“The youth is the hope of the Fatherland,” Filipino National hero, Dr. Jose Rizal said. But what is there in the future for us to bank on the youth to carry the torch of hope without the trees, the clean flowing water, the fresh air?
Arbor Day co-founder Julius Sterling Morton once pointed out that each generation should serve as Earth’s trustee tasked “to bequeath to posterity as many forests and orchards as we have exhausted and consumed.”
The adverse effects of climate change to humanity forces our conscience to seriously consider the responsibility we bear for the children in the future. Good that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in partnership with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) endeavours to wage the Public Advocacy on Climate Change bringing out higher public consciousness on the need to take care of the environment while advocating adaptation, mitigation and disaster preparedness.
Such advocacy created an impact among high school students who participated in the Seminar Workshop on Environment Reporting for High School Campus Writers held in October 2014 at Big 8 Corporate Hotel in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. It was organized by PIA XI in partnership with DENR. Such event not only transferred to participants the knowledge on writing and on photography but it also awakened in them the realization of their being an important medium of communicating the need to care for the environment.
PIA Director General Jose Mari Oquinena urged them to use their talents and write from the heart to move others to join the universal crusade of addressing climate change.
“It is only through bayanihan that we can adapt to climate change; if only we can inspire people to work together,” he told the participants during the opening program.
Counting on the young participants to serve as channels of the message on environmental care, Oquinena moved them to ponder on his question: “What should die in you to live long and be angels of the world?”
At the end of the two day exhaustive sessions on news and feature writing, tips on environment reporting, reporting for radio and photography, participants picked to say their impression, talked lengthily about their commitments for the environment. Their impressions reflected voices of touched souls of young armies willing to wage a good fight for Mother Nature.
A nonchalant, simple and silent boy Sairell Paul Lubas of Sto. Nino National High School in Talaingod, Davao del Norte committed to become “an example” of an environment-caring individual “so that others will follow.” He saw the need to first inculcate such consciousness among members of his family which he considered as “the foundation representing the community”.
Cathlyn Jen Jabagat of Laak National High School in Compostela Valley came up with her own definition of CLIMATE. She pledged commitment for Mother Nature beyond her comment on the Cozy venue of the seminar workshop, Lavish accommodation, Intelligence of the resource speakers, Active participants, Total satisfaction, Exceptional experience. She wanted to spread the news that “being young is the best time to do great things; to love and care for our environment”.
“Let’s become an instrument to inspire and to empower others,” she said while also quoting the PIA climate change national campaign theme, “Nagbabago na ang Panahon, Panahon na para Magbago.”
Wengeliza Serenio of Badas National High School in the City of Mati, Davao Oriental hoped “to carry the torch of loving and protecting our environment especially in our school and in the community where we live”.
“We believe that the principles and insights drawn from this training will sustain our drive for environment protection,” she said.
Vora Divine Siadam Dalian of San Isidro National High School admitted being just “a small voice with great echo” but she committed to be “responsible” in response to calls to revitalize and protect the environment.
“Aside from that I will take part in programs on taking care of the environment,” she said.
K.J. Ruelan of Manay National High School in Davao Oriental shared her realization that “I myself as a medium would be a message” as she committed to start campaigning for environment care.
Audrey Pedral of Rizal Special Learning Center in Davao City had in mind to send a request to the school principal to conduct seminars on climate change and global warming to educate his fellow students on how to adapt to such extreme weather phenomena.
They were just the few voices of the 52 high school campus writers from 26 public schools in the Davao Region invited to join the seminar-workshop. They maybe just a drop in a bucket of water but we can count on them to light up the torch of hope for the future generation to enjoy life with verdant trees, refreshing air and clean water. (By Jeanevive D. Abangan/ PIA XI)