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A united front through a common ‘green’ goal

February 09, 2018 | Jonas Trinidad

"Upcycling" can be as much help to the environment as recycling, especially with old magazines. Tzu Chi volunteer Woon Ng explains how they can make old magazines into paper bags. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

Story Highlights

  • Seeing the youth as the hope of the future, Tzu Chi on February 9 joined the annual EDSA-Ortigas Consortium of Schools (EDSOR) Peace Camp at Xavier High School as resource speakers on climate change and sustainability. Thirty-two students from the four member-schools lent an ear on how the future will depend on their actions today.

Before a group of youths, Tzu Chi volunteers talk about the importance of safeguarding the Earth for future generations.

On February 9, Tzu Chi volunteers shared the foundation’s recycling advocacy with 32 students from Xavier High School, Immaculate Concepcion Academy, Saint Pedro Poveda College, and La Salle Green Hills.

All four schools are members of the EDSA-Ortigas Consortium of Schools (EDSOR), an association of schools around the EDSA-Ortigas area established in 1986 following the People Power Revolution. Upholding the sentiments of unity and peace fostered during the Revolution, the consortium has been conducting an annual Peace Camp since 2000. This year’s focus is on climate change and sustainability, two subjects within Tzu Chi’s area of expertise.

“For them to understand climate change, this is all about sustainability. The world is running out of natural resources. Young people have to understand that this [recycling seminar] is for them,” Tzu Chi volunteer Woon Ng explains.

Pierre Reniva, overall coordinator for the Peace Camp, tapped  Tzu Chi for the event after learning about the foundation’s approach to environmental protection. He hopes that the students learn from the experts.

“This may start an “environmental revolution” wherein sustainable efforts can be promoted in the four EDSOR schools and that we’ll be able to engage more students to take part in this effort.,” adds Reniva.

Tzu Chi volunteer Tecson Lim served as the resource speaker for the participants, who are between Grades 9 and 11. Amidst the raw data regarding the amount of emissions and projected rise in global temperatures, he simplifies his wisdom by quoting Indian pacifist Mahatma Gandhi: “The future depends on what we do in the present.”

“Every little thing we do has an effect. Every time we go out, we do something, it has an effect. And that is what we have to start considering. Are the things we do sustainable? Does it contain sustainability? What is its effect on the future?” adds Lim.

Through the raw data, Grade-11 participant Annette Yuyucheng realized that minute changes, especially in global temperatures, could impact the world in unprecedented ways.

“The talk with Tzu Chi today really opened my eyes,” explains Yuyucheng, a student of Immaculate Concepcion Academy.


From mags to bags

To help get the point of sustainability across, Tzu Chi’s recycling volunteers from Barangay Pasong Tamo, Quezon City were invited to facilitate an activity. Toward the end of the talk, students were given a chance to create their own paper bags out of pages of old magazines. As these sell for a lower price compared with newsprint, volunteers believe “upcycling” [creative reuse of] such materials can help save the environment.

“We also found out that, after segregation, newspapers sell for Php6.00 per kilo, while these beautiful magazines are only Php2.00 per kilo. And this is too sad for us to understand,” volunteer Ng states.

Grade-11 participant Mathan Co admits that he wasn’t a fan of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) before. After crafting at least two paper bags out of enthusiasm, he thought about the implications of not making environmental protection part of his agenda.

“I just realized how harmful it is for the world and how much it can cause global warming, which I don’t like happening. This made me see things in a new perspective,” Co says.

  • Prior to the seminar on recycling, Tzu Chi volunteers from Barangay Pasong Tamo, Quezon City prepare the pieces for assembling paper bags. Toward the end, students got a chance to make their own. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • A Tzu Chi volunteer takes a roll call of the 32 participants of this year’s Peace Camp. The daylong event draws representative students from the four member schools of the EDSA-Ortigas Consortium of Schools (EDSOR) to learn about upholding unity and peace post-People Power. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • To break the ice, students dance with Tzu Chi volunteers to the upbeat tune of a Tzu Chi song. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The talk starts with a brief introduction of Tzu Chi, explained by volunteer Judy Lao. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are a United Nations-mandated benchmark for countries. One of the goals, climate action, is the focus of Tzu Chi’s talk at the Peace Camp. Tzu Chi volunteer Tecson Lim serves as the resource speaker. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The participants draw fresh pages to fold into paper bags. The activity helps them realize the benefits of “upcycling” or creative reuse. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • After learning a great deal about sustainability, participant Mathan Co (in red) shows his enthusiasm in making paper bags with his colleagues. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Students watch a Tzu Chi volunteer fold the pages to form the body of the paper bag later on. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Annette Yuyucheng (left) gets a helping hand in gluing the pieces of her paper bag together. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • An EDSOR Peace Camp facilitator presents a certificate of appreciation to Tzu Chi volunteer Woon Ng for the latter’s devotion in educating the youth. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】