PEx Supports the Footprints Project
On May 10, PEx had the privilege of being invited to the launch of The Footprints Project at Casa Nami in Makati, courtesy of PhilippineBeaches.org. The project aims to promote environmental awareness through making every Filipino traveller a responsible traveller and act as an active steward of nature.
There’s no question that the Philippines is indeed blessed with sublime tourist spots, most especially our immaculate beaches. Year in and year out, tourists flock to various spots in the country, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Tourism not only brings fun and relaxation, it also brings awareness, jobs and livelihood to local communities. Tourism does have a dark side to it. Tourism also brings forth devastation, thanks to irresponsible travellers and locals alike. Beaches get exploited with these people not knowing their impact on the environment. This is where the Footprints Project comes in.
Yoshke Dimen and Vins Carlos of PhilippineBeaches.org
Yoshke Dimen of PhilippineBeaches.org
The brainchild of PhilippineBeaches.org’s founders Yoshke Dimen and Vins Carlos, they explained that the Footprints Project’s mission is to raise awareness on how to reduce one’s negative impact on the environment and to provide guidelines to help travellers become more informed, involved, and in touch with their surroundings.
The 6 Steps to Responsible Travel
According to the project, there are 6 steps to responsible travel:
1. Research your destination – though going on an adventure sounds fun, it helps a lot if you do prior research on where you’re going (i.e. what to do, things to see) to avoid possible hassles and to keep you safe.
2. Recognize rules – always remember that you are a guest in that spot, and always respect the rules and regulations. There’s a reason why they’re there in the first place, and as an outsider it’s your duty to follow them
3. Reduce waste – an easy way to reduce waste is to simply reuse. Bring your own tumblers and food containers and always, always dispose of your trash properly.
4. Respect wildlife – Respect the wildlife and their natural habitat. Don’t pick up, touch, or remove anything from the reef. The beach and wildlife are part of a huge ecosystem and their longevity depends on your actions.
5. Report illegal activities – Report any illegal activity you see during your trip. Turning a blind eye is just as bad as doing the illegal activity in question. You may download Save Phillipine Seas’ mobile app at http://savephseas.mobilemo.com to report incidents that need to be addressed or simply log on to http://savephseas.mobilemo.com/report.php and complete the form.
6. Repost and retweet – Share your fun trip via social media and encourage your friends to do the same. Recommend any travel agency, tour, or attraction that promotes sustainable tourism. Of course, share the 6 steps to responsible travel
Also in attendance that night was Angela Colmenares-Sabino of Earth Island Institute Philippines who explained the paradox of Freedom Island. Freedom Island is a 175 hectare haven that stretches at the western side of the Cavite-Manila Coastal Road. It is the only fish-bird-mangrove sanctuary left in Metro Manila and also serves as an avian refuge to over 80 different species of birds. Freedom Island also acts as a natural shield against typhoons and in addition, local fisherfolk also depend on the island for their livelihood.
The island used to be extremely filthy with garbage, until various sectors of the population chipped in to help out to transform it to what it is today. However, Freedom Island is in danger of devastation from the government itself due to the Philippine Reclamation Authority. Ms. Sabino told those in attendance that night the importance of the island, importance of showing our appreciation to our environment and what will happen if we don’t do anything to stop the reclamation.
Eco-activist Anna Oposa ended the night with an inspiring speech. She says that the Leave Nothing but Footprints project is about people and as people, we are the greatest destructors of the environment and we also have to be the hope. If the earth could speak, it will say that we’re dumb. Since we’re the problem, we should also be the solution. We all have our role to play, regardless of our gender and status. We are all stakeholders in the environment.
She also says that the most alarming environmental issue is not global warming, not pollution, but apathy. When you don’t care about the things around you, that’s when problems happen. That’s the beauty of this campaign; people will be aware and hopefully do something about the environment.
Anna is also an advocate of stopping global whining. People have to do more than whine online, people have to actually go out and do something, regardless of how big or small your contribution. We as Filipinos live in a beautiful country and as Filipinos we have a greater responsibility to take care of our country. No one else will.
The Footprints Projects aims to preserve one of our natural resources, our spectacular tourist destinations. The next time you travel, make sure you make a positive impact on the environment. Don’t leave trash, don’t leave any damage. Leave nothing but footprints. Protecting our environment, our sublime spots and pristine beaches is something PinoyExchange fully supports. On our next travel trip, you’ll be sure that we’ll leave nothing but footprints.