Spots” (SOS). The initiative reduces possible damage from the tourist influx in Huni Resort, Iloilo and provides greater income to fishermen and books to local school children of the resort employees.
With Anna’s strong passion for nature conservation, it is no surprise that the social media campaign she began in 2011 to protect the country’s marine resources grew into a movement. At present, Save Philippine Seas (SPS) is a non-profit organization that conserves life under the waters. Through education campaigns and community-based projects, Anna leads SPS to mobilize people to act on the crisis involving the destruction of the country’s resources. What makes SPS effective is its use of social media to give free toolkits containing decks, letters, and materials that can be given for those who would like to form partnerships to achieve SPS’ campaign. As Anna shares, “youth can be the leaders of today given the right opportunities and support.”
Well-known in social media under her @sinosicat handle, Cat and her passion for the environment led her to be an active volunteer. She is a licensed scuba diver, the branding manager for non-profit organization Planet Cora Philippines, and a volunteer in Clean Seas Pilipinas. With over 9 years of experience in PR and Digital Marketing, Cat continues to create content and share her stories to inspire others about their lifestyle choices and giving back to the planet.
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Listed among Forbes’ 30 under 30 under Social Entrepreneurs of Asia in 2018, Carlo has been making waves in the industry. He became the Country Director of Waves for Water after seeing the potential of implementing the W4W model to local communities in the country that lack water. With the help of travelers, they distribute water filtration systems, ensuring Filipinos can have access to clean water. Carlo is also the co-founder of Altum Concepts, a creative platform that innovates design and strategy in its home products. The studio focuses on the concept of Circular Economy or the continuous reuse of resources to eliminate waste. All of Carlo’s endeavors certainly benefit a lot of lives, indeed fulfilling a bigger purpose.
Ann and Billie Dumaliang
Functioning as project managers at Masungi Georeserve, Ann with her sister Billie, works together to actively conserve the environment. The reserve and the surrounding areas initially were sites of deforestation and illegal logging activities. Yet the team behind the restoration was determined. At present, the reserve conserved about 3,000 hectares of land and more than 40,000 native trees. The numbers only keep increasing and sisters Ann and Billie continue these projects. With Masungi Georeserve as a finalist for the Destination Stewardship Award in the 2019 World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, the sisters are only inspired to pursue the bigger goal of conserving nature.
Apart from being a mountaineer, a nature photographer, and a finance professional, Javi co-founded Summiting Sarcoma. It raises funds for an osteosarcoma patient at the Philippine General Hospital. He is also part of Baleyana.org, a humpback whale research and conservation project. It is also no surprise that his role model is Renan Ozturk, a National Geographic photographer and mountaineer. What Javi admires about him is “he embodies what a true adventure is. He doesn’t search for fame all the time, and he’s really out there because he enjoys being in the moment.”
Alex is not only known for her music as she is also among the co-founders of Planet CORA, the environmental arm of the non-profit organization CORA. Among its initiatives are tree-planting activities, coastal clean-ups, and water rehabilitation programs. Through partnerships with schools and communities, Planet CORA uplifts marginalized groups and develops better opportunities for their livelihood. Alex also supports Bambuhay PH that develops sustainably-sourced bamboo straws and partners with farmers, out-of-school youth, and indigenous peoples to help empower them.