I became a certified member of Haribon Foundation when I joined its Learning Sessions in 2014. I initially thought that I would meet young students like me but I was wrong. I was surprised that there were also professionals, from various organizations with different works and interests, who want to know more about our country’s biodiversity. We were all there for one thing—learning about the environment and what we can do to help make a change.
On July 2015, I decided to further my education and exposure to the environmental cause by applying as an intern at Haribon. It was during my stint when they were busy preparing for the Green March and Green Festival, an event to raise awareness on three green bills that Haribon is pushing for legislation, namely the National Land Use Act (NLUA), Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB), and the Forest Resources Bill (FRB).
Haribon leads the campaign for the FRB which if passed will ensure the protection of the country’s rapidly depleting natural resources and save our biodiversity. On the day of the event, volunteers from different sectors, members from different organizations and networks, and by-passers joined the call for the event’s advocacy. I was tasked to assist the Haribon team in preparing the FRB informative leaflet and other collaterals as well as coordinating participants for the Forest Food Fair event. I also helped in documenting the event by being the photographer.
Before this, I was already active in different environment conservation activities of Angat Kalikasan and Ecology Youth Club in Taytay, Rizal since my first year in high school. However, it’s being a Haribon member and intern that I have learned more about the environment and different and simple ways to help like reducing my carbon foot print by recycling. In the course of my internship, I have gained so much knowledge and experience, not only in the office tasks but it also changed my views of our country’s landscape. I have grown to really appreciate our country’s natural beauty, our marine and forest sanctuaries that draw a lot international tourists. For these reasons, I became more passionate in protecting our environment. It’s a shame that many of us still can’t see what our country has, how unique and beautiful it is, that we keep on destroying our forests and waters as if they will never run out.
I always share to my family, friends and classmates what I have learned in Haribon such as the importance of biodiversity or the variety of life and the forests that keep them through its various programs like Road to 2020’s rainforestation where it promotes the use of native seedlings to restore the country’s remaining forests since this kind of seeds naturally thrive and fare better than exotic ones.
Starting this year, our campus’ Mass Communication and Rover Scouting organization aim to forge a partnership with Haribon Foundation and be active in its programs like Buhay Punlaan, a nursery of native trees established at the Caliraya Watershed, in Lumban, Laguna and Biodiversity on Wheels or BOW, a mobile biodiversity education program for public school children.
I am looking forward to a future wherein along with the government; the whole nation will gather and act for one purpose, to save our rich biodiversity. We would not want the people of future generation to curse us for using up all our resources and not acting for the conservation of our environment while we had the opportunity.
Anna Victoria is currently a 3rd Year AB Journalism student at the University of Rizal System- Angono. She loves to spend her time reading books, sketching and making documentaries. She also loves cats and tropical fishes.
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