One click makes a difference for this new member
As a celebration of National Heroes’ Day, Haribon would like to salute its members and volunteers who continue to believe, advocate, and support the goals of the organization.
By Bea Kirstein T. Manalaysay, Haribon Internship
While most choose to immerse online for the likes, retweets, and #selfies, there are those who find their passion through scrolling down their feeds. Enter Joaquin Medina, 30 years old, an Administration Manager who found himself at the doorstep of the Haribon Foundation.
One day, as he decided to browse for environmental pages on Facebook, he came across the organization and according to him only one thing filled his mind, “I immediately wanted to join."
He noticed that Haribon had strong involvement from its members, an active online presence, and regular volunteer opportunities. "I saw something that I wanted to be a part of," he said. The Foundation’s website and page features all its achievements and milestones for the past 44 years, and this got Medina engaged.
One might ask how someone from the corporate world developed passion for nature. He shared that one factor was the time he spent with his friends and family “…and that included my pets at home,” he said.
This love for animals was one of the keys into opening his love for the larger scope – the environment. “I grew up having pets, mostly dogs. My dog of 13 years, a Lhasa Apso named Hershey, inspired me the most because of the bond I had with her, and I took care of her since she was two months old. She was the first animal I ever took care of on my own and I loved her very much,” he narrated.
He loved animals but he was only mildly interested in nature as a whole and in fact, this passion started out really little. “Admittedly, my knowledge and passion about the environment has been severely limited, and I did not make a big effort to address this earlier on,” he continued.
It was through the Youtube channel of Kenan Harkin (Kamp Kenan) that Medina’s love for the environment was fueled. “Hearing him talk so passionately about the current issues we have in tortoises, among many other animals, becoming critically endangered due to human activity stoked the same passion in me as well. I knew that I wanted, like Kenan, to devote my energy and efforts toward doing good work in conservation,” he said.
His growing passion for nature had changed him so much. Not only did he become more knowledgeable in this green world, but a drive in him awakened to not just enrich these new learnings but actually adapt it in his way of living. Though he admitted having the internet as his main ‘mentor,’ without formal or professional background in environmental science, he sought to be more immersed, and to possibly help in the littlest and in any way he could.
“I trained myself to sleep without the air-conditioner to better save on energy. I discovered the philosophy behind veganism and how it fits in the bigger picture of the world. I loved it and I made that change last month, too. I went from barely doing anything to wanting to do everything to conserve our world,” he shared.
He admitted that despite this change as an individual and the constant enlightenment he is experiencing, the people around him were not into the same passion as his, but he’s happy to have their support.
Now that Medina finally takes a bigger step forward by joining Haribon, he finds it as an opening to better opportunities to contribute to world conservation. “It connects me to people who feel as strongly about the environment and are willing to share knowledge and experiences with each other. I am grateful being part of this group, and I thoroughly appreciate all the good work Haribon has been doing since the beginning,” he said.
These days’ trend may be #ChangeisComing, but for Medina, “I feel we can all have many different motivations towards the same goal of conservation, but we [should] act in unison. As Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world,’” he added.
Who knew that a mere click on the simple avenue of virtual expression and trends could help a man change his ways to a bigger influence? Perhaps, the internet is not only a haven for people who wish to express themselves, but it is also an instrument for people to connect to their passion.
Bea Kirstein T. Manalaysay is a 3rd year B.A in Communication student in Far Eastern University (FEU) and Editor-in-Chief of Advocate, FEU’s campus paper. She is currently Haribon’s intern in the Communications & Information Department.