When will you plant a tree?



I am so happy to finally be part of Haribon. It does not take much. Go to www.haribon.org.ph It’s not just about saving the eagle or Haring Ibon. It’s about going green.

Many years ago, my friends and I started a movement called “Live Green.” We were all marketing people so it was not surprising that we got into printing T-shirts, umbrellas and bumper stickers with the logo designed by one of us, Emil Sanchez. The members were our employees and consultants and we just wanted to start going green. The year was 2007.

Fast forward to 2016 and now there is more consciousness about saving biodiversity, greening buildings and yes, planting trees.

Planting trees
We started back in 2005 when then Amadeo, Cavite Mayor OJ Ambagan began a program called Adopt a farm. We adopted a three-hectare farm in Pangil, Amadeo and planted it to coffee and peanuts, bananas and papaya. we also planted Barako trees and saved the other indigenous trees found in the property. Oddly, there was a tall tree called Antipolo….but yes, we were in Cavite.

Saving electricity
In 2007 as we promoted Live Green we started buying power switches, turned off the TV pilot light, and promoted solar chargers for cell phones, too. Today, technology has given us even more ways to cut power use- inverter air cons, LED lights and solar chargers for electric fans.

Using less
The other way to help save the planet is to use less of everything. We now have to fight an uphill battle towards fast fashion (clothes that do not last very long and end up in the landfills) which goes against buying less clothes.

We use less paper because we now take notes using a smartphone (honestly though, I love writing on paper). Thanks to Millenials who have no paper notebooks, everything is written in space.

No styrofoam and plastic
There is significant increase in the use of biodegradeable packaging. Though we can use plastic straws, we use paper straws in our café. We use old magazines and make them paper bags.

Using air con fans
Green Man Matthias Gelber suggested the use of aircon for just an hour before sleeping then reverting back to the fan mode. MrGelber also does not use shampoo sachets in hotels, but brings his own liquid shampoo or body wash. He also advises room temperature pegged at about 24 degrees versus 18 degrees at which temperature people start wearing jackets and shawls.

Using daylight
How many times do we go to conferences where the curtains are closed and all the lights are on even during a daytime session? In the lecture room, MrGelber asks that natural daylight be used.

Using water
How many of us are guilty of buying bottles of water when we can bring our own flask of lemon water or regular filtered tap water?

We need not be “tree huggers,” or promote tree planting to be green although that helps. What we really need to do is do it at home and in our office, not to show off but to adopt the greener lifestyle.

If we think of planting trees, it has to be of the native variety not Mahogany or Gemelina. These varieties destroy biodiversity, I was told. If you cannot or have not planted trees, at least do something at home. Start to go green even when no one’s looking.

Chit Juan is founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra, Salcedo Village, Podium, Centris QC mall, Davao, Cebu City, Iloilo and Antipolo City. She also is Chair of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates and NGOs on sustainability, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on twitter.com/chitjuan or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at puj@echostore.ph


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