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Lorenâs âBetter Normal,â Greenpeace, and changing lifestyle to save earth
Congress Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda:Environment protection champion

Loren’s ‘Better Normal,’ Greenpeace, and changing lifestyle to save earth

WILL SOON FLOURISH - Wilson Lee Flores (The Philippine Star) - May 18, 2021 - 12:00am

Can we ordinary people be like the superheroes of our childhood comic books and help save our endangered planet? Appeals for responsible disposal of medical wastes (monthly global consumption of face masks alone totals 129 billion pieces!), nuclear wastewaters and action on the climate change crisis were expressed during an April 22 Earth Day forum held by Philippine Congress Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda and Greenpeace Southeast Asia executive director Naderev “Yeb” Saño through a Pandesal Forum at 82-year-old Kamuning Bakery Café in Quezon City.

Among the special guests who attended this celebration of Earth Day were top Filipino environmentalists and 2009 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Atty. Antonio “Tony” Oposa, Philippine Climate Commission Commissioner Rachelle Anne Luna and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Atty. Ipat Luna.

During another recent Pandesal Forum with speakers Singapore Ambassador Gerard Ho Wei Hong and poet/professor Vim Nadera, the envoy spoke about his country’s anti-COVID-19 efforts, wise independent foreign policy and support for the arts. Singapore is a “green city,” one of the world’s most environmentally sustainable nations.

Legarda urged world citizens to protect the environment and not simply accept the so-called “new normal” of this pandemic, but instead use this crisis as a chance to create a “better normal.”  Legarda urged the Philippines to pursue “sustainable and resilient recovery” by implementing environmental laws which she was principal sponsor or co-author of in the Senate, like the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, Philippine Climate Change Act, Clean Air Act, Renewable Energy Act and others.

Singapore Ambassador Gerard Ho Wei Hong

Known for leading activists on a 2015 walk of 1,500 kilometers from Rome to Paris to dramatize his call to action during that year’s climate change global summit, now Greenpeace Southeast Asia executive director Naderev “Yeb” Saño raised environmental issues affecting the safety and rights of Filipino communities due to the Japan nuclear wastewater controversy.

Saño said: “At the very least, this decision to discharge 1.23 million tons of contaminated water from the Fukushima (nuclear) plant completely disregards human rights and international maritime law. This completely ignores the human rights and interests of the people in Fukushima, wider Japan and the Asia-Pacific region. Japan is known to have a much higher capacity, and more robust risk management systems, monitoring systems, enforcement capacity and technology. Despite this, the Fukushima disaster will always be a testament to the fact that nuclear energy, as it is right now, is dangerous.”

On the ecological challenge of medical waste due to the global pandemic, Saño said a study shows that if the global population continues the daily use of disposable and non-biodegradable face masks, “the pandemic could result in a monthly global consumption of 129 billion face masks,” He added, “International experts have been very clear that reusable masks can offer us the same level of protection, especially for non-medical use. We should find the best possible reusable PPE and use that to avoid further damage to the environment.”

Oposa, one of the country’s leading environmental champions, echoed Saño’s statement, noting at the Pandesal Forum that radioactive waste must be simply addressed as “poisonous,” declaring: “It is purely illegal. It is marine pollution from land-based sources. I challenge those in government to do something about it because that is something that is not just illegal, but very dangerous to the country. We have to take action. The time for talk is over.”

Yeb Sano, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

I agree with Loren Legarda, Yeb Seño, Tony Oposa and others. We should act now and help save the environment and our earth. Here are some personal acts I believe we can do:

Support climate issues. Use social media and other ways to express support for environmental causes of Loren Legarda, the medical waste and Japan nuclear waste water advocacies of Greenpeace, the conservation efforts of World Wildlife Fund, etc.

Unplug, conserve energy. Unplug gadgets, computers, TVs and other electronics when not in use. Change to energy-efficient lights. Redesign our homes and offices to reduce use of appliances.

Segregate our wastes. According to the legislation sponsored by Legarda, we can help our garbage disposal people by segregating and recycling some wastes properly.

Eat healthy with less meat. Eating less meat isn’t just good for our health and less cholesterol, it helps lessen global warming. We need not become vegetarian or vegan, just lessen meat eating gradually to be a “flexitarian” (casual or occasional vegetarian). Buy organic, local foods. Help grow foods in our backyards, townhouses or condo balconeys. Lessen food waste. Senator Cynthia Villar is right: stop unhealthy, unlimited rice consumption!

Change commuting ways. Go carpooling, lessen use of cars. Ride bikes and lobby for bike lanes. Walk more. Retire old and inefficient vehicles, plan trips to lessen many unnecessary car rides. For car owners, keep tires properly inflated to save gas and tune up vehicles to boost kilometers per gallon of fuel from four percent to 40 percent.

Plant trees. More tree planting will help stop climate change, because trees help absorb and sink the carbon that would otherwise contribute to global heating.

Simplify your lifestyle, consume less. Pandemic lockdown should remind us to simplify our lifestyles by consuming less to lower emissions which heat up and endanger our earth. Covet fewer possessions, spend more time with family and friends, commune more with nature. Buy less, recycle and repair more, fix and upcycle, repurpose and compost more for a safer, sustainable and cleaner earth.

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Thanks for feedback at willsoonflourish@gmail.com. Follow @wilsonleeflores on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

LOREN LEGARDA
Philstar
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