ECO-LEAP launches, young environmentalists unite
Maria Frances Dianne C. Incipido
Gathering student environmentalists inside and outside Davao City, the ECO-LEAP: Environmental Summit 2022 officially launched last March 25 to 26, 2022, with the theme “A jump towards environmentalism amidst the pandemic”. The two-day summit was initiated by the University Student Government (USG) of the University of the Immaculate Conception in collaboration with PharmChem Cares via Zoom Meeting.
Intending to unite passionate student environmentalists across borders to raise awareness and understand the issues arising during the pandemic, the first day of the summit started with lectures from three speakers whose goals aligned with Laudato Si.
Danna Ian Alcantara, the External Assistant Director of Student’s Environmental Alliance of Davao (SEAD), started the lecture series with her talks about environmental problems and how to live an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Following Alcantara was the keynote speaker Antoinette Taus, a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and founder of Communities Organized for Resource Allocation (CORA) and The Sustainable Planet, with her talks about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and sharing a rap she made for the SDGs to the delegates present.
The last speaker was Cylle Marie S. Nadoza, Protected Area Conservation Officer of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources XI — Protected Area Management Office of Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary, who talked about the SDGs and the Philippines laws made.
The first part of the event ended with a question-and-answer session among the delegates and Alcantara and Nadoza.
For the second day of the summit, the program organizers have prepared a tree planting activity with the delegates wherein 30 minutes was allocated. The delegates were tasked to take a photo with their plants and post it on their social media accounts as proof of making an impact on the environment.
Succeeding the tree planting session was the resolution-making that Kirby Costales, the Environmental Summit Assistant Project Head and PharmChem Cares Chairperson, formally introduced. Each delegate was assigned to a break-out room and was given one hour to discuss and create a resolution paper with their group mates. As it was a contest, they were given ten minutes to prepare for a presentation in the main room.
Four groups presented their resolutions, focusing on different topics: the first group focused on relieving medical waste issues during the pandemic, the second group focused on human security development, the third group discussed deforestation, and the last group talked about “forestation amidst natural disaster due with the emergence of natural disasters.”
After the sharing session, Maria Lochele Morta led the ECO-LEAP Pledge, and the participants were awarded a Certificate of Participation. Lastly, Ley Nicole V. Jangolan, the USG President and project head, officially closed the summit with her closing remarks.
During the interview, Jangolan shared how she came up with the idea of hosting the event.
“This event is one of our main goals since the start of our term as the USG officers of this school year. We really think thoroughly in organizing this event as this is not just a mere event but also a big leap towards helping our nature. We want to inspire people to do the same as well, even in this time of the pandemic, that’s why we created an event that focuses not just on giving talks to the delegates but also by doing concrete actions to save our environment. This is through resolution-making and tree planting activity,” she posited.
The people who worked behind the scenes shared how they felt overwhelmed at the end of the summit. In an interview, Louise Tanduyan, one of the event facilitators, also gave her thoughts.
“As a facilitator in this event, I am so overwhelmed with you and to the fellow participants and I am really amazed by these people, especially when you shared your thoughts and ideas about your resolution. So, for short I really enjoyed it po.”
Marianne Hernandez, a delegate at the summit, expressed her feelings and highlighted some key points during the event.
“As a student environmentalist, I endeavored to attend, participate, and contribute to the event’s success. It’s overwhelming to be a part of such an important event where, despite the pandemic, we can still educate and mold future environmentalists to raise awareness and develop novel approaches to environmental protection in the near future. Indeed, the difficulties and issues covered are a drop in the bucket compared to the problems and issues currently confronting our globe. The ability to engage in such debates regarding mining, deforestation, landslides, water, air pollution, and the techniques to recover nature from those issues has a significant impact on society and the earth.”
She also stated that discovering the future at present times and turning it into reality helps resolve issues of the world and that everyone must understand that protecting the environment is vital for sustainability.