By Pia Miraflores
Does Boracay need us, or do we need Boracay more? What have you done to help the island’s environment? Are you conscious of how your lifestyle affects the island’s environment?
These are the questions we ask our participants at the onset of our “We Are Aware” sessions.
“We Are Aware” is an environmental campaign for the island, educating about our precious environment and why we should care.
This campaign is a collaboration between the Friends of the Flying Foxes (FFF), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Boracay Island Water Company (BIWC), Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa (SLBO), and the Boracay Foundation Incorporated (BFI). The different organizations collaborated to come up with educational presentations meant to awaken the sense of environmental responsibility of each member of the Boracay community.
In the past, all the groups involved have conducted environmental education separately on their specific topics. We have conducted Information Education Communication (IEC) Campaigns in schools educating students, business establishments educating staff, barangays educating residents and many others. However, all the groups have decided to merge their efforts into one for a more efficient campaign.
Topics discussed are as follows: Tourism Statistics and Awareness, Bat Conservation, Biodiversity and Coastal Resource Management, Water and Waste Water Management, and Plastic Awareness.
The facilitators compress the abovementioned topics in a 1.5-hour interactive session. The sessions are designed in a manner that encourages the audience to share their ideas and manifest their level of awareness when it comes to the environment.
In the past, the government and volunteer private sector groups have recognized that the most common reason for violations to environmental laws are lack of awareness, lack of concern, and lack of information. The group would like to make everyone realize that each resident and community member has a stake and therefore has the responsibility to care for the island that has given everyone so much in terms of livelihood, income, relaxation, and fame. It is therefore reliant on the community to exert efforts to protect and restore the island.
The sessions are offered for free and may be availed by any island establishment (to be more efficient, a minimum of 15 persons for the audience is necessary), schools, offices, organizations, and so forth.
The group voluntarily shares their time in the hope of starting a revolution of change, which will empower everyone to be more conscious of their lifestyle and consumption behavior, and to always choose more eco-friendly solutions and alternatives for the future of the island.
We invite interested establishments and organizations to call the BFI Secretariat at (+63 36) 288 3971 or (+63 36) 288 6299 or email; firstname.lastname@example.org to register for a session for your personnel. The only requirement needed is to secure a venue, basic sound system, and a projector for the session.
We hope that the island community supports this initiative and helps us all become more aware.
Pic 1: The “We Are Aware” logo, lovingly created by Boracay artists Sigmund Torre and Takako Sono shows all the key topics outlined in the sessions