by: Pammy Macasaet 2012-57319
The environment has been the center of discussion around the world- how to protect it, how to preserve it and how to get people to act for its sake. This is because the world is well aware of its impact on the environment and that the harm the world makes on the environment has serious consequences. Our country, the Philippines bears the brunt of the environmental impacts as typhoons that get stronger every year continue to come. While the focus has been on how to brace for and deal with these typhoons (as they will inevitably come), we should also look at its causation.
Following the “global warming theory”, the world is heating up because greenhouse gases continue to trap heat within the atmosphere. In order to reduce this trapping of greenhouse gases, we need to be careful of our carbon footprint. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the term carbon footprint means “the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community.” In my Bio 1 class, my professor made us measure our carbon footprint in a website. This entailed answering questions about my daily activities- how I get to school (walking, biking or riding a car), if I segregate my trash and other questions related to the environment. It turns out that I consume 1 and ½ Earths with my daily habits. Imagine how many earths U.P. consumes.
As the Philippine’s premier university, I believe it is important for U.P. to take its carbon footprint into account. Environmentalism should be one of the main advocacies of the university. What is environmentalism exactly? According to Merriam-webster, environmentalism is an “advocacy of the preservation, restoration, or improvement of the natural environment.” There are different aspects of environmentalism: preservation and conservation. Preservation is for aesthetic purposes. Leaving things be and letting these things co-exist with humans. In this sense U.P. is on the right track. No one would ever dare cut down any of the hundreds of Acacia trees that line the school or any other tree for that matter.
Conservation is a more proactive aspect of environmentalism. It involves the proper management of the Earth’s resources. In everyday life these things are, turning off the lights when not in use, throwing trash in the proper trash bin, conserving water etc. This is the aspect of environmentalism that I believe the University can improve on. Everyone in the university can see the trash scattered in various places and breathe the smoke coughed up by the jeepneys everyday.
U.P. should take more steps into making the school “eco-friendly.” Two aspects should be focused on- the attitude of students, faculty, residence and staff and the rules & regulations regarding environmentalism.
Changes needed to be made in the “system” of U.P. in order to incorporate environmentalism. When I say system, this is referring to the rules & regulation, structures and facilities itself that may not be “eco-friendly.” In the School of Economics, there are an appropriate number of trashcans that are properly labeled. However, in college like in CAL there are colored trashcans (yellow and black) with no labels. Even if these trashcans are color-coded, students do now know which is biodegradable and non-biodegradable. Another change is implementing a meter in every dorm room. My friend told me in that Centennial Dormitory an electric meter is place in each dorm room for students to know how much electricity they consume. This should be done in all campus dormitories. A new section should be created solely for the purpose of becoming environment friendly. This will help solidify the importance of being “eco-friendly” in U.P. Though costly, perhaps proposing solar powered streetlights and an alternative to the jeepney can also help U.P. change its “system” into an eco-friendly one. Talks about changes for greener facilities are the first steps to seeing them materialize.
Another aspect of establishing environmentalism in U.P. is creating awareness and responsibility within those in the campus. This means creating an “eco friendly” attitude among students, residents, teachers and staff in the campus.
The student council should promote environmentalism- through posters, campaigns and other paraphernalia. Simple awareness can make a huge difference in becoming a “greener” campus. The students and staff participation can create a huge difference. Students and staff should practice simple eco friendly habits. These include: throwing their trash in the proper trash bin, pocketing their trash when there is no trash can in site, turning off the lights in the classroom when not in use etc. Teachers can also influence their students to become more eco-friendly. I have a professor who asks the class to use recyclable paper in taking notes or submitting reports. This may be cliché to say but it is the truth- little steps like these are what will truly make U.P. Diliman a greener campus.
Environmentalism. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster online. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/environmentalism
Carbon footprint. (n.d.). In Oxford dictionaries online. Retrieved from