Earth Day with Haribon
Through the HARI Eco Van, Haribon showcases the richness and importance of Philippine biodiversity to children.
by Luke M. Imbong
What can humankind do in a day to match up to several thousand years worth of provision by nature? A lot, it turns out, if the obvious gap in time is met with actions whose effects last well beyond a day.
Enter Earth Day, held last April 13, 2014 by the Haribon Foundation with the Cultural Center of the Philippines at the aptly named Liwasang Kalikasan. Each year, Earth Day is celebrated internationally to bring to light current environmental challenges as well as opportunities to combine nature and development while working for the future.
In the case of the Philippines, one of the biggest and most rewarding challenges is education. The country is known to have one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world, but the potential to benefit the common people is weighed down by a lack of knowledge of it. According to Haribon, this unawareness has led to nature and biodiversity being marginalized in everything from the day to day actions of Filipinos to the policies of the government.
A kid colors a picture of a tree. These trees produce our daily dose of clean air.
For the past years, Haribon and the CCP have partnered to meet this challenge head on starting with the youth. For Earth Day 2014, Haribon made use of the HARI Ecovan, a mobile library and multimedia center, to showcase the richness and importance of Philippine biodiversity to children 7-12 years old through their Biodiversity on Wheels project.
To complement Biodiversity on Wheels, the Outdoor Playschool program was conducted alongside it to give participants a hands on experience on what makes up an ecosystem. Led by Haribon Member and Training Specialist Czarina Constantino, the children explored the CCP grounds identifying native trees and observing the relationship they have with wild birds and insects.
"It’s rewarding to get to know how children think by using their curiosity and asking them questions," says Czarina.
Also present were teachers from the Young Artists Studio who shared their talents and skills to kids having their own interpretation of biodiversity. Amidst the scorching heat, the teachers patiently explained to kids what "art" is, and gamely assisted them in finishing their masterpieces.
These were a few of the highlighted projects and activities of Earth Day geared towards forming the next generation of concerned citizens, environmentalists, and conservation biologists. It is a small, but necessary step to ensure a future where both nature and people continue to flourish a thousand years more.