The three R’s plus 10 trees

By Amanda Curtis,

Staff Reporter

Reading, Writing and Arithmetic are considered to be the “three R’s” of education. And, for good reason. No matter your choices after school years are over, those three academics are absolutely necessary to succeed in any form in today’s society. Unless, of course, there is no society to succeed in.

This has become an issue in the Phillipines as deforestation continues to be a primary environmental issue. Contributing to the significant drop in forested areas across the Southeast Asian country are widespread development and agriculture. Through the twentieth century, forested area in the Phillipines decreased from 70 to 20 percent, and from 1934 to 1988, an estimated 24.2 million acres of forests were cut down. Logging has been deemed the culprit of the loss.

So, what do you do when something needs to be saved? You make changes, which is exactly what Representative Gary Alejano did. In his position, the way he was able to contribute was by authorizing a bill to make it law. This bill is called the Graduation Legacy For the Environment Act, which has been approved in the House and has been sent to the Senate for action.

“To this end, the educational system shall be a locus for propagating ethical and sustainable use of natural resources among the young to ensure the cultivation of a society-responsible and conscious citizenry,” the bill states.

Filipino youth are becoming conscious of and responsible for climate change and a greener environment for their generation. Planting indigenous species that match the area’s climate and topography will be the focus.

With each graduate planting a mandatory 10 trees, Alejano estimates that over the course of one generation, the bill will be responsible for 525 billion trees being planted, 175 million each year by 12 million students graduating from elementary school, 5 million from high school and 500,000 from college.

Find something worth saving, and do it. A bill or law doesn’t have to be necessary to make a change. See trash? Pick it up. Plant a couple of trees randomly every year. In the words of Ghandi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

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