December 15, 2021 (3:03 PM)

4 min read


ECOSUMMIT 2021. Keynote speaker, Benito Anthony Pingoy, a volunteer of Save Makabol Forest and Watershed, shared his advocacy in the preservation and conservation of the animal habitat in Makabol against continued logging in the community. Photo credits to Jeni Anne Rosario

Addressing climate crisis to sustain environmental recovery, Big Year Davao cofounder Benito Pingoy highlighted the urgency of protecting Makabol forest and watershed area in Salaysay, Davao City, during the Ecosummit 2021. 

The 2nd National Youth Environmental Forum featured seasoned environmentalists from various parts of the country to discuss local, national, and global environmental concerns through successful climate-action stories with youth involvement. 

Keynote speaker Pingoy emphasized the need to protect these forest patches in Davao due to their ecological importance to humans and animals.

“It is for the people here surrounding Makabol. Masyadong maraming cultural attachments na andito, kasama na ‘yung mga diwata at mga paniniwala ng mga indigenous people. Ang Makabol kasi may story na yan,” Pingol said. 

“And masyadong maraming envious sa atin about Philippine eagle and probably there are still undiscovered species. So, if we will lose this forest patch, we don’t know kung ano ‘yung mawawala pa satin because it was not documented, it was not studied yet,” he added. 

The environmentalist expressed that depriving Makabol forest of its protection is one thousand steps away from the solution people need today.

When asked how to stop more prominent industries from producing harmful products such as plastic and other toxic materials, Pingoy said, “Discourage yourself in patronizing them. If we cannot stop them right away, slowly we could destabilize their business.”

He further urged the youth participants to use their energy in collective effort and sustained attention to secure the forest and the adverse effects of climate change.

Climate-action success stories

To inspire people to act towards biodiversity conservation and sustainable development, Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc. project officer Carmella Ellaga explained that wildlife and people should be in harmony for a sustainable future. 

“We believe that in enabling communities, we should remember that the communities we are working with ay hindi lang [dapat] beneficiaries, but we should take them as partners where they are involved in every step we do. So that these communities will continue even if the project has ended, and they can stand on their own to sustain their communities,” Ellaga said. 

Meanwhile, Rewilding Philippines and Youth Volunteer of Philippine Parks and Biodiversity co-lead Nikko Adrian Valenzuela Perez encouraged the youth participants to “join online groups and forums or follow social media pages related to native species conservation, and urban greening.”

According to Perez, by planting and growing native trees in denuded areas and forests is way to become a champion in protecting our remaining forests.

On the other hand, Food SECURE Philippines adviser Christine Jodloman asserted that preventing food waste and supporting local farmers are significant contributions to mitigate climate change.

“We are on the consumers side. The other end of food chain. Let’s be creative sa ating food, maggawa tayo ng list before buying food,” Jodloman expressed. 

Emphasizing AYEJ’s mantra #LetTheEarthBeHeard, Association of Young Environmental Journalists (AYEJ) cofounder Val Amiel Vestil argued that it’s our ‘moral obligation’ to be the voice of the voiceless environment. 

“We want you to tell stories of the environment not just because the environment is green, but because the environment is a place where people depend on it to survive. So, were doing this to continue surviving as a species and you need to be at the forefront,” he said. 

Moreover, Sureplus PH cofounder Angeli Guadalupe asserted that “business is the most sustainable solution in pushing for these changes. In a way also convincing people that green business could solve the problems as well as earn money for living for other people.”

Bearing the power of advocacy in transport, Life Cycles PH founder Keisha Mayuga said that “cooperation is key but also plan for the kind of future (city) you want and take action with it to make that possible.”

Nearly 200 participants from various schools in Luzon and Mindanao joined the virtual forum last Saturday via Zoom and Facebook live.  

End the silence of the gagged!

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