Are you aware of your environmental impact? The figures might just surprise you.
According to the World Health Organization, an average person consumes around 7000 liters of water every year to meet his daily needs. The yearly carbon footprint of an ordinary Pinoy is about one metric ton.
Humans are using resources faster than nature can regenerate them. Human activities also emit far more greenhouse gases than the atmosphere can absorb. Faced with these challenges, today’s youth have a vital responsibility to become stewards of the environment.
On 15 July, the Far Eastern University (FEU) and the World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines (WWF-Philippines) kicked off a series of environmental seminars under the university’s National Service Training Program (NSTP).
The talks are led by the WWF-Philippines Environmental Education Team and are expected to reach 15,000 freshmen and sophomore college students within two weeks. The modules cover climate change impacts and solutions, biodiversity conservation, water conservation, and solid waste management.
“Climate change affects many of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities while threatening critically-important species, habitats, and ecosystems. On a personal scale, climate change affects human fundamentals like drinking water, food sources, and shelter,” says WWF-Philippines Environmental Education Program Head Obel Resurreccion.
“When the youth understand how these are all connected, they will be compelled to become part of the solution. Empowerment also allows them to influence peers via new-age tools like social media,” she adds.
Student volunteers took part in a short skit that demonstrated how unsustainable human practices like the burning of fossil fuels for electricity can intensify global warming and
disrupt natural climate patterns.
Volunteers also joined interactive sessions like Water Footprinting to calculate how much water they consume. By identifying which activities require the most water, the students are able to minimize wastage.
Another highlight was a module on proper waste management. Improper disposal of waste impedes water flow in drainage systems and waterways. This results in floods—which also poses health risks.
“Whatever little action students can do for the planet is an action that the world needs,” says Resurreccion. “Simple commitments like unplugging their mobile devices when not in use, minimizing waste, or being mindful of how much water they consume can create change.”
FEU’s environmental NSTP seminars underscore the academic institution’s commitment to promote environmental stewardship among its students.
Conservation allies since 2012, FEU, WWF-Philippines and the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources have committed to double scattered populations of the critically-endangered Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) from 300 to 600 by 2020. The Tamaraw is the country’s largest land animal and is found only in Mindoro. One of the country’s 12 bio-geographic zones, Mindoro is also a major rice granary which feeds hundreds of thousands of Filipinos yearly.
Concludes WWF-Philippines Conservation Programmes vice president Joel Palma, “The environmental NSTP talks allow us to reach out to a wider audience and rally these young students into building a more sustainable future.”