Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J. P. Paje made his annual call on the public to be “nature-friendly” as they enjoy the approaching long weekend and the rest of the summer season.

Paje issued the reminder in view of the approaching five-day weekend from Maundy Thursday of Holy Week on April 5 to Araw ng Kagitingan on April 9. Filipinos usually take advantage of the long weekend to troop to their home provinces and to other vacation spots in the country. The summer season is also when the country experiences peak arrivals from tourists, both foreign and local.

Paje said that regardless of how the break would be celebrated, the public should always remain mindful of the impact of their activities on the environment. He also noted how “Araw ng Kagitingan” would also be an opportune time to remember not only the heroes of World War II “but also the 22 environmental heroes who died while protecting the country’s natural resources.”

The DENR considers as “environmental heroes” its employees who were killed in defense of the country’s natural resources.

“Remember that where you are and what you are enjoying, from the top of the mountain to the depths of the sea, all are part of God’s creation, and there are those who actually lost their lives to protect it. Make sure, therefore, that what you do is neither destructive nor extractive so that our natural resources will still be available for future generations to experience, so that their deaths would not be in vain,” he said.

The environment chief also suggested the following activities for the summer season:

Reduce waste and utilize reusable containers instead of single-use disposable plastic bags. Learn handicrafts that creatively recycle waste material into something useful.
Conserve water so as not to deplete fresh water resources.
Have vehicles fine-tuned for fuel efficiency and reduce air pollution.
Ride a bike or take leisure walks not only for the exercise but to better appreciate surroundings.
Organize or participate in environmental activities such as seed collection, tree potting or nurturing, as well as cleanup activities especially along waterways and coastlines.
“Respect for nature and what it offers us transcends religious beliefs and cultural traditions. The natural resources we are enjoying now are only borrowed from our grandchildren, and it is, therefore, our duty to protect them,” Paje stated.