Young students have shown growing interest in environmental issues, spurred on by their own concern over the increasingly unusual weather patterns and worsening typhoon flooding that the country has seen in recent years. This interest was very much in evidence among the students who attended CFA’s Kalma-Klima Forum in November last year and also among the students who participated in the environmental project contest which was launched at that same forum.
The contest is part of the program undertaken by the Communication Foundation for Asia with the support of the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE). The contest invited high school students in Metro Manila to come up with environmental projects that would address Climate Change and involve the community in their efforts. Contest organizers required that the project entries must show not just ingenuity but also adaptability and sustainability so that other groups are able to repeat these efforts in their respective areas.
Two sets of prominent judges from the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Environment Management Bureau, Climate Change Commission, Department of Education and the University of the Philippines–Institute of Environmental Science selected the ten finalists as well as the top winners.
The student projects varied from simple recycling, waste segregation and farming to the more complicated and scientific culturing of fish stocks, a floating model house, or the manufacture of sturdier boards from coco-fiber. The CFA team conducted project visits and saw first-hand how the high schoolers were able to convince their respective communities to participate in their projects and create programs that will mitigate the effects of Climate Change.
Manila Science High School gave a model design and mathematical proof that a one-storey house can be constructed in such a way that it would float during floods. Las Piñas High School showed how laundry water can be filtered and used to grow Nile Tilapia. Dr. Juan Nolasco High School rounded up their barangay and led a clean-up campaign for the Estero Pritil with two projects, Ibalik ang Ganda ng Estero Pritil and Vertical Garden Growing. Meanwhile, Manresa High School used a holistic approach with their Kalma Klima project which included an information drive, waste segregation and management campaign, composting and recycling, among others. Tondo High School presented two scientific projects to recycle waste products to produce new industrial materials. One group added chicken feathers to make raw fabric while another group used coco-fiber as an additional component to make fire-resistant fiberglass. Manggahan High School used the popular Farmville game as an inspiration for their project. Likewise, another group from the same school turned entrepreneurial and encouraged the community to segregate their garbage in exchange for practical goods with their Basura Mo, Palitan Ko project. And finally, Claro M. Recto High School, in their Lights Off, Life Goes On project, addressed Climate Change in the most simple and practical way… by saving electricity.
A ‘best practices’ video featuring some of the finalists’ projects will be produced by CFA for public distribution in the next few months. The video will emphasize simple and practical ways through which ordinary people can help counter Climate Change.