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By Bernard Baluyot Jr.

Lets Do It! PH, an environmental movement, hosted a boot camp entitled

Luzon Eco-Leaders Boot Camp 2015 on May 16-18, 2015 at the Sibat Organic
Farm in Capas, Tarlac. A diverse group of individuals which include faculties and
student leaders from different universities, young environment advocates, and
foreign environmentalists attended the said event. Three representatives from
PLM Chemical Engineering Department also attended and became part of the
environmental movement.
Ms. Ellen Estares, the head organizer, welcomed us with a very informative
introductory speech and partially introduced the Lets Do It! PH movement. She
shared how the movement started in Estonia and how it spread all over the
globe. She also stated their primary objective, which is to seek climate justice.
After Ms. Estares introductory speech, we got the chance to introduce
ourselves and to know more about the group. One group is from the Baler Youth
Environment Ambassador, a group of Grade 10 students whose main objective is
to guard all the natural resources that Baler have and to fight against the
urbanization of some places in Aurora. Another group is the Student Council from
Centro Escolar University which promotes clean and environment-friendly
projects and activities in their university. Some individual participants are: a
graduate from University of Santo Tomas who studied international relations; a
teacher from Dasmarinas, Cavite; a public ad graduate from Polytechnic
University of the Philippines; and a college student from La Union. The
participants may be composed of individuals from various fields and region, but
all had united for the sake of our environment.
After the get-to-know each other portion, Mr. Anthony started an activity
on which we were tasked to walk and imitate a part of nature. It was a
memorable event and had really boosted our confidence and our creativity.
After dinner, Mr. Oscar, a member of the Ocean Recovery Alliance from
Hong Kong, delivered his talk about how we can save and rescue our ocean.
Their group had devised a waste-mapping mobile application called Global Alert
on which we can locate bodies of water filled with rubbish. In that way, their
group could collect the data needed so that they can come up with a straightforward solution on how we can stop the rubbish from flowing to the ocean. They
already started their project in the Philippines, and had coordinated with the local
government units. Their company also coordinates with big companies to
convince them to minimize the use of plastics in their operations.
After that, Mr. Renny, one of the sponsors of the event, taught us on
selecting organic skin care products and on proper grooming. He also gave free
samples of his organic products which got the audience excited.
On the next day, we woke up early for a very unique exercise which was
headed by Ms. Ellen. Its in the form of yoga on which we felt we were one with
nature. It was really relaxing to lay down on the grass as we felt the cold morning
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dew and the cold breeze which made us forget all our stressful endeavors
outside the camp.
After our morning exercise and breakfast, Ms. Patria, an environmental
sociologist from Ateneo De Manila University, delivered her talk entitled
Greening the Filipino Youth. She pointed out that our country is a paradise for it
is a biodiversity hotspot. She also pointed out how climate change is equivalent
to poverty for us since we are dependent to nature. Her main concern is the
continuous deforestation rate in our country where the remaining forest is only
18.3 25%.
We were then tasked to group ourselves to think of ways on how we can
help our environment in our community. It was an enlightening experience as I
have found out how the youth, especially from the other regions of our country,
has already been doing programs and activities in promoting environmentawareness. Some of their projects and activities are: Balik Basura, Balik Gamit;
Clean As You Go (CLAYGO); 7 Ss; Paperless Meetings; Piso Para sa Kalikasan;
and Environmental Researches.
After that activity, Mr. Roger Caldwell, a chemical engineer from USA,
presented his group, the I Am Walrus. It is a non-government organization
which primarily focuses on the condition of the ice glacier in the North Pole.
Because of the climate change, it is quite evident that our ice caps are depleting.
Because of this, sea level rises and we can really feel the increase in
temperature since the ice caps are the one deflecting the suns rays. Mr. Roger
and his group has also been involved in energy-related researches and projects
such as Generating Electricity from Mango Peels in Cagayan de Oro. I remember
that when someone asked Mr. Roger on why he is not focusing on planting trees
instead, he answered that if we plant trees now, it will take many years for it to
grow, our ice caps are already melting, and it cannot wait that long for it to
On our lunch, we has a taste of genuine organic food which are really
tasty. We had a boodle fight on which everyone really enjoyed. We had a taste of
their brown rice and their unique blue rice which is just plain organic rice with
some added organic food coloring. From there, I never knew that vegetables
could really taste like meat.
After that, Ms. Becky Barrios, a Climate Reality graduate, discussed the
significance of mangroves. We learned that mangroves are important as it
absorbs some of the toxic chemical on its surroundings.
On the late afternoon, we were tasked to clean the nearby streets. It is
evident how plastics are the primary type of rubbish found in our streets. Next to
it are cigarette butts, plastic bottles, wrappers, etc. We, ourselves, found out that
the number one solution in helping us clean our environment is self-discipline. If
we train ourselves to dispose our wastes on proper places, then our problems on
waste could be minimized.
In the evening, we had a fun social night and went swimming on a nearby
resort. It was indeed a fun social night as we had games and felt that we were
very close with one another. We also got the chance to know more about each
other and their genuine advocacies about nature. It is really fascinating how the
youth are really involved in helping our environment.
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On the next day, the last day of our boot camp, we have been taught
about organic farming. We have found out that there are problems that our
farmers are facing especially in the collection of taxes. The speaker also taught
us that organic farming is the safest method of farming rather than using
chemical-based farming essentials such as pesticides. One farmer there also
discussed their composting methods which are: takakura composting method,
bokashi composting method; and vermin-composting. We also got the chance to
plant our own seedlings which we really enjoyed.
After that, we had our graduation. And we promised that we will continue
what we had started in the camp. It is a challenge for us to apply what we had
learned. It was a learning experience that we really enjoyed. As a student of PLM,
we will try to propose environmental projects and activities that will encourage
every PLMayers to be part of our campaign. We did it in Lets Do It! PH!

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