President's Message

“Sometimes the choice is not between good and evil. Sometimes the choice is between what’s good and what’s easy.”

We use straw, we use plastic bags when shopping, we choose to drive rather than use public transport, we use the elevators instead of taking the stairs, we do all of these often times for one single reason: convenience.

It is troublesome to remember to bring our own reusable bags every time we go shopping. It takes a lot of effort to use the stairs, so why bother when there is the elevator. But then again, is it the easy choice or the good choice?

Speaking of easy, that would be the last word that our staff would use to describe their experience of working with MEF. The last few months have been a challenge, but the next few months would be more so. This coming May, MEF will be doing three LGU partnerships on ESWM at the same time. We’ll be starting with our partnership with the City of San Fernando, as well as with the Barangay Government of Fort Bonifacio, and with the wrapping up of our project with PHUMP III under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and JICA.

We are also starting our new banner program, the Zero Waste Academy, which packages all our training modules on Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM), Inner Ecology, Project Water Education for Teachers (Project WET), and Project Learning Tree (PLT). We’ll also be targeting to hold two big events this year, the Run for Mother Earth advocacy run and the International Zero Waste Youth Festival.

Together with the GAIA and EcoWaste, we have initiated the Zero Waste Pilipinas Movement. This effort, alongside the Run, the Academy and the Festival, signals MEF’s efforts to popularize and mainstream our Zero Waste advocacy.

So it seems we have a full and busy year ahead of us. But then again, would we rather have it easy?

It is always a challenge to maintain that balance, making sure that we don’t spread ourselves thin but also making sure that we are able to do as much to advance our advocacy given our limited resources. And this is where the support of everyone is crucial. Together with our partner LGUs, our members and volunteers, our selfless Board of Trustees and dedicated staff, I believe we can do more.

I am excited to share with you this issue of our newsletter. Aside from sharing with you what has been keeping us busy the past months, we are also featuring stories that show the impact of our efforts. We feature insights from Ms. Lourdes Cabrilles, our model teacher on environmental education, as she shares her experiences and learnings that hopefully will also inspire other teachers out there.

We also feature the insights of Joshua, who initially wanted to be a volunteer for MEF after attending a lecture that I gave. His story inspires me to reach out to more Filipino youth. I am glad that he is now part of our small but able team. I also would like to welcome our new intern, RJ Smith, who with her passion for the environment and the law, could facilitate our   work with the  Local Government Units in passing environmental ordinances.

Of course, I wouldn’t end this message without acknowledging all those who have been instrumental in our work. To our partners and supporters (there are too many of you, so we have a separate list on the right), thank you so much! To our active and very supportive Board of Trustees, thank you. To our members and volunteers, maraming salamat.  And lastly, to our dear staff, Zen, Rap, Tin & Tita Mercy, I can’t thank you enough.

I would like to end this note with a challenge for all of us. As you all know, we pride our selves with the fact that we really walk our talk. I personally have not been using drinking straws or plastic bag for shopping in the last six (6) years. And with our efforts now to move for a national ban on plastic as carrier bags gaining momentum, I would like to move a step closer to our goal of a plastic-free Philippines. I am wondering, “Is it really possible to live a plastic free lifestyle?”

To answer this question, I am embarking on a month-long challenge in June 2012 to live completely plastic free. This would mean that I will never buy or use products that eventually would end up in a landfill because they are not recyclable, including their packaging.  I have to say goodbye to anything processed and packed in plastic, and I think it is possible by going back to the basics. I have to say goodbye to supermarkets and go back to our ever reliable community palengke or tiangge.

And I hope you will join me on this challenge. It doesn’t have to be a month too, if that’s too much for you. It could only be for a day, a week or a year. It’s really all up to you.

Madamo guid nga salamat!

For the environment,