Educating on Sustainability and Sustaining Education

Manila, Philippines—July 13, 2016—Drink, in partnership with the Catholic Education Association of the Philippines (CEAP), held a seminar on July 5, 2016 to bring to light the mutually beneficial relationship of education and sustainability, and ways to integrate sustainability into our educational systems. The event was held at the CEAP Auditorium in Quezon City, and is a part of Drink Ideas, Drink’s ongoing initiative to collaborate with other organizations and leaders to bring sustainability to the fore.

The gathering began with a prayer led by Mary Ann Cruz of CEAP. Brother Jun Erguiza FSC then gave a keynote address on committing to sustainability as our duty to God, our people, and our country. He explained the need to be more thorough and committed to our environmental efforts, giving their Own A Tree initiative as an example. By owning a tree, having it named after a person and ensuring its survival, “we go back to the biblical definition of ownership, which is really about stewardship.” This was then followed by a perspective setting by Allan Arellano, CEAP’s Officer in Charge and Executive Director.

Educators from different schools grouped together to assess their schools’ value chains

The discussion on sustainability in education opened as COO and Drink Ideas Head Camille Dela Rosa explained the role of education in sustainability. “Academic institutions have considerable footprints but also brain prints, which can be defined as your impacts on policy and ideology.” Dela Rosa cited examples of how schools consume electricity, water, and supplies, and then gave pointers on mapping the supply chain and identifying areas for improvement.

The participating faculties from the attending schools were then asked to mingle and discuss opportunities to practice sustainability in their schools. Examples of initiatives by these schools are paper recycling, instilling environmental responsibility in students through policies and programs, and saving energy by turning to renewable sources of energy.

Anna Oposa of Save Philippine Seas talks about the many approaches we can take to educate the youth about the environment

In the afternoon sessions, participants learned more about how sustainability practitioners are raising environmental awareness and developing innovators. Gio Labindao of Canon addressed paper management and shared examples of wasteful habits to avoid, such as printing on only one page, discarding scratch paper, and leaving printed material unchecked.

Action begins with awareness, and this was emphasized by Anna Oposa, Executive Director and Chief Mermaid of Save Philippine Seas. “Our role as educators is to influence young minds to care about the environment,” Oposa said. She then cited methods of teaching environmental awareness, derived from their own program at the SEA Camp: children’s games modified to impart knowledge about marine life, mock proposals for environmental projects, activities where the participants write to world leaders regarding their environmental concerns, and even a course dedicated to environment education.

Drink’s President and CEO Harris Guevarra summarizes the day’s discussions and explains the role of communication in education and sustainability

In application of the day’s learnings, guests were once again asked to work with their previous groups to demonstrate a creative way they will teach certain sustainability topics, such as waste management and transportation, to students. The educators got creative by performing choreographed jingles and acting out informative scenarios.

To cap the day off, Harris Guevarra, President and CEO of Drink, expounded on the value of communication in education and sustainability.

From left to right: (1) Mary Ann Cruz, (2) Harris Guevarra, (3) Camille dela Rosa, and (4) Allan Arellano

Being role models and teaching students to be environmentally responsible are no easy tasks, but with lessons learned and a united cause, sustainability will become a vital part of our education system’s brain print.

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