Recognizing the important role that the youth play in tackling climate change, Environment Secretary Antonia Loyzaga has called on young Filipinos to take an active role in crafting solutions to the ongoing climate crisis.

Loyzaga issued the call during an event held at the DENR Central Office in Quezon City, as part of the agency’s Earth Day celebration with the theme “Invest in our Planet, Invest in our Youth.”

Over 150 high school, college students, and teachers from Metro Manila attended the event organized by the DENR.

“Welcome to this 2023 DENR Earth Day celebration with our theme Invest in our Planet: Invest in our Youth. We are in the middle of an emergency--and that is the climate crisis. What we need to do with you, the youth, is to become part of the solution,” Loyzaga told the participants.

“Every fraction of every degree counts and we all need to work together to prevent even that fraction of a degree of increase, in terms of our temperatures,” she added.

The activity was aimed at raising awareness, understanding, and foster commitment and action on environmental stewardship among the youth.

Loyzaga underscored the importance of participation, stating, “We all have the ability to make a difference, influence our country's fight against the impacts of climate change and the degradation of our environment. Today is an opportunity for us to accelerate, speed up our climate action by showcasing all of our ideas, initiatives and solutions to achieve our country's resilience on climate change and other hazards.”

DENR Chief of Staff and Supervising Undersecretary for Strategic Communications Marilou G. Erni said the event served as an avenue to gather insights from young people in terms of the environmental issues and challenges they face in their communities.

Participating schools and organizations include the Association of Science and Mathematics Educators of Philippine Private Schools, Oscar M. Alcaraz Community Scout, Brighton Ventures, Marikina Polytechnic University, St. Clare College of Caloocan, National College of Business and Arts, STI College, University of the Philippines – Diliman, Polytechnic University of the Philipines, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Universidad de Manila, Cagayan State University, New Era University, Quirino High School, Bagong Silang High School, West Fairview High School, North Fairview High School, Mother of Perpetual Help School, Immaculate Concepcion Academy, Ramon Magsaysay High School, South East Asia Institute of Trade and Technology, and Krus na Ligas High School.

During the event, the DENR held a visual communication workshop where participants showcased their vision of a livable environment and the significant ways by which they can achieve that vision through a poster making contest.

Teachers were also given a platform to share their hopes for DENR, so that the agency can further improve its current environmental programs and initiatives.

The participants listened to young leaders from the DENR as they shared the agency’s priority programs such as Clean Water, Clean Air, National Greening Program, Biodiversity Conservation, Coastal Marine Ecosystem, and Solid Waste Management. They encouraged participants to consider a career in the sciences and be part of government service in the future.

As a way forward, Undersecretary Erni said the DENR plans to continue holding youth-centered programs, including collaborating with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education, for more strategic partnerships that will go beyond awareness and translating this understanding and commitment into action.

Earth Day is celebrated in the Philippines every April 22 in accordance with Proclamation No. 1481 signed in 2008 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 in the United States and was globally recognized in 1990. #