Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Wishing Greta's Luck On Us

Since December 2013, we have started working with the DENR and DepEd to teach and make youths in the Philippines plant (seedling) trees, despite the majority of our country's population lacking the much-needed land space (and title) to grow these seedlings into mature trees.

We hoped as much as we re-plant every wayward tree seedling in a container or to a more permanent space that every seedling re-planted would survive the dry season and lack of time/resources of every planter.

We even developed "waste-gardening" not only because we have no land to till but because we have so much to throw and no patience for smelly composts (just remember to throw bits of torn paper or sawdust on every wet biowaste you put on that pot!)
In May this year, we had our 20nth seminar-workshop with Quezon City teachers, again, Bituen distributing soil, live cuttings of fruit trees, and herb-drink-making kits. And we hope to conduct more before the year ends.
On our end, we go on planting  with our very limited resources, continuing our research on using bio-wastes, finding ways to make trees grow on containers, or how vegetation can become more resilient in concrete jungles.
But where's the attention we need (okay, we mean funds actually, as much as Greta was saying it with a capital F) so we can help green more schools and city spaces? Come on world, Philippines is the world capital of caring nurses and health care providers! Help green our schools and we provide better, healthier nurses and health care providers for all of you! That is not a promise, that is sustainability!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Greening Challenge on Teachers: Help Needed

With the looming “Graduation Legacyfor the Environment Act 2016” where students will be required to plant at least ten (10) trees in order to get their diploma, another load on the shoulders of Technology and Livelihood Education teachers is added as  they are still battling the School Inside a Garden (SIGA) program.

In a previous Gulayan sa Paaralanprogram (GPP) convention, educators remain at a quandary how - with many addressing the problem of allotting garden spaces in their crowded urban schools - could they create SIGA specified in Departmentof Education Memorandum187 s 2018.

The SIGA program, believed to be loosely inspired by the Garden City urban planning concept, aims to establish “schools inside gardens featuring mostly indigenous and endemic trees and flowering plants” and “sustain environmental consciousness and action among learners and the community…” Garden City on the other hand, is “intended to be planned, self-contained communities surrounded by ‘greenbelts’, containing proportionate areas of residences, industry and agriculture.”

With the GPP, schools and teachers have been preparing for the eventuality of these green goals and ideal community concepts under the National Greening Program (NGP) pursuant to Section 5.2 of Executive Order (EO) No. 26, s. 2011. The challenge, however, is in the roles of local government units (LGUs), city governments, and national agencies that include the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Management, the Department of Agriculture, and the private sector.

DENR’s Jacqueline Caancan, NCR regional director noted that “When we park our cars, we always want it under a tree’s shade,” she said. “But the irony is: Who wants to plant a tree?”

Many well-meaning peoples’ organizations and agencies conduct “planting” activities for decades now, but have been failing due to unsustained cultivation of trees. Common sense dictates that tropical plants require regular watering, organic nourishment, and protection in order to fully grow as trees, but these have not been properly addressed.

Environment and waste gardening advocate Margaret Tadeja calls on the private sector, especially major business establishments to pitch-in for the urban communities they thrive from. “Healthier environment means more robust production and consumption,” she said. “Teachers and students are ready to get out and plant in their communities, but the community should also provide for protected spaces as well as support if only in the form of water, sturdy large pots, and garden soil to ensure that these plants will survive.”

As DepEd and their partner NGOs drum up greening in schools, the business and private sector have Adopt-a-School as a means to actively support community greening efforts. Interested parties may call 632-9941372 on how they can engage in building healthier communities, residential and work spaces.