Problem Child

Isa-isang nagsiakyatan sa entablado ang mga batang nagtapos sa elementarya upang tanggapin ang kanilang mga diploma. Pilit kong inalala kung sila’y naging estudyante ko. It’s either my memory is failing me or nag-undergo sila ng growth spurt at sadyang nagbago na ang mga itsura.

Ngunit nakakaaliw lang na iyong mga itinuturing na problem child or children , kasi marami sila, ay nakatatak pa sa aking utak. Ito iyong bully… iyong palaging pinapagalitan… iyong pasaway.

Dahil ako iyong super strict teacher, may pagkakataong nililipat sa akin iyong mga sobrang makukulit. So ayun nga, itong estudyanteng ito, ako na ang magha-handle. Siyempre ayaw daw niya sa class ko. I wouldn’t blame him. Sino ba naman ang may gusto sa terror na tulad ko. Gustong tumakas ng bata. Sorry siya mas mabilis ako. Hinawakan ko siya sa kamay and didn’t let go. Nag-holding hands while walking kami around the campus, para lang kumalma ang bata. Kinalauna’y wala na siyang nagawa kundi pumasok sa klase ko.

Binigyan ko siya ng libro na lubos niyang ikinatuwa, todo pasikat pa sa kaklase. Hindi pa rin nawala ang pagpapasaway niya ngunit sa tingin ko’y nag-effort naman siyang magpakatino. At nagbunga ang mga efforts niya dahil nakagpag-graduate na. Isa ring accomplishment ito para sa amin na naging guro niya.

Noong nagtuturo pa ako, natanong ko kung ako’y ba’y pinaparusahan. Mahirap kasi maging teacher. Maraming sakripisyo, kaunti o walang recognition. But looking back, those difficult times were the most memorable and meaningful moments.

Sa mga graduates, isang karangalang minsa’y naging guro niyo. Nawa’y maging matagumpay kayo sa daang tatahakin.

 

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Green-minded

Green-minded ako
Berde… berde ang kulay ng mga puno
Mga punong sa halip na pinaparami
Pinuputol, pinapatay
Pinapalitan ng matatayog na kongkreto
Berde… berde and kulay ng gulay
Sabi’y pampahaba ng buhay
Ng tao, at ng mundo
Dahil bawas sa karne
Bawas sa emisyon ng karbong
Nakasusulasok
Maitim na usok
Na sa planeta’y bumabalot
Planetang nalulunod din sa basura at plastik
Plastik na sumasayaw sa hangin
Lumalangoy sa ilog
Lumulutang sa karagatan
Plastik na nasa isdang kinakain
Sa tubig na iniinom
Tila wala ng pag-asa
Wala na nga ba?
Ang mga isip-berde ay hindi papatalo
Patuloy ang buga ng karbon
Kasabay ng pag-usbong ng malinis na enerhiya
Mula sa tubig, hangin, at araw
Kumakaripas sa takbo ang urbanisasyon
Ngunit humahabol ang mga ideya
Ng green architecture at green space
Marami ang walang pakialam
Walang pakundangan sa pagbili at pagtapon,
Pagbili at pagtapon, pagbili at pagtapon
Subalit marami rin ang nakikialam
Binabago ang pananaw na wala tayong magagawa
Sa bawat pagtatanim ng puno
Sa bawat pagsuporta sa renewable energy
Sa bawat pagpili sa maka-kalikasang produkto
Sa bawat paghindi sa plastic straw, at plastic bag,
At plastic water bottle, at plastic spoon and fork
Sa bawat pagkonsumo ng organikong pagkain
Ang mga ito’y parang patak
Ambon sa umpisa
Nawa’y maging daluyong ng isip-berdeng gawa
Green-minded ako…
Sana ikaw din
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Minimalist Me: Clothes

The good thing about maintaining the same body shape and weight for around 10 years now is I don’t have to buy new clothes all the time. If I do have to buy clothes, I go to second hand shops where with patience and a little bit of luck, I manage to find a nice shirt or two at a really cheap price.

Most of my clothes are hand me downs, or presents from friends, or shirts I get from attending advocacy events. I’m sure I’m not the favorite person of retailers because I don’t contribute much to the consumerist world where your value is measured by how much you spend shopping.

Fast fashion has huge environmental costs – water pollution, use of toxic chemicals, and  textile waste. Polyester fabric shed microfibers adding more plastic to already plastic-filled water bodies. Organic cotton doesn’t use toxic chemicals but requires a lot of water.

Should I just go au naturale and banish myself in the mountains like a true Igorot? Come to think of it, my ancestors back in the days just wore bahag or loin cloth, a piece of clothing wrapped around the hips.

 

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You can see me here wearing a bahag and er, showing some skin. Photo Credit: Haire Kadari

Recycled fabric is the best bet but they’re not easy to come by. So an option is to simplify and adopt a minimalist approach to clothing. Less stress emotionally (as you don’t have to constantly worry about having too much clothes and nothing to wear). Less stress on your pocket. And less stress on the environment. More stress to capitalists though but they should be the least of our concern.

Minimalist Me: Shoes

How many pairs of shoes do you have?

This question flashed on the screen as the 1997 Iranian film, “Children of Heaven” concluded. The movie is about a brother and sister who had to share a pair of sneakers to wear to school. The sister wears them in the morning then hurries home so she could give the shoes back to his brother who then has to run to school but ends up almost always late for class.

I have three pairs – dress shoes, casual office shoes, and sneakers. Double or is it triple digits for the ladies, I suppose, trying to beat Imelda’s record of thousands of shoes.

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The shoes I buy would normally last me for years. I’ve learned to prioritize quality though they come at a price. It’s worth it, nonetheless. Sometimes, I feel like I’m such a cheapskate. I wouldn’t want to part with my worn out shoes justifying that there’s still life left in it. The materials shoes are made of (leather and rubber) are not exactly environment-friendly so the less I buy shoes, the more I minimize my ecological footprint.

There are claims that we don’t really need to wear shoes so maybe I should just go barefoot. But I’m at the mercy of so-called social standard telling me what I’m supposed to wear, what’s appropriate. Formal, casual, rugged, party shoes, workout shoes, running shoes, hiking shoes, shoes to match one’s outfit… Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching for the capitalists!

How about you, how many pairs of shoes do you have?

Tech for Agri, Tech for Good

Black Mirror showed us the scary, dark side of technology. But with SenseTech, a global mobilization initiative of MakeSense, the power of technology can be harnessed to achieve the sustainable development goals.

In the Philippines, the related event held on February 22, 2018 at Penbrothers Makati focused on sustainable agriculture. The speakers were Jim Cano of Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) Philippines; Rodolfo Ramirez of 8layer Technologies; and Jericho Arellano and Ian Mia from the start-ups, LakbayAnihan and Lungtian, respectively.

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The discussion highlighted some of the issues of the agriculture sector such as lack of government support, uninterested youth, and technology not being maximized due to limited internet connectivity. However, it was noted how SMS or text messaging in itself can already be a helpful tool in providing critical information. This access to relevant information paired with collaboration can magnify the positive impact of technology.

The Tech for Agri event also featured the special performance of artist Jean Paul Zialcita who uses unconventional musical instruments such as water container, goat horns, pieces of wood, and others.

MakeSense is a growing community that is mainly run by volunteers with about 22,000 members worldwide. They empower people to engage in projects and help social entrepreneurs solve concrete challenges to contribute to solutions for some of the biggest problems we face today.

 

Diet for Climate: How your food choices can mitigate climate change

Climate change impacts food security which can lead to hunger.

This was stressed by Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director Yeb Saño during the “Ship Ahoy: Diet for Climate” event on February 15, 2018 held onboard the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior Ship.

The said event aimed to promote eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat because a plant-based diet can mitigate climate change as it generates relatively low greenhouse gasses compared to the meat industry.

According to DOST Asst. Scientist Dr. Imelda Agdeppa of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, there is a problem of under and over nutrition as well as nutrient deficiency in the Philippines. This is due to the decrease in the intake of fruits and vegetables; and in contrast a slight increase of meat intake.

Greenpeace Food and Ecological Agriculture Campaigner Virginia Benosa-Llorin mentioned that in a commissioned survey, seven out of ten Filipinos are meat eaters with meat being tasty as one of the reasons why they prefer it over vegetables.

To demonstrate that food can be healthy and tasty at the same time, Rainbow Warrior Chef Daniel Bravo, Chef Giney Villar of Feliza Taverna Y Cafe, and TV personality Love Añover-Lianko showed how to prepare meatless recipes.

Chef Daniel said that whatever is good for you is good for the environment as he presented his version of ceviche or kinilaw using mung beans (mongo) as the main ingredient. He called the dish “fruits of the earth” and described it as a nutritional symbiotic ecosystem.

Chef Giney encouraged the eating of raw, “living” food; to be familiar with the food that we eat; and to eat local. She created a fruit chocolate dip made from tablea, fried and green pinipig, and muscovado.

Meanwhile, Love Añover, as a mother, stressed the importance of making healthy food attractive for kids and teaching them how to eat and prepare healthy dishes. She came up with a salad dressing using honey, mustard, calamansi, pepper, and salt.

“Ship Ahoy: Diet for Climate” was part of the Greenpeace Southeast Asia Philippine Leg Rainbow Warrior Ship Tour. The tour will be highlighting the real impacts of climate change in the country and, at the same time, celebrate solutions towards climate resilience and resistance.