We're for trees. Cali, Kelmer, me and Andrei enjoying an alnus tree that we used to climb when we were kids. Around 20 alnus trees have been cut or earthballed at SM Baguio.
We’re for trees. Cali, Kelmer, me and Andrei enjoying an alnus tree that we used to climb when we were kids. Around 20 alnus trees have been cut or earthballed at SM Baguio.

In this article, I describe my positions in the issue of saving 182 trees in Luneta Hill, Baguio. The 2nd half of the story aims to find more ways to help our environment. Have other ideas? Do share! 

I was in SM Baguio just one week ago. I saw how 8 foot high curtains were setup to prevent people from seeing the earthballing activities from along the viewdecks of SM.

I’ve kept a relatively quiet stance in the issue regarding the earthballing of trees by SM in Luneta Hill, Baguio. (Read up on the latest about the SM Baguio Trees here)

I actually surprise myself with the apparent lack of fervor for this issue in my hometown. Well, here I am now breaking my silence. Here are a few thoughts that I’d like to share about the issue.

1.) Yes, save 182. I do understand the importance of fighting for the lives of these 182 trees. If we ignored this fight that was happening right in the sala of Baguio, how much hope is there for the other trees around the city and the country?

2.) Do what’s right. At the very least, I see this fight as a good example for our children. And there are other ways to give a good example to our children. Don’t we teach our children: “No name-calling.” That applies to adults too. Let’s be a good example, no name calling.

3.) Stick to the issue. Avoid demonizing people or institutions. I am saddened at how some people have lifted the banner of “greed”, “murder” etc. for the purpose of putting forward their advocacy. Let’s put it this way: I would rather listen to someone who is fighting *for* a solution than screaming out invectives against the other people. It’s totally un-cool just thrashing out at other people. Let’s be creative in getting our voices heard without resorting to taunting, demonizing or creating needless pushing or shoving.

4.) Apart from trees, see the forest. There are more than 182 trees that need protection in Baguio and in the rest of the country. Apart from protecting the 182, let’s do more to protect more trees. How can the time and energy of all these advocates be drawn towards planting more trees around and outside the city? When there are tree-planting activities, are the 5,000 or more advocates willing to volunteer to lead the tree-planiting activities?

5.) Be Pro-active. Where are our environmental organizations? What pro-active programs do you have lined up for 2012? It’s time to invite volunteers to join your programs, do it while people are passionate about contributing to the environment.

In all these, what’s my message? I support the preservation of the 182 trees in Luneta Hill, Baguio. I also call on our advocates to be more pro-active in preserving and growing the thousands of trees around the city.

For those joining the rallies in SM Baguio, stay safe, stay cool, stay focused. No demonizing. Stick to the issues. Let’s be kind — no need to badmouth other people who have opinions different from ours. God bless us and our trees!

For the rest of us who want to contribute in other ways, here are a few ideas:

1.) Reduce the use of plastic bags. Bring your own bag. When a bagger offers to put your purchases in a plastic bag, refuse it with a smile. ;-)

2.) Re-use old stuff.

My rule of thumb is: If I haven’t used something for more than a year, I find a new owner for it.

  • One way is to give it away.
  • Another way is to sell it. Because when something is given away, it’s easy for just anybody to get things for free (and disregard its value). Whereas when we sell the item, buyers (new owners) become selective in getting things for themselves — only the ones that are truly useful will be purchased.
  • Organize a community garage sale! There are so many things in our homes that have not been used for more than a year. Some items have not been used for more than 5 or 10 years. Maybe it’s an old shirt, old pair of pants, old bag, old books or magazines, old cellphones. If you have idle objects at home, it’s time to find a new owner for these items, someone who could make good use of it today (not next month or next year)!
    Things are meant to be used, not kept idle. When things are idle, the essence of the object is disregarded. Honor things by using them, or finding people who can truly use them.

3.) Plant trees. When was the last time you joined a tree-planting activity? Sign-up for the next tree-planting activity. Don’t see any? Look for one. Organize one ;-) .

4.) Pick-up litter. Next time go to a park, throw litter in the garbage bin, even if it’s not your litter. When you go up a mountain, pick-up the litter on your way down.  I did this when I went to the Mambukal falls in Negros last month. I picked-up litter from around the falls and along the foot path. I discarded the garbage properly when I reached the park. That’s my contribution.

5.) Here are other ways to help:

  • Volunteer for Isang Litrong Liwanag – help give light to a poor community near you.
  • Other volunteer groups:

Note: The links above are examples, results of an instant search for ways to volunteer for the environment. Please do your own research too ;-) .

What other ways can we make a contribution for our environment? Share in comments below.  ;-) . Thanks!


2 thoughts on “182 SM Baguio Trees and Beyond. What more to do?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.