Make a difference, one green step at a time

Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

The other day, I went to see my friend, Dr. Josie Isidro-Lapena, at the Philippine General Hospital for some pains. She was so busy and was running from one meeting to another, and so I had lunch alone at McDonald’s Pedro Gil. My change was supposed to be Php12.94. The cashier gave me Php12.00 and said nothing. After a while, I called her attention and she called her manager to open the cash register and gave me Php1.00. I talked to the manager and told her that this was stealing or hold-up because she took my money right in front of me. All the manager said was: “We tell them that if the change is more than 50 centavos, they must endeavor to give it. If it is less than 50 centavos, they don’t have to give it.” Huh?!?!?!?!? So that is how McDo make a lot of money, by stealing from its customers. Paging Department of Trade & Industry and Bureau of Internal Revenue. They don’t even pay taxes on this because it is not recorded as sales.


Anyways, let’s continue on our discussion of protecting our environment in our own little way. Here are some simple things we can do from the book “Cosmo Girl 250 Things You Can Do to Green the World” and also some of mine:

As you continue to incorporate green changes in your life, it makes sense to follow through with all of them. It can be hard at first to get into a new routine but a great way to get on top of everything is by assigning each family member an eco-chore. Whether it’s always turning off lights in empty rooms, checking that recycling bins are sorted properly, or bringing food scraps out to the compost heap, make a list of eco-chores that your family needs to get done each day, week or month then divide and conquer.

Save the water you drain making pasta or hard-boiled eggs or boiled potatoes, bananas, peanuts and others, and use it to water your plants. The nutrients in the leftover liquid will be like fertilizer and your veggies and flowers will grow big and strong.

Eat locally and healthfully at school or at work. Farm to school/office connect cafeterias/canteens to local farms. Instead of shipping frozen foods across the country in huge trucks, which use tons of fuel, you can eat fresh produce and meat from around the corner. There are now many farms producing organic meat, vegetables and herbs. Try Quezon City Memorial Circle, Sidcor Sunday Market at Centris Mall, Makati Organic Market at Salcedo on Saturdays and at Legaspi Village on Sundays. Or try the urban veggie garden in your neighborhood.

Want to make a bigger difference? Consider becoming a vegetarian. Whether it’s for health reasons, environmental impact, or animal rights, vegetarianism is a growing trend and if you do it the right way it’s a delicious and meaningful lifestyle. When making the transition, check out a few cookbooks from the library or BookSale Bookstore and do some research online to make sure you are following a well-balanced diet. French fries and pizza may be vegetarian but they are definitely not green! Get yourself started with tips and recipes at

Dine green. Those moo shu noodles taste awesome but the excess packaging and plastic containers that get delivered with them are not so easy to stomach. When you place a delivery order, request no plastic utensils or napkins and try to use restaurants that pack in cardboard or other earth-friendly options. There are establishments that do not use Styrofoam, install comprehensive recycling program and commit to a variety of environmental guidelines like using non-toxic cleaning products.

Organic or natural? Foods that are labeled “all-natural” do not have to meet specific standards—each brand can define what the claim means. So go “certified organic.”

Instead of tossing out a paper filter after brewing every pot of coffee, invest in a reusable mesh filter.

Make it a habit to keep a reusable coffee mug or water bottle with you in your car or bag at all times. Whenever you stop for a java fix, ask the barista to use your container instead of one of their disposable cups. Lots of coffee shops are now encouraging this and some will even give you a discount to reward your eco-efforts.

Snack smarter. It’s fast and convenient to grab an individually-wrapped snack when you’re short on time but even though you’ll finish eating in no time flat, that bag will hang around for years to come. On-the-go snack packaging contributes greatly to environmental waste.

If you can’t live without your daily dose of goldfish crackers or salt and vinegar potato chips, buy them in bulk, then divide portions up into small reusable containers and store them in the cabinet so they’re ready to go whenever you are.

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1 Comment

  1. Lots of good tips, but if you use water from boiling pasta etc to water plants be sure that it has not been salted as the salt is not good for plants (nor you)