A Friendly Reminder: There is No Planet B

This Holy Week, we didn’t leave the Metro because we’re busy with the wedding preps. And it’s fine, really, because thank God we don’t need to have a long weekend to go anywhere we want to — freelancer perks. Haha. But that’s not the point of this post. Let me tell you about my morning today:

A video call woke me up because my sister wants us to see Rafa swimming (they’re in Tagaytay). After that call, I decided to just browse my feed like any other day and was bothered with the news about overcrowded beaches, and that the trash is twice the amount of the people visiting those places. The other day, my feed was all about people hitting the beach this Holy Week, and just 2 days after, my feed was all about how irresponsible tourists can get.

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Moalboal on a Good Friday (photo from Sunstar Philippines FB account)

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the happiest, how happy are you with this photo? I’ve been to Moalboal once, back in 2012, and I can’t help but to wonder, how do they dispose their trash properly with this situation?

Back in college, the concept of sustainability and Green Architecture was introduced to us. Because as future architects we have a crucial role in creating buildings and houses that help contribute to lessen the environmental problems. I must admit, I didn’t take it seriously back then because I don’t have much awareness about it. I didn’t see the need, probably because I’m just confined with the city life. I don’t get to see the major effect in the less developed places, and I don’t have the concept yet of enjoying “nature” as it is. I don’t have an idea on how to take care of something that I haven’t seen, experienced, and appreciated yet.

But a lot has changed ever since I started travelling and fell in love with the islands. And as a “backpacking” enthusiast where I choose to be spontaneous and really take time to be immersed in the local culture, not to mention the search for cheap accommodations as much as possible, I began to realize that the world indeed is a beautiful place, but only if it we take care of it.

I was able to stumble upon Green Antz Builders, where they recycle plastic sachets to create Eco-Bricks and I personally found this very interesting. I don’t have local projects anymore but this made me become excited for the future of sustainable architecture in the country. How I wish there’s a crash course on how to take part in saving the environment in our little ways. I mean, what really happens to all the plastic we throw away and the non-biodegradable stuff we have? How are they being recycled? Do they just end up in the landfills? How do we properly dispose these things? Okay. I’m geeking out right now.

In this world full of social media “influencers”, I hope that they would use their voice and influence to really create this awareness to really start taking care of the environment seriously. I hope that those people who buy metal straws really understand the cause of switching from a plastic one, and not just because of the hype of it. I hope that every individual who posts a nice beach photo with a caption saying that it’s their happy place and claim to be beach lovers, would really live out that love for the environment wherever they are.

This morning made me realize that it’s time for me to step up my game, not as a traveler, nor as an architect, but simply as a human being living in this world. There is no planet B. The Earth is all we have, and it’s either we live here, or die here.

P.S. I would still want my future kids to enjoy the beaches and nature, and not just admire it from the photos of how it used to be.

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