By Aimee Oliveros
May 31, 2022
Traveling overseas again after over two (2) years was exciting because I get to see and feel the world outside the bubble that I was in. However, it was also unnerving with COVID-19 still around the corner.
A lot has changed over the past two (2) years, traveling now requires extra paperwork such as vaccination certificates, health declarations, travel insurance, and COVID-19 test results. There are also requirements for online registration to a mobile app or a website for contact tracing, safety pass, or declaration purposes.
Once onboard, wearing of face mask is required, bio-security measures were implemented, and I also noticed some vacant rows in the plane which I later found out would serve as an isolation area for suspected cases. Upon arrival, face masks were no longer required unless in public places. It was a common sight to see hand sanitizers and safety reminders. Most business establishments prefer contactless transactions. Physical interactions were unsettling and guarded at first, but I realized just how much connection was missed over the past years.
Despite these physical changes, I also noticed just how much I have changed, and still changing and learning. I realized that I am now putting priority on sustainability especially when it comes to my consumption while traveling.
It is a continuous process of shifting the mindset from over-reliance on disposables such as cutleries for food to bringing reusables no matter how physically challenging it was to bring them all the time; from consuming hotel bath products packaged in plastic bottles to bringing my own products to limiting room service to absolute necessity only; from reusing own bath towels instead of requesting for new ones to turning off the electricity when not in use; from mindful choosing and consumption of food to avoid any waste to being more aware of my carbon footprint, especially for air travel (you can see this in your boarding pass and you can check with your airline carrier if they have any carbon offset program); from actively finding ways to offset our carbon emissions (native tree planting, water conservation efforts, community outreach activities, etc.), to looking for alternative modes of transport with lesser emissions, if possible.
Access to resources and doing research is important to find the best options that will suit our every travel need.
Active and intentional effort is very critical since our goal is to sustain this behavior and action, influence our friends, families, and communities, and engage relevant sectors to make traveling sustainably more accessible to all.
As we transition back to a world with renewed options, our day-to-day decisions and actions impact the environment. With the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlighting the need for “systemic transformation” across transport and other sectors to reduce emissions, there is a need to reassess personal accountability and engage with relevant sectors to call for sustainability and responsibility. The time is now to make decisions not just for ourselves but for a livable world for us all.
The Highs and Lows
This month, we continued our conversations with Climate Reality Leaders from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, and Central Luzon.
With new leadership taking office in the coming days, we asked our Climate Reality Leaders what they want the next administration to focus on particularly on climate or the environment.
For Deemson Mones (an editor and a previous Biology teacher from Cagayan Valley) and Ethel Baquiran (currently a working student taking up a master’s degree in conservation and restoration and a part-time teacher of plant physiology), solid waste management and urban planning are critical to be addressed considering the worsening issue on pollution.
For Chevette Macalma (a nurse and recent bar passer from Ilocos), the focus must be on clean and renewable energy sources, implementation of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, among others, and enactment of more environmental laws.
For Pamela Joy Jonatas (an agriculture student from Central Luzon who is currently completing her thesis), the focus should be on solid waste management, composting, and more funding for environmental research.
This month was a critical period for determining how the next six (6) years will be shaped especially for climate action. Now that the elections are over, we should all remain steadfast in calling for accountability and transparency from our elected officials and in pursuing our journey to sustainability.
What’s in store for #LuzonLeaders?
Join our upcoming online regional hang-out!
June 16 – CRLs in CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Bicol Region
We would love to hear from you! Do you have any climate questions but are too afraid to ask, or maybe just a comment in our monthly column, just email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aimee is the Luzon Coordinator of The Climate Reality Project Philippines. She is a human resources professional with over 10 years of corporate work experience in different local and multinational industries. With her experience in organizational development, training and employee engagement, Aimee is deeply passionate about promoting learning and wellbeing. She is a Climate Reality Leader having joined the 2020 Global training which solidified her inner passion for community work and service. Being an advocate for the environment, she co-founded RE-Store MNL, a small shop promoting refill and reuse in Paranaque City. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences at the University of the Philippines Baguio.
ABOUT ANG KALUSUNAN
Ang Kalusunan or the “Northern Part” is a space that aims to amplify the climate stories and initiatives of the more than 1,200 Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders in Luzon.
It is one of the monthly columns launched by The Climate Reality Project Philippines to elevate the climate discourse and strengthen climate action across all regions in the Philippines.