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The kids today, they don’t care much about the environment!

I know that sounds too “old and preachy” but it’s true. I am not saying that all of them are like that but a lot of them don’t really have that sense of care we had growing up in the 90s, back when “caring for the environment” was one of main agenda not only here in the Philippines but all over the world.

I used to be part of a movement called “Clean Up The World” – we plant trees, clean-up barangays and even hold annual clean up campaigns at Manila Bay. Our goal is to raise awareness and inspire other young people to do the same in their own neighborhoods.

Fast forward to today, I walked around the streets of Manila and I see kids everywhere just throwing their trashes anywhere. And these are kids in school uniforms. What’s worse is that adults and even our men uniforms are tolerating these kinds of behavior.

After seeing a boy who just disposed of his empty plastic cup on the street near a police station, I immediately asked one of the adults there who I believe was a barangay official, if it’s okay for those kids to just throw their garbage anywhere in that area, and he said something like,

“Makukulit yan mga yan e, hindi mapag-sabihan. Di bale lilinisin naman yan mamaya nung nagtititnda.” (Those kids are too stubborn, they cannot be reasoned with. Anyway, the street vendor will clean all of that later)

Having someone to clean up their mess is good and all but what we don’t realize is that by tolerating this behavior, we are neglecting our responsibility as adults to teach the youth the value of caring for the environment, being responsible and respectful.

So I guess the environmental awareness campaigns two decades ago are not as effective as we have hoped for. And I think the problem lies with the fact that after the 90s, a lot of environmental campaigns died down because there are no support system to help make it sustainable.

And sadly, “clean up” campaigns today like the one trending in social media right now are just for publicity purposes only.

But there are however some good news that I recently came across with.

For example the DOLE Philippines sponsored SUNSHINE HEROES recycling campaign which aims to support five (5) public schools in Metro Manila, selected primarily for having the most number of students this year to maximize the impact of the program.

SUNSHINE HEROES is a DOLE Philippines CSR and sustainability drive centered on engaging schoolchildren and instilling within them the passion to embrace sustainability through recycling, as a lifestyle and progressive movement.

It involves putting up material recovery facilities (MRFs) in the five (5) selected pioneer schools in Metro Manila. Students will be requested to bring household recyclable wastes to the facility. The trash will then be sold to local recyclers once it reaches a certain amount. Money generated from this program will go directly to the school to help fund other school activities.

“Recycling is a habit that needs to form early. We need to teach kids that all the trash they see laying around our streets and clogging our waterways is because we need more recycling and less trash,” says Ashvin Subramanyam, Vice President for Marketing and Innovations for Dole Asia, during the launch held at Fairmont Makati last July 13.

Helping them with this endeavor are the groups Gone Adventurin’, Mother Earth Foundation and of course the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Noel Casanova (General Manager, DOLE Asean Cluster), Engr. Eligio Ildefonso (DENR), Ashvin Subramanyam (VP Marketing & Innovations, DOLE Asia) and Ashwin Subramaniam (CEO & Founder, Gone Adventurin)

Also part of Dole Philippines’ sustainability drive involves conducting a series of recycling workshops and forums aimed at educating kids about the importance of recycling.

Another fun aspect of the campaign will be the introduction of four (4) recycling characters to promote a more engaging way for Filipinos to understand the idea of recycling and sustainability. Each character—inspired by endemic creatures here in the Philippines like the carabao, the Philippine Eagle, the pawikan, and the tarsier—represents a type of ecosystem that forms the core of Dole Philippines’ waste recycling initiative: trees, air, water, and land.

With its long-standing commitment to spread the sunshine for generations to come, Dole Philippines’ Sunshine Heroes campaign is reigniting the idea of household recycling by educating the youth and shaping them into future environmental leaders.

The challenge behind the campaign stems from the fact that the current generation of young adults and household decision-makers were not raised in a recycling culture. Changing these habits, based on global experience, takes at least a generation.

And DOLE Philippines aims to build a community of young SUNSHINE HEROES today… for the future.

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raindeocampo

Writer, Wanderer, Child of God

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