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Swimming, trekking, family outings, road trips—now that summer vacation is about to end, you’ve probably had your fair share of these activities, which involve basking in nature’s beauty. But to make your break more meaningful, why not give back to nature by engaging in eco-friendly endeavors?

As May is considered Volunteerism Month, here are some of the environmental organizations you can join:

Haribon Foundation
Haribon Foundation is known for conserving sites and habitats, saving species, encouraging sustainability, and empowering people. It was established in 1972, and is now recognized as a pioneer in the environmental movement.

“Haribon” refers to the “Haring Ibon” or the endangered Philippine Eagle because of its roots in bird watching. This organization aims to promote and undertake community-based resource management strategies in specific sites. They also want to conduct scientific and socio-economic researches on the natural ecosystems and raise national awareness on sustainable development.
Get involved!
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Haribon Foundation invites everyone who is passionate and committed to conservation. You may express your interest by sending an email to recruitment@haribon.org.ph or volunteer@haribon.org.ph.

WWF Philippines
Previously known as the World Wildlife Fund, WWF was renamed as the World Wide Fund for Nature in 1986. The logo was inspired by Chi-Chi, a giant panda, who arrived at the London Zoo while the organization was being created.

WWF supports conservation in areas where biodiversity is highly valuable. It aims to save the Philippine environment by building a future where Filipinos can live in harmony with nature.

WWF Philippines has been a national organization of the WWF International since 1997, successfully implementing several conservation projects to help protect the most biologically-significant ecosystems in Asia.
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WWF Celebrity Ambassadors

Aside from being a multi-awarded actress and TV personality, Iza Calzado is also a national ambassador of WWF Philippines. She joins Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez in disseminating the mission of WWF and its solutions in climate change, conservation, resource protection and environmental education.
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More than just a heartthrob, Piolo Pascual is also a Forest and Water Conservation Steward. He participates in various environmental initiatives and promotes projects for forest protection and watershed management.
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The Legaspi Family is WWF’s Environmental Education Stewards. Zoren and Carmina, together with their children, Mavy and Cassy, work with the organization to create wider awareness among the youth.
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Get involved!
If you’re willing to lend a hand and volunteer for WWF, send them an email directly from their website at www.wwf.org.ph, or visit their Facebook and Twitter accounts. You may also give them a call at 02 662 3530.

Greenpeace Philippines
Greenpeace Philippines is an organization that promotes positive attitudes and behaviors towards the environment. Some of its major concerns are climate change, toxic pollution and agriculture.

Since Greenpeace believes that there is a lot to be done when protecting the planet for future generations, they warmly welcome volunteers who are interested to help their mission. Many of their office workers started as volunteers, who helped win environmental campaigns and promote peace.

Get involved!
Feel free to contact Greenpeace Philippines through their phone number, 02 332 1807 or send your inquiries to info.ph@greenpeace.org. You may also like their Facebook Page for updates and upcoming events.
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Save the Philippine Sea
SPS or Save the Philippine Sea is an independent movement organized in 2011 by concerned citizens who acted on the allegedly illegal importing of shells, corals, and other endangered marine wildlife from Indo-Pacific countries, like the Philippines.

It aims to protect the country’s marine and coastal resources through information, education and communication. Some of its programs include the Shark Shelter Project, SEA (Sea and Earth Advocates) Camp, and Pawikan Watchers.

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Recently, during the LaBoracay event, SPS held a celebration of the seas without the use of any plastics, Styrofoam or straws. Yet, they still made the Labor Weekend special through music, good food, poi and yoga workshops, booths and exhibits from NGOs and social enterprises, and the most exciting part – a 180-meter sand art led by artist AG Sano.

Get involved!
SPS is regularly updating their volunteer opportunities. Visit their website www.savephilippineseas.org or express your interest through email at info@savephilippineseas.org.

Let’s Do It Philippines
Aside from cleaning up waste, the Let’s Do It Clean-up movement also aims to unite the global community to raise awareness and implement change for a clean and healthy planet. This organization, together with the Let’s Do It branches in different countries, dreams to live in a clean and waste-free world. They recruit leaders who are willing to join the massive nationwide cleanups.

One of the biggest events that they are planning is the World Cleanup Day in September 2018 where organizations, experts, volunteers and visionaries around the world will also create a plan to stop the waste problem.
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Get involved!
Everyone is invited to join the movement and make a change. Visit their website at www.letsdoitphils.com, Let’s Do It Philippines Facebook account, or send an email to diezdt@yahoo.com.

Earth Island Institute Philippines
The Earth Island Institute is an environmental organization that promotes awareness, environmentalism and activism protection, as well as the conservation and restoration of nature.

Some of its projects include the International Marine Mammal Project, which aims to make the oceans safe for all marine mammals and marine ecosystems. The Earth Island Institute also developed a campaign, the Dolphin-Safe project, dedicated to monitor and protect the dolphins.
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Get involved!
EII-Philippines encourages everyone to join their advocacy through different activities like information dissemination, film showing, education discussions, coastal cleanups, tree-planting, integration with farmers and fisherfolk, and contributing resources to sustain their campaigns.

If interested, send an email to savedolphins@gmail.com or visit their website at www.earthislandph.org.

We’ve read and heard slogans about how saving the environment can also save the planet. But how do we attain such a seemingly ambitious goal? The answer is by breaking it down into simple earth-friendly changes we can easily incorporate into our daily routine. Here are some practical steps in going green.

Kick the plastic habit.
Sudden floods have long been the bane of metro living, especially during the rainy season. And it doesn’t take a tropical cyclone to cause water level to rise; just a bout of afternoon thunderstorms is enough to cause massive floods and heavy traffic all over the city.

According to the EcoWaste Coalition, a non-government waste and pollution watchdog, waste is one of the major causes of flooding as these clog drainage systems. Metro Manila’s daily waste weighs in at an alarming 8,601 tons per day and is estimated to rise to 9,060 tons per day in 2015.

That is why the group supports the implementation of Republic Act 9003, an act providing for an ecological solid waste management program. The coalition’s major projects include Balik Bayong, which encourages consumers to carry their purchases in a bayong or a reusable bag instead of plastic, which add to the problem of non-biodegradable waste. In fact, EcoWaste has been actively pushing for the banning of plastic bags with the help of local government units. Cities like Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Quezon City have banned the use of plastic bag, especially in wet markets.

Eat sustainable food.
Greenpeace, another environmental group that aims to change attitudes and behavior of people on protecting and conserving the environment, says that eating fruits and vegetables is more eco-friendly than eating meat. According to a 2006 report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all the forms of transport in the planet combined. Moreover, forests are being destroyed to make room for pastures to feed these animals, killing off thousands of trees that mitigate floods and global warming.

If you want to take eating green a step further, Greenpeace suggests growing your own produce in your backyard to ensure that your veggies, fruits and herbs are pesticide-free.

Cook with minimum energy.
Eco-friendly cooking begins with the right equipment. Greenpeace suggests that before buying large appliances, you should check and compare their energy ratings to know how many kilowatt-hours of energy they use up per month.

Compared to metal pans, glass dishes heat up more quickly, using less time and energy for cooking. Also remember that the bottom of your pan or pot should be the same size as the burner to use the minimum amount of energy.

Before cooking, thaw frozen foods first. And when boiling water, put a lid on the pan to make it heat up faster. Turn down the heat after water boils. Lightly boiling water is the same temperature as water in a rolling boil.

Store food smart.
Greenpeace says no to plastic and suggests using reusable glass containers for storing food in the refrigerator. Speaking of refrigerators, do you know that they use more energy than any other appliance in your home? Here are a few tips to minimize their energy consumption:

• The fridge’s temperature should be kept at 38 to 42°F (3 to 5°C), the freezer at 0 to 5°F (-17 to -15°C).
• Do not open your refrigerator door repeatedly. Before opening it, first decide on which item to get to avoid energy wastage.
• Don’t place your fridge in a warm spot, such as near the heater or in direct sunlight.
• For its efficient operation, clean the condenser coils at the back or bottom of your fridge at least once a year.
• Keep the door gasket clean to make sure that dried food and residue won’t damage its seal.
• Remarkably, energy consumption by the most efficient refrigerator models is largely unrelated to their size. The most efficient 14 cu. ft. fridge on the market today only consumes 106kWh/y. These efficient refrigerators are about 5 to 15% more expensive to buy, but will save you loads of money and energy.

Make the most of your bathroom time.
Each time we use the bathroom, it’s inevitable to use water. To make sure we don’t waste our most valuable resource, Greenpeace dishes out some ways on how we can be eco-warriors even during bathroom time:

• Use a pail for flushing or install dual-flush toilets to minimize the amount of water used. Use your wastebasket for miscellaneous bathroom wastes. Flushing garbage wastes water and can cause treatment problems.
• Mend any dripping taps or leaking pipes immediately. Don’t leave the tap running while brushing your teeth or shaving.
• A shower (about 10 minutes) uses 2/3 of the amount of water as a bath.
• Install water-saving devices for your taps and showers. Energy saving shower heads can save up to 20% of hot water usage and cut down your electricity bills. A faucet aerator will reduce the flow without reducing the water pressure.

By making these steps part of your daily habits, you’re well on your way to saving the planet—a task that doesn’t need superheroes to achieve, but small, individual acts that will make a difference in the long run.

Sources: ECOWASTE COALITION | Greenpeace Philippines | Greenpeace USA

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