WeGen’s Education and Advocacy Campaign on Climate Change and Renewable Energy Solutions

So many of the problems that we face now concerning the worsening climate emergency have to do with how most Filipinos – and people in the world in general – are unaware of their own responsibilities when it comes to conserving and protecting the planet.

The lack of environmental awareness and low level of civic consciousness has allowed the destruction of our oceans, our mountain ranges, and our very atmosphere. Cities are congested and polluted, and the countryside continues to be destroyed because of irresponsible mining and logging.

Most of us are indifferent to how we source, manufacture, and consume the goods we need and want in our daily lives. All of this has resulted in a massive and escalating series of violations against the environment and the climate and we are now reaping the consequences in the form of worsening and more frequent natural disasters: typhoons, floods, earthquakes, droughts.

There is no truth in the belief of some that only the national government and the private sector are to blame for the terrible state of the Philippine environment. While it is true that so much needs to be done to improve the implementation of the numerous laws and programs that aim to protect the environment and our natural resources, ordinary Filipinos have a share of the blame: they do not demand accountability for the environmental degradation and destruction that continue to take place.

Start Them Young

Awareness of environmental issues – or awareness of societal developments and their repercussions on life and rights – does not take place in a vacuum. It has to be deliberately and continuously cultivated. There is no debate that the Philippine educational system is far below international standards and that many improvements are needed to ensure that both students and educators are able to maximize learning and develop skills credibly. Given all this, alternative classroom education and learning opportunities have to be provided.

In keeping with WeGen’s mission and vision as a social good company, the WeGen Social Transformation Team has begun to implement an advocacy and education program for children. The program comprises of a concise series of discussions and teaching sessions on climate change and its effects on human life, plant and animal diversity, and the environment itself; and on solutions to environmental degradation.

According to Social Transformation Manager Christianne Santos, it is important to start teaching young Filipinos – even as young as five years old – that they have a role in saving the environment.

“We want to actively advocate environmental awareness and protection, and share these lessons to as many Filipinos as possible. The youth are still hopeful and are eager to learn not only about problems but about solutions,” she said. “They have to be made aware of what are causing these environmental problems we are now suffering so they will be encouraged to contribute to solving them in their own ways – in their homes and communities.”

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team’s focus areas are limited to only three cities, namely Caloocan, Pasig and Manila.

“These are areas where we have established partnerships with community and church-based organizations. In the future, we hope to have more volunteers to join us so we can train them to share the learnings to more communities,” Christianne said.

Environmental Awareness as Civic Responsibility

For her part, Ina Alleco R. Silverio, also an ST manager, pointed out that the effects of climate change affect the poorest the hardest.

“The poorest sectors of our society are the least resilient against natural and man-made disasters. It is imperative they should be informed about what can be done to protect their own communities and to empower them to take action. Clean-up drives in communities, for instance, are very important to prevent flooding during the rainy season. Urban gardening can also be done to generate clean air,” she said.

Most crucial, however, is that Filipinos –both the youth of voting age and adults – learn to become analytical when it comes to environmental concerns as part of their responsibility as citizens.

“We should all consider ourselves stewards of the environment and we should start in our own communities. We should be aware of what local government units and national agencies are doing to protect the environment, and whether or not the factories of corporations are doing damage to the environment like causing air, water, or land pollution,” the ST team said. “Even children should be conscious of what’s going on around them because one day, they will inherit this country. Education really is key. “#

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