I'M delighted to let you know dear readers that Green Voices will appear weekly on SunStar Baguio starting this September, which incidentally marks the Season of Creation with "Jubilee for the Earth" as its theme for this year's celebration. It's a nice coincidence that this maiden column is published amid this ecumenical initiative toward protecting our common home!
As its title denotes, this column will feature the "voices" of people advocating for ecological perspectives and approaches, as well as just and sustainable solutions, to the plethora of issues and challenges facing our homes, communities and Mother Earth.
Thanks to SunStar Baguio for providing us with this wonderful space where we can articulate and share our views with the people of this dynamic city and the Cordilleras, especially during this period of Covid-19 public health emergency and other global and local crises that impact on our lives and future.
Baguio City is physically far from where we are based in Quezon City. But it is close to our hearts and to the advocacies we hold dear. During the past several months, we from the EcoWaste Coalition (a public interest group working toward a zero-waste and toxics-free society) have gone to the City of Pines to conduct product test buys, inspect playground equipment for lead content, or to meet with policymakers.
The receptiveness of the local authorities to the issues that we raised have achieved beneficial outcomes for the city and its people, including the enactment of an ordinance banning wet wipes containing harmful ingredients that can cause allergic contact dermatitis, especially for babies, the filing of another ordinance prohibiting the sale of skin whitening cosmetics with mercury, a potent neurotoxin, and the replacement of old lead painted playground equipment at Burnham Park.
Through Green Voices, we hope to reach out to more people and increase their interest and awareness on public health, environmental and climate issues, and the need for personal and collective activism in order to preserve and protect Mother Earth from policies and practices that threaten to damage her ability to support us.
Among those who will contribute to this column are Atty. Gloria Estenzo-Ramos of Oceana Philippines (an organization protecting the world's oceans), Rene Pineda of the Partnership for Clean Air (a multi-sector network promoting better air quality management), and Sonia Astudillo of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (an organization that envisions a just, toxic-free world without incineration).
Also writing for Green Voices are Marian Ledesma and Khevin Yu of Greenpeace (which seeks, among other things, to transform the new normal into #BetterNormal through green and sustainable lifestyles), Pats Oliva of Health Care Without Harm (which is leading the global movement for environmentally responsible health care), a colleague from Mother Earth Foundation (which is best known for its zero waste advocacy through the systematic reduction and proper waste management), yours truly and other potential contributors from the EcoWaste Coalition.
Nice to meet you dear readers, thank you and stay safe from Covid-19.
Manny C. Calonzo is former president of the EcoWaste Coalition and former Co-Chair of the International Pollutants Elimination Network.