By Jun N. Aguirre
Unknown to many, since 2000, a group of young people from Diniwid have been both mitigating and adapting change through book reading, coastal clean-ups and similar activities.
Founded by Elena Brugger, “Diniwid Youth Love”(DYL) with only eight members at the time, the organization has since had several successes in their campaign of promoting climate change awareness among the youth.
Charmaine Barrientos, who currently leads the DYL tells us that among the projects initially undertaken were the organization of a book club with regular beach clean-up activities.
The number of members grew through the years and by 2006, Michelle Caspe took over from Brugger, who passed on the torch to Barrientos in 2013. To-date, there are between 30 to 40 Diniwid who do beach clean-ups, collect trash, and read books and short stories together, each and every Sunday. Advocacy
“This organization aims to help save our oceans and preserve our pristine beaches. We also hope to inspire other sitios and barangays not only on Boracay but in the whole country to do the same thing and be part of the change,” Barrientos said.
“We also aim to educate the kids in reading and other educational areas. In addition, we want to raise awareness for locals and foreigners alike to know the importance of a clean beach and its impact on tourism and society,” Barrientos added.
A post on their Facebook Page says: “Did you know that “Drink responsibly” also means that you shouldn’t leave your beer bottles unattended? Hey, we don’t want the ants to get drunk. Come on!”
Devastation to opportunity
Meanwhile, some women of Boracay have turned devastation to opportunity.
Desiree Segovia, president of the Boracay Women’s Producers Cooperative (BWPC) tells us that as typhoon Ursula devastated the island last Christmas Day, “Despite the devastation, we saw opportunities. We gathered the toppled trees and trunks, we turned them into powdered form, and mixed it with several tropical flowers to form a soap.”
The soap is now being distributed to several resorts around Boracay. A chemist from the University of the Philippines has been helping the BWPC to ensure the quality of their products in terms of health and wellness.
“Prior to typhoon Ursula, we used the driftwood. But now that we have plenty of fallen trees after the typhoon, we now have more ingredients to be used for soap making,” she said.