Category Archives: education

Eco-Schools: Greening the Universities

We have been doing the rounds for the validation of the finalists for the eco-schools competition we have been organizing since 2009, the Nationwide Search for Sustainable and Eco-friendly Schools.

I am part of the validating group for the Tertiary Level, and so far, we have already visited three — the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU) in La Union, and Ateneo de Manila University and Miriam College in Quezon City. So far, so good. So many interesting projects and environmental programs these schools offer, so I am sure the judges will have a hard-time figuring out which would emerge as the best.

What is even tough is that each university has its own field of expertise. DMMMSU, for one, has its natural resources as an advantage, having a large field for a campus which extends up to the mountains where they hold their Greening Program. They have this Cocoon Processing and Weaving Center as part of their research and development initiative, among many others which involve studying which I believe are enzymes, megazymes, and then some sea weed which they convert into better-tasting candies for more people to appreciate, which, based on their research, is anti-cancer.

Ateneo de Manila, on the other hand, has really superb technology-based environmental programs. They have this huge rainwater harvester set-up at the library, and then a water treatment facility in their own campus. They also have an electric jeepney plying around the campus offering free rides to students and visitors. What I thought was very impressive though is their extension program where a group of really brainy people converge and come up with solutions to solve a particular environmental issue at the time. They’re working on fish kills at the moment.

Last, Miriam College. What I like about this school is that environment seems to really be rooted to the core of its every student. If you talk about value formation as far as being green is concerned, I believe Miriam has it. Their approach to teaching environmental programs is very motherly — like how a mother guides her children to ensure they’d eventually lead successful lives. Plus, I love that they teach their students the idea that we are all stewards of God’s creation, and therefore, we must all do our share to protect mother earth.

Will be leaving early Tuesday for Leyte to check Visayas State University. It has previously won, so I am looking forward to see what they have to offer this time.

Greening the Universities

Attended a meeting with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) where the Global Universities for Environmental Sustainability was discussed.

There are three key elements that universities need to focus on — first, education (universities need to adopt or pick up a green economy curriculum); second, establishing a low carbon campus (greening the universities) — for universities to lower their carbon footprint and make them living laboratories; and third, ecosystems management.

Priority areas have also been identified:

1. Climate Change
2. Ecosystems Services (economics of ecosystems, say for example, assigning a value per tree)
3. Disasters (disaster risk reduction)
4. Coordination Issues (mainstreaming and governance)
5. Waste and Chemicals (ewastes)
6. Resource Efficiency
7. Sustainable Lifestyle

There’d be a general assembly for tertiary level educators next month, and this is one of the topics that will be discussed so I’d brief you more about it after the event.

Lakbayan Water Trail with Manila Water

I attended Manila Water’s Lakbayan Water Trail Tour earlier today and I’d like to recommend it to you, my dear reader (if I even have one lol).

The Lakbayan Water Trail Tour is part of the company’s CSR program to educate its stakeholders on how they manage to supply the Metro Manila household with water from Angat, as well as how they do waste water treatment. The Trail starts with a really fun video featuring Manila Water’s mascot, Pat Tubig, as he gets through the different water treatment process — prechlorination, coagulation, flocculation, chlorinated again, filtered, and then chlorinated again (I might have missed some parts) before he gets the “seal of approval” from the lab analysts that he could get released to our homes in Manila. We were treated to a game shortly after where we did a Pinoy Henyo thing just to see if we learned something from the vid (our team lost, poor us, but we did get a baller id as losers’ prize).

An actual tour of the facility followed shortly after (see photo). We got to actually see what the water we enjoy in our homes originally looked like (it’s not too bad though) before it gets through the whole treatment thing. We were even given access to the control room where the engineers have all those shiny buttons to ensure operations go well in the facility. Our last stop there’s the Pumping Area where the waters are “pumped” (obviously) to reach our homes. We then went to an area in Marikina where they release their treated waste water.

Probably the cutest and my most favorite part of Lakbayan’s having our names printed on tiny leaf stickers which we get to post on the wall to form part of the mural trees.

See? So cute right? :)

If you’re interested to have your own Lakbayan Tour, feel free to contact them. Here’s the web address: http://www.manilawater.com/Pages/Lakbayan.aspx

Mister Modelo

Was at the Commonwealth Elementary School yesterday for a TWG meeting and while there, Principal Modelo (in photo) gave us a bit of a tour and showed us how eco-friendly their school really is.

It’s a pleasant surprise, really. You see, I live in Fairview and everyday, I would pass by this school twice and would always think how messy things might be inside, but yesterday, I was proven wrong. While it’s really crowded outside (with all the vendors and obstructions), it’s like a mini-province inside. Lots of trees, they have dampas, they have rooms designed with indigenous materials, their auditorium has adopted the ‘liter of light’ roofing/lighting system, and a lot more.

Also, one thing I really find to have been done very creatively and resourcefully is their “improvised water filtration system”. It is made out of PET bottles cut and connected to form a pipe; with charcoal, pebbles, and stones as deodorizers and filters. The water that’s collected is then used in cleaning, as well as in maintaining their garden. They also have some of their sinks attached to a container (with filter), so used water could be gathered and used to water plants as well. Now that’s a clever way to conserve water.

My favorite though is the Principal. I can feel he really loves what he is doing. It is one thing to do what you have to do, and it’s another to do things with love and I feel that’s what Mr. Modelo is doing. We had a talk about how I think his job is fulfilling as everyday he gets to do outreach and help people out — and he said, indeed, it is fulfilling. Think that is what life should be about.

Though I am super sure he wont be able to read this ever, I just wanna say, “great job, sir!”.

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