PSSN Youth Headline!

             New blog site was developed for Philippine Society for the Study of Nature or PSSN through a partnership with Development Communication students at the University of the Philippine Los Banos, College Laguna.

 

             The site is entitled Stewards of Nature which can be accessed through http://pssnblog.wordpress.com.

           

            “The blog’s purpose is to serve as a site for environmental advocacy for the youth” Dr. Joane Serrano said.

 

            The site will serve as a venue for students to take part in PSSN’s advocies, which is to address issues concerning nature and environment and to promote environmental awareness among communities.

 

            Through the site, students can now submit any creative outputs in forms of articles, photo essay, feature stories, posters, drawings and the like to PSSN. Students can also easily get the most recent information about PSSN’s activities and accomplishments.

 

            The site will be administered by Dr Inocencio E.  Buot Jr. with the assistance of the group of Development Communication students headed by Michiko Buot which is also in charge of filtering students’ outputs.

 

            For now the site contains three articles, four fact sheets and one creative output.

 

STRATEGIES TOWARDS WISE AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF NATURE

Our resources are constantly depleting—and it’s happening faster.

But you can do something about it.

Environmental Sustainability

Environmental sustainability has been defined by the Brundtland Commission as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainability requires that we use our natural resources only at a rate that can be replenished naturally.

This means that even if trees are dying because we allow ourselves to meet our needs, (like building houses and making paper), we also have to consider that it takes time for newer ones to replace them. If we don’t do this, we allow for environmental degradation, which may lead to more future harms that may not only affect you, but also the people around you.

We Can Do Something

            Though a lot of government and non-government organizations are already trying their best to address this with their high-end technology and with all other things that only grown-ups with degrees can do, you still have to power to allow for more change.

So, what can you do to help? Here are some helpful tips and strategies we’ve gathered for you to be able to help the environment in your own simple way. Get your checklists at the ready!

  • SKIP THE STRAW AND THE STIRRER
    • Each year, Americans throw away 138 billion straws and stirrers. But skipping the stirrer doesn’t mean drinking your coffee or chocolate raw and all. A professor from our college advises rolling the pack of your 3-in-1 coffee or chocolate milk drink and using it as substitute stirrer! As for straws, simply telling your friend from the restaurant counter to skip it is fine as it is. Be brave to skip the norm and be one of the heroes of the environment.
  • AVOID USING PLASTIC BAGS
    • Plastics are not biodegradable. Use ecobags instead. They are not only inexpensive, but environment-friendly also.
  • PICNIC WITH A MARKER
    • During outings with friends, you bring a lot of plastic or paper cups for our sodas and fruit juices. The problem is, you lose track of them or your cup gets mixed up with your friends’ cups. So, instead of finding yours easily, you get a new one, adding up to your bulk of trash, harming the environment more. Next time, mark your cups so everyone will only use one.
  • TURN OFF THE LIGHTS
    • Save more energy!
  • PLANT A TREE
    • Instead of celebrating your birthday party with flashy, colorful poppers, plant a tree! There is no trash to dispose of and you get to do something good for the air, the land, and add some shade to your house.
  • ATTEND ENVIRONMENTAL SEMINARS
    • Most schools nowadays conduct environmental seminars to inform and motivate students to help the environment. Join one and know how you can do more for Mother Earth.
  • SPREAD AWARENESS
    • Simply telling your friends that they can also help contribute a lot! Share your knowledge through social networking, or even during your tiny talks on the table with your family and friends.

Yes, wanting to help the environment doesn’t have to be a high-end, adult-only task. All these simple acts for the environment can make a huge difference.

Pocket your checklists now and start to take action. Don’t forget to come back to share your environment-friendly stories to us! Good luck!

-Aya Baltazar, Jerikka Cebanico

PSSN: When did it all start?

The Philippine Society for the Study of Nature or PSSN is a national organization that was organized and founded by Dr Inocencio E. Buot Jr. last April, 2000 in a national conference on networking for the wise and sustainable use of nature at the University of the Philippines Baguio.

Before this organization came to be; with 12 journals published, active participation with government agencies, award-winning members and studies, organizational activities in cooperation with Elementary and High schools, promoting environmental awareness in communities… there was a person who orchestrated all this.

Dr Buot said that he always had an organization like PSSN in mind, an organization that addresses nature and environmental concerns through further research and studies. He also focused on making PSSN possible because he said that there are “no academic society to address nature concerns” at that time. The idea became concrete when he discussed it with his graduate Systematics students in UPLB. The students help in operational aspect wherein they dealt with the documentations and helped in writing and formulating the constitutions and bylaws of PSSN. They are also in charged of the recruitment of members.

After that, present senior members of PSSN Drs Teodora Balangkod and Zenaida Baoanan coordinated the Baguio conference where they finally organized the national society, PSSN with Dr Buot as the first president. They had lots of of conferences to advance their advocacies and to share with other professionals and students alike the research outputs of one member with the rest of national membership.

Dr Buot also said that PSSN is a way of grouping like-minded people and easily contact them online. Their mode of communication is set on the web as this is a national level organization meaning, members maybe situated at different parts of the country. Because of this, PSSN has developed a website called pssonline.org. The website is active and regularly maintained. People can also download the latest published journals of PSSN which is called “Journal of Nature’s Studies.” The website also served as publicity for the organization. If one wishes to join the organization then one can find the contact details of PSSN on the website.

 

-Michiko Buot

Communicate Ecology to the Uninformed

“They did not know the principles of Ecology. They have to enrol in my course,” said Dr Inocencio E. Buot Jr., PSSN founder, in an interview.

He said that people “must forgive the uninformed” for they know little to nothing about the principles of Ecology. While there are also some who just choose not to listen because of sheer convenience. We are talking about plastic bags.

It was June 2, 2008 when Mayor Caesar Perez enforced the plastic ban in Los Banos. It was implemented that shoppers should bring their own bayongs when buying their groceries otherwise stores will just make use of paper bags. The implementation led to a domino effect as other towns and cities followed suit. It was every ecologist’s dream.

But are we sure that this dream will not be shaken?

There are observations from community folks and students, especially those who reside in elbi that many sole proprietorship businesses start to be lax and don’t encourage shoppers to bring their own bayong anymore. The shop owners just straight out use plastic bags and not the environment- friendly paper bags anymore.

Interview with PSSN representative, Dr Joane Serrano

Me: Why do you think the plastic ban is no longer that strictly implemented in LB compared to the younger days?

Dr. J: One of the problems with this kind of program is when there is a change in local leadership. When former Mayor Ton Genuino replaced Mayor Perez, plastic ban was not part of his major agenda. Thus there was no monitoring done anymore. Many of the vendors and store owners, especially the small ones, did not comply with the municipal ordinance anymore. Hopefully, with Mayor Perez back in the office, this will be part of his priority agenda again.

M: What action can you suggest in addressing this problem?

J: I think one of the reasons why people do not freely comply with this plastic ban ordinance is still the lack of environmental consciousness. There is no depth to what people know about plastics. They just remember not to use plastic whenever there is flood in their area. 

There should be more advocacy programs, in various sectors. This cannot be done successfully with just a few people involved. Everyone should be a champion. This can start in elementary schools, out of school youths, people organizations, LGUs, SUCs, private companies.. everyone should be involved. This should not also be a one shot deal. This should be an ongoing program. There should also be consequences.. those who do not comply should be penalized. 

M: Which principle of ecology is best to use to explain why people should no longer use plastic bags or plastic in general?

J: The systems principle… everything is interconnected and interrelated. If we do not use plastic, this will have a tremendous effect on the other parts of our lives.. less flooding, less diseases caused by plastic, etc. 

M: What are the benefits of not using plastic?

J: There are many resources you can fin about the benefits of not using plastic. Let me just put in one sentence… By not using plastic, we are saving mother earth. 

“Clean and Green”

Still, in super markets, brown paper bags are used, they even give discounts or points to shoppers who bring their own bags/ bayong. Fast food chains even show their support by not using straws and plastic utensils.

Dr. Buot said that we must not be lax in doing this duty to our environment. If only every person knows the significance of not using plastic then and only then will elbi be truly “clean and green”, as Mr Mayor’s slogan puts it.

The transformation

Did you know that it was the students who served as a catalyst and pushed the plastic bag ban campaign? It was 6 years ago that students from MS Development Communication designed publication materials about the campaign called BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag). It was actually for their group project but they coordinated with CCVC (Community Cable Vision Center) so that they can air an awareness video explaining the negative effects of using plastic. Aside from the video, they started the distribution of bags made of coco-cloth or katsa which were donated by the bakeries in elbi. Their action of course, was heard even by Mayor Perez. A year after, he enforced the plastic ban in elbi. Since then, elbi has been known for having a “clean and green” environment.

Dr. Buot said that he salutes the students for making the effects of over usage of plastic known to the community. He also said that now that there some people who already abandoned the advocacy, it’s time for the youth to reinforce the idea to the community folks so that all their efforts will not be wasted.