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Best Practices on Sustainable Reconstruction

Foreword. With the Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda that devastated the Visayas coastal regions in 2013, cities and  towns’ local government units including the national government itself were caught unprepared for the “storm surge and powerful winds which unroofed buildings and demolished houses; humans and animals drowned or flew to their deaths. The Philippine government has appointed a “Rehabilitation Czar”, former senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, who himself admits, it will be a tough job, but doable. We especially share and dedicate this blog to all who are working on the reconstruction, restoration and rehabilitation of the communities, towns and cities destroyed by probably the planet’s worst weather catastrophe. The message is “building back safer” – with sustainable building principles during reconstruction not only to improve resilience to natural hazards in the future, but also to ensure that the opportunity is seized to shift towards buildings and structures that are as energy efficient, low greenhouse gas emitting and climate-mitigating as possible. 

It is important to integrate the principles of sustainability strategically from the earliest stages of rebuilding in order to avoid major failures during reconstruction. The key best practices based on experience from recent disasters and catastrophes in Asia should be kept in mind at all stages of reconstruction, summarized below:

1. Learn from experiences, which dealt with effective and efficient reconstruction, and from traditional building technologies which survived disasters. Many mistakes can be avoided by observing and finding out what concepts and, in particular, what construction practices, functioned well before a natural disaster occurred. Traditional knowledge and building practices have often evolved over long periods of trial and error, and are often both practical and resource efficient.

Coron_Green Reconstruction

Green Reconstructio & Energy for Coron & the Visayas Haiyan/Yolanda devastated areas.

2. Establish and maintain a well-functioning project-management process

A well-functioning management process is the backbone for the success of any reconstruction project. Contracts,  roles and responsibilities should be clarified as early as possible.

Flood Proof Residence_ Palafox Associates

Flood Proof Residence, by Palafox Associates

3. Ensure local participation in decision-making processes

The active participation of local stakeholders in crucial decisions throughout the project process fosters a strong sense of ownership and acceptance for the project, and helps to facilitate care and maintenance of buildings following construction. This is especially true if the users are also the owners of the houses; rented-out dwellings tend to deteriorate more quickly than do owner-occupied homes.

La Jala

Climate vulnerable La Jala Community in Coron, Palawan, where informal settlers enroached mangrove areas that are buffer zones for typhoons and storm surges. Who are to blame if they are the first to suffer climate change effects?

Relevant stakeholders – future house users, community leaders, responsible public authorities, service providers, etc. – can deliver important information and provide support that may be crucial to the project’ success and sustainability.

Ideally, relevant stakeholders should be consulted during the early project-definition phase, as well as during planning and implementation phases. This can be done through a stakeholders‟ workshop”, during which invited stakeholders set project criteria and develop ideas.

At this stage, the responsible local governmental reconstruction agency can also be consulted in order to ensure their support.

4. Anchor the project in the local context

Projects should be anchored in the local context by taking any or all of the following measures:

– Exploring the availability of local know-how

– Considering traditional/cultural requirements

– Working together with and not against the local authorities

– Cooperating with local service providers

– Using high-quality local materials when possible

– Building on and optimizing local construction technologies.

La Jala native community

A typical native hut of the Tagbanua tribe of Coron, Palawan, Philippines. Eco friendly? Yes. Climate resilient? Not really. Thankfully, they are built away from the shores.

Anchoring reconstruction projects in the local context can contribute measurably to community buy-in and a project’s success and sustainability. Local institutions and organizations included in the project process are strengthened and improved.

Community Consultation Coron

Community consultation and education by the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development.

5. Coordinate with other donors to identify potential synergies

Responsible local authorities should coordinate all ongoing and planned reconstruction activities, at least at community level. In addition, however, project officials should contact other development organizations (international and national) to determine jointly the geographical and social distribution of reconstruction schemes based on local needs. Identifying and monitoring the reconstruction activities of other donor organizations and ensuring your project is complementing, not duplicating, other efforts can save financial and other resources. Normally, there are reasonable opportunities to economize on costs of access roads, water and sanitation systems and other infrastructure. Donor coordination can also help to ensure the equitable distribution of reconstruction benefits to communities, especially to areas that are less politically popular.

Photo via PJ Aranador blog.

Korean donated tents in Estancia, super typhoone devastated town in Northern Iloilo.

6. Determine communication and knowledge-sharing strategy

Maintaining effective communication among all the stakeholders is crucial. Numerous sources have reported incidences of hostility towards development agencies by beneficiaries. There has been a lack of clear and regular communication between implementers and future users about options, plans, actions, responsibilities and difficulties encountered in the course of reconstruction projects. It cannot be overemphasized that all agencies owe beneficiaries the opportunity to know what is being discussed, planned, negotiated, rejected or accepted on their behalves. The internationally accepted guidelines of the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP) provide successful lines of communication. (See ALNAP, 2005, An ALNAP Guide for Humanitarian Agencies, Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action, UK.)

It is also important to ensure regular reporting and documentation of positive and negative experiences. This is important not only for any necessary handing-over to future project managers, but also for the sharing of lessons learnt at international and local level.

Photo via PJ Aranador Blog.

Coordination & information dissemination post disaster in Estancia, Iloilo.

7. Develop a risk strategy

Developing a strategy for how to overcome any potential risks to the project is essential. Risk strategies safeguard the project’s continuation, completion and, ultimately, its sustainability.

Strategies should be developed with relevant local stakeholders. The strategies should define how potential obstacles – whether political, economic, security-related or from subsequent disasters – should be tackled.

8. Conduct regular monitoring and evaluation (M&E)

Regular self-monitoring and evaluation is critical for measuring the progress of reconstruction projects. M&E can be carried out in a rather simple fashion by selecting key indicators (amounts of money spent on different activities, amounts of materials used and timeliness of completion of activities) and then collecting measurements and summarizing them on a regular basis (weekly or fortnightly).

If any indicator shows a deviation from the budget or from construction plans, then the cause for the deviation should be identified, so that remedial measures can be taken. In addition, an external evaluation can assist by providing a second and independent assignment on crucial issues. M&E can be complemented with “impact monitoring”, which is used to assess the environmental and social impacts of project activities. Impact monitoring provides valuable information about whether the project is in conformance with best sustainability practices (and if not, how it can be improved). Impact monitoring is also very useful for building the project partners‟ credibility with the local community, national authorities and international donors.

Houses Mangroves_LowRes

Devastated houses of informal settlers along the mangrove area, Coron Bay, Palawan. Learn the lesson: no one should be allowed to build any structure within the buffer zone for storms and typhoons.

9. Choose the lifespan of houses to be built

Selecting temporary or permanent shelter options has a huge influence on the house design as well as the project’s implementation procedures, budget and time-frame. It is important to decide early in planning for how long the houses should last.

 

10. Provide adequate temporary shelters

Reconstruction programs that are seeking to produce quality results require time for realization. While housing projects are being developed, displaced residents need adequate temporary shelters that ensure humane living conditions and enable residents to re-establish life as quickly as possible. Program budgets should anticipate this need.

Photo via PJ Aranador blog.

Temporary tent shelters for homeless victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in Estancia, Iloilo.

11. Consider reusing and recycling temporary housing components for permanent houses to be built in the future components such as well-maintained sanitary and kitchen facilities can be reused in new reconstructed houses; good-quality materials such as steel beams can be reused also.

12. Consider the overall development concerns and priorities of your organization

Most organizations involved in reconstruction activities have internal guidelines and standards for their activities, including environmental policies. Ensuring that your organization development goals, procedures and priorities are integrated into your project from the start can help to align projects with sustainable reconstruction objectives and avoid unnecessary costs.

13. Follow principles of bio-climatic and adaptable design

Buildings should be designed to be thermally comfortable in their climate zone with no or minimal need for mechanical heating, cooling or ventilation. Buildings should also be designed to enable occupants to modify or “tune” their buildings to suit their particular functional requirements. Adaptable design enables this by, for example, promoting strong structural design with flexible interior space-planning.

Coron_Picking up the piecies

What is your local government doing about climate change? Demand good governance. LGUs must implement their Disaster Risk Reduction Management & Local Climate Change Adaptation Plan. https://sstdi.org/tag/disaster-preparedness/

 

Source: Principles of sustainable reconstruction
An excerpt from UNEP Sustainable Building & Climate Initiative
Author: Claudia Schneider
Sustainable Building and Settlement Development Specialist
Skat – Swiss Resource Centre and Consultancies for Development

 

Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron. An opportunity to switch to Renewable Energy.

Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron. An opportunity to switch to Renewable Energy.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs  to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.  

PHOTO CREDITS: Coron photos – Al Linsangan III- Calamianes Expeditions; Estancia photos – Pj Aranador Blogspot.

5 Ways Modern Hotels Can Use Renewable Energy

Climate Change Mitigation 101 –  our series on Climate Mitigation for Sustainable Tourism 

Foreword. The tourism industry has a key role to play in confronting the challenges of climate change. There is now a clear understanding that the travel sector can be part of the solution to the global warming crisis, by reducing its green house gas emissions as well as by helping the communities where tourism represents a major economic source to prepare for and adapt to the changing climate. Mitigation in the tourism sector can be achieved by reducing energy use, through changing travel behavior, by improving energy efficiency, increasing the use of renewable energy, carbon offsetting strategies, as well as changes in business practices.  In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, not only the typhoon devastated Estancia, Iloilo but also second man-made disaster, an oil spill from a bunker fuel barge has wrought havoc to the town and its surrounding seas.   In this guest blog post, by Sam Marquit, of Fair Marquit Value, we show how the tourism industry, in particular the hospitality sector, can use renewable energy. 

5 Ways Modern Hotels Can Use Renewable Energy

Companies throughout the world are beginning to use renewable sources of energy. Renewable power, including wind and hydroelectric power, are set to rise by 40 percent over the following five years. Energy Department records already show that renewable energy accounted for 12 percent of United States electricity over the past year. Of this 12%, 5% came from wind and solar sources while 7% was taken from hydroelectric plants. It’s clear that renewable energy is here to stay as more companies embrace it. In this group, the travel industry stands out. Here’s a look at how renewable power is being used by the travel industry to lower operating costs and support a sustainable future.

Daluyon Resort Beach_ZCR & Asean Green Hotel Awardee

Daluyon Beach Resort, Zero Carbon Resorts member and ASEAN Green Hotel Awardee

Solar Energy

The solar energy industry is set to grow to $65 billion by 2016. Today, three-quarters of solar installations in the United States are less than two-and-a-half years old. Hotels of all sizes are quickly taking to this technology. One 16-room boutique hotel, which invested $80,000 in its solar panels, cut its energy bills by 60 percent, or $1,000 per month. Although solar power installations can take as long as a decade to pay for themselves, more hotels are choosing this option.

Green Hotels Best Practices: low impact, efficient energy

Green Hotels Best Practices: low impact efficient energy management & savings

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is ready to double in size as countries around the world embrace it. In Reno, Nevada, the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino heats itself with a geothermal aquifer located 4,400 beneath the surface of the desert. As much as 1,200 gallons per minute are heated this way, saving the company about $2 million each year compared it’s previous natural gas heating. For now, the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino is unique for its sole use of geothermal heating. This area is certainly a hotbed of green innovation especially within the hotel industry. Hotels in the area are continuing to be built and all are green structures.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Travel+Leisure Global Vision Awards Winner

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Travel+Leisure Global Vision Awards Winner

Bio Fuels

Biodiesel is quickly becoming more popular, and the U.S. economy reaped about $4 billion from it in the past year. The Hilton Stockholm Slussen, in Sweden, turns its organic waste into biodiesel at a nearby plant. Increasingly, the biodiesel that results from this and similar projects in Sweden are powering the nation’s vehicles.

Eco Agri Bio Fuel Implements

Eco Agri Bio Fuel Implements

 

Reuse

Waste management is an important issue at hotels, which are increasingly running programs to reuse linens and towels. Guests can choose to dry their towels and keep the same bed linens rather than getting new ones each day. To deal with waste from gardens and kitchens, the Taj Hotel’s Mahal Palace in India is sending waste to biogas plants and even offering facility tours to guests.

Nature's Village Resort, Negros Occidental, ASEAN Green Hotel Awardee

Nature’s Village Resort, Negros Occidental, ASEAN Green Hotel Awardee

Wind Energy

Companies such as Warren Buffet’s MidAmerican Energy Company are building billions of dollars worth of wind farms. In Kansas, a hotel was destroyed by a tornado, but its owner rebuilt a greener version of the hotel with wind energy that covers half of its electricity bill each month.

Six Senses Resort Con Dao Vietnam, Multi-awarded Eco Lodge & Sustainable hotel

Six Senses Resort Con Dao Vietnam, Multi-awarded Eco Lodge & Sustainable hotel

Renewable energy sources are becoming popular with consumers and companies around the globe. Hotels, which are major energy consumers, have taken a lead in embracing these new sources of energy. Along with saving money, renewable energy sources boost customer perception of hotels and support a healthier future for everyone.

 

Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron. An opportunity to switch to Renewable Energy.

Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated Coron. An opportunity to switch to Renewable Energy.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

 

 

Climate change mitigation in the tourism sector

An excerpt from the UNEP Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in the Tourism Sector. 

Boracay White Beach is gone! Photo via The Asahi Shimbun

Tourism threatening white sand beaches, coral reefs in Asia. Photo via The Asahi Shimbun

Tourists are traveling more often and to more distant destinations, using more energy-intensive, fossil fuel-based transport and the sector’s greenhouse gas (GHG) contribution has increased to 5 percent of global emissions. Other unsustainable practices, such as excessive water use, waste generation, and habitat encroachment are threatening ecosystems, biodiversity, and local culture.

But if done right, tourism can be a positive force for both the local economy and the environment. Sustainable Tourism aims to reduce poverty by creating local jobs and stimulating local business, while establishing ecologically sustainable practices that preserve resources and reduce pollution. Currently, only a minimal of tourism profits touches the people living in and near tourist destinations. Increasing local involvement can not only generate income but also encourage communities to protect their environment.

Boracay Island Garbage. Photo via The Asahi Shimbun

Boracay Island Garbage. Photo via The Asahi Shimbun

Investing in energy efficiency and waste management can reduce GHG emissions and pollution and also save hotel owners and service providers money. Under the right circumstances, natural areas, biodiversity, and cultural heritage—three of the main reasons people travel in the first place—can all reap the benefits of sustainable tourism.

Boracay Island Drainage on White Beach. Photo Via The Asahi Shimbun.

Boracay Island Drainage on White Beach. Photo Via The Asahi Shimbun.

The sustainability of coastal tourism destinations depends partly on their ability to adapt planning and management practices to the impacts of climate change and also to increase their ability to reduce disaster risks.

Why The Boracay Initiative? To save  Boracay Island from more Environmental Degradation

Why The Boracay Initiative? To save Boracay Island from more Environmental Degradation

Climate Change Mitigation refers to efforts to reduce or prevent emission of greenhouse gases.  Mitigation can mean using new technologies and renewable energies, making older equipment more energy efficient, or changing management practices or consumer behavior. Protecting natural carbon sinks like forests and oceans, or creating new sinks through silviculture or green agriculture are also elements of mitigation.

Mitigation by the Tourism sector can be achieved by reducing energy use, through changing travel behavior, by improving energy efficiency, increasing the use of renewable energy, carbon offsetting strategies, sustainable destination planning and management, tour operators’ choice of destinations and packaging of travel products, as well as other changes in business practices.

TCI CB Series II- Green Leaders Forum, July 2013

Learn to Lead the Green Way forward: Green Leaders Forum: Green Hotels, Zero Carbon Resorts, Sustainable Design and Purchasing

A number of studies present strategies available for increasing the effectiveness of mitigation activities in relation to tourism and climate change. Best practices from case studies for different stakeholders and local context have been formed as a guide to mitigation tools, covering techniques, policies and measures in various scenarios. Various mitigation strategies in the transportation and accommodation sectors as well as for tour operators, consumers and destinations have long been available and should be implemented.

The Coron Initiative Sustainable Tourism Capacity Building Program

The Coron Initiative UNEP APFED Showcase Program for Sustainable Tourism Development and Stewardship, Environmental Conservation and CSR

The overall objective of climate change mitigation strategies, policies and activities in the tourism sector is to contribute to the achievement of “carbon neutrality” in the sector. For hospitality and tourism establishments, “carbon neutrality” can be defined as a set of policies that it uses when it estimates its known greenhouse gas emissions, takes measures to reduce them, and purchases carbon offsets to “neutralize” those emissions that remain. Carbon neutrality signifies an establishment that has a zero net contribution of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. This includes all activities directly controlled by the company, including travel, purchasing of goods and services, and daily behavior of staff. Carbon neutrality can be achieved by improving the way the organization operates (e.g. through “green” procurement), by improving efficiency of operations (e.g. communications and meetings) and equipment (e.g. vehicle transport and building). Carbon neutrality also recognizes offsetting as an option (last resort) to achieve full neutrality.

Eco Friendly Products by EchoStore.

Eco Friendly, Sustainably Sourced, All local products by EchoStore.

The Tourism Sector is composed of a wide range of businesses, from small, local operations that service a single local market to very large transport, hotel and tour operator companies that serve global markets across entire regions and which sell or facilitate millions or tens of millions of tour packages to foreign destinations each year. The industry provides tourists with products and services such as accommodation, transport, food and drink, attractions to visit, and souvenirs to purchase.

Fresh Start Organics Negros Occidental Organic Farm and Products Showcase

Fresh Start Organics, Negros Occidental Organic Farm and Products Showcase

It is clear that the industry shapes demand through its marketing strategies, but consumers (tourists) ultimately make the final choices. Recognizing that tourists have an important role in creating business interest in sustainable tourism products, the sector must consider mitigation options and should be increasingly proactive in addressing climate change.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Educational programs for hotelsdestinations – LGUs, host communities,  private stakeholders and the grassroots and tour operators with Global Sustainable Tourism Council criteria. Training programs include Environmental ConservationGood Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals: poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate change. WASTE TO ENERGY solutions are now offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.

Green reconstruction for Sustainability and Resilience

Green Power_Coron

Coron, Palawan, the Philippines’ top emerging tourism island destination and hometown of The Coron Initiative was devastated by the Typhoon Haiyan-Yolanda. In the rush to re-build it is critical to restore biodiversity, enhance  & protect Coron’s coastal marine environment for disaster risk reduction, climate mitigation & adaptation.

Local government units (LGUs) from barangays to municipalities and cities must think & do eco towns & smart villages that integrate the Four C’s: Climate, Connectivity, Community and Character. 

The focus is on Climate-proofing communities, ensuring that they can cope and adapt to the impacts of climate change as well as ensuring eco-friendly, low-carbon designs and utilities.

Connectivity is about low carbon public transport to enable access to livelihoods.

Community focuses on a balanced social mix – ensure a place for the most vulnerable of our grassroots and

Character is about new high design standards and maintaining  the natural sense of place.

AN OPPORTUNITY FOR CORON TO HAVE GREEN POWER
You can support grassroots families to meet climate challenge. Read this article about Re-energizing the Future by Ben Kritz in The Manila Times

The community-based Coron Sustainable Tourism Cooperative with support from The Coron Initiative & our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.  campaigned for Relief Program with the Gracetoration Christian Fellowship for the victims of this disaster, mostly the grassroots members in coastal villages, as grassroots partners on the ground also struggle to recover, try to operate back to almost normal and move forward, for a sustainable re-build and resilience.

The first priority was to seek support for Solar Power or Renewable Energy as  there is no electricity-power in Coron now and in the next months! Even before the super typhoon, Coron has an unstable power supply and Solar Power or other efficient energy source will allow the locals to recuperate the daily livelihoods of the community based tourism operations to a semblance of normal. As Coron’s Green Leader & Sustainable Tourism operator, the Coron Sustainable Tourism Cooperative together with The Coron Initiative & the Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. – SSTDI can only practice what we preach: green energy! The town and nearby villages need a minimum of clean energy supply for basic needs: communication, food supply and storage, charge LED lamps and mobile phones; provide electricity at night, pump water supply, and help us in repairs of destroyed homes and boats.

The second priority was to seek Handheld radios with Base to be distributed to boats, tricycles, vans, office and village outreach. This practical communication means will ensure savings on exorbitant cellular phone costs and faster coordination for ground logistical support of these community based tourism operations needed to survive . With these two essentials provided, we can help our fellow Coron citizens and grassroots operate normally and sustain services for tourists who continue to arrive in Coron.

To have their homes repaired, boats safely secured, and the Coron people ready to serve is the best primary assistance we can extend to the grassroots community towards recovery and resilience.

Third but not the least, they sought help re-build one of the schools in order to continue the work on Education the children about Ecological Conservation, Sustainability & Resilience to meet Climate Challenge.

Coron_Typhoon Campaign1

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Easy to be Eco! Ways to be environment-friendly

Foreword. Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

‪‎Sustainable tourism‬ development and stewardship‬. Open to all interested on triple bottom line‬ & ‪‎social enterprises.

‪‎Sustainable tourism‬ development and stewardship‬. Open to all interested on triple bottom line‬ & ‪‎social enterprises.

Be the change that you want to see in the world” – Ghandi

Let’s start at home. Do your part to help mitigate effects of climate change, for sustainability and resilience of your ‘hood or city.

There is so much hoopla about the “rape of the ocean”, switching off lights on “Earth Hour”. We get overwhelmed by disaster news such as super typhoons, landslides due to deforestation and mountains of garbage and plastic during floods, that we are just getting confounded and confused by the day on how we can start doing our part for the earth.

Flooded coastal_village. Climate change + global warming.

We complain no end about smog and pollution, filthy floods on typhoons aftermaths, brownouts/blackouts, water shortage, epidemics and uncollected garbage, yet we do not even know where to begin to solve these “environmental” and basic utilities issues.

Every election, we try to choose public officials who are supposed to bring progress to our cities, but end up mostly with broken promises. Then, when a natural catastrophe happens, it is the only time we see them again, “working to the rescue” and aid their constituents, but mostly for publicity and ratings. We are supposed to know better.

So, how do we really begin to do our part, in being eco-friendly and help protect the environment? If Kids found organization to save endangered species and college students become “Green Ambassadors”, for sure we can do it, too! Simple, we begin at home, with our families and with our own neighborhood. Here are some easy, no-brainer, beginner eco steps:

Live frugally. Just buy the basics.

1. Live frugally.
Eco also means economic, and in these hard times, we have to learn to live simply. We don’t have to wait for a disaster (such as the Japan earthquake) to start saving electricity, water; go prudent on clothes or shoes shopping and the like. Just buy the basics.

2. Start your car pool and commute wisely. Save up on gas, parking expenses and carbon emissions with commuting. Avoid taking taxis and you will be surprised how much transport savings you will have at the end of the month.

Reduce toxins. Identify and segregate.

3. Practice proper waste segregation. Here in Tokyo, garbage will not be collected if you don’t separate correctly Avoid using plastics, BYOB. Bring your own bag. Not just to the supermarket but every time you shop. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Be an eco-model among your neighbors and teach them as well. Clean and green your neighborhood.

4. Save electricity. Un-plug all appliances including your PC when not in use. Best to use power strips for multiple appliances and un-plug these so you cut-off most if not, all at the same time. You will see a dip your electricity bill when you start doing this.

5. Save on water. During rainy season, practice rain catchment and store clean rainwater to wash your car or water your garden. This is big water savings for the next dry season!

Rainwater catchment systems

6. When going on a trip, start travelling responsibly. Pack light to avoid excess baggage fees and carbon emissions. Travel to cultural and natural sights but make sure your activities do not destroy the traditions and environment you visit. Start giving back to communities whose natural and traditional resources are threatened or endangered, or even join volunteer trips.

The Coron Initiative – volunteer vacation

7. Last but not the least, get educated, enlightened, pro-active in being green. Make sure to learn at least one sustainable tip a day. There are millions of resources online.  Yahoo Green is a great portal with many useful sources on living green,  nature, food & health, recycling, energy, technology and other essential topics. You can also follow us on Twitter for more on sustainability practices.

These may be small and simple steps, but if done altogether with your ‘hood and city, and serve as an example for your province or region, more people will take notice and before you know it, millions in the country will follow suit. When we make a  difference in our own small way, collectively, this will make a big impact and perhaps, we can convince our so called “public servants”, to start doing their jobs, too.

To know more about green, eco-friendly and sustainable practices for your community, join our Society!

Party Like There IS Tomorrow – Greening Events and Festivals

Do you know if your event is helping or hurting the environment? Include a Sustainable Events Management with CSR in your next big meeting or feasting! Not only the local host community but also their future generations will thank you for this.

 

APEC BORACAY Funtasea Party

An APEC Philippines 2015 party in Boracay Island hosted by Department of Tourism. When will the tourism and hotel industry start to green their meetings, events and expos?

Concerts, sporting events, conventions, festival and big outdoor gatherings are an essential part of community life that has a positive effect on society. Unfortunately they can have negative impacts on the environment. Events generate garbage, use electricity, require a lot of materials to run them, along with plenty of travel by the audience and/or participants that leave carbon footprints.

Bacolod City “Electric” Masskara. Is this a sustainable event? Does it minimize energy consumption? Genuinely benefit the grassroots?

triplebottom-linegraphic

Sustainable Events: think planet, people, profit AND the future generations.

Sustainable Events Management. Any event can be managed sustainably, whether small or large, a conference or caucus, an annual festival or something that is ongoing, like a series of spectator sports   – the concept of minimizing impacts of purchasing, energy production, transport, waste and sanitation can be applied in almost any situation. A green meeting, sustainable festival or eco-friendly live event seeks to minimize its resource use and all the potentially negative impacts on the environment.

“Greening” an event or meeting involves all aspects of the planning process, a detailed collaboration of everyone involved, from producer to supplier, from venue to viewers.

At the First Events Asia, talking about “Greening Meetings”. Educate participants to do green and eco-friendly practices.

Practice Sustainable Events in order to satisfy the needs of attendees and host community alike, while protecting and improving future opportunities.  Simply put, minimize and reduce the environmental cost of your events and embed the concepts of sustainability into your purchasing and operational decisions. Educate all participants to avoid careless and negligent behavior like leaving trash, using plastics and causing heavy impact to the already fragile environment to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Purchasing.  When purchasing, buy sustainably. Buy local.Purchase from local vendors and buy products manufactured within the province or region to reduce carbon footprints.

Handmade Gallery Useful Gift.

Buy local. Support local. Our “Certificate of Appreciation” for our First Environmental Forum in Negro Occidental were placemats courtesy of Handmade Gallery. Very handy and useful.

Waste management. Practice the new mantra of RETHINK, REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE AND REPORT.

Re-think giveaways – Ensure they are useful, utilize recycled materials, and have minimal packaging. Reduce or limit paper communications.

Energy. Use sustainable energy. Use ecological alternatives to diesel- and gasoline/petrol-powered generators. Reduce power consumption. Adopt procedures to reduce the total energy consumed by the event.

DSC00502

Skylanters are beautiful as they fly across the night sky, but environmental impacts and hazards can be ugly.

Sustainable Transport. Reduce the carbon emissions in transport. Provide participants, audience, staff, and volunteers with public transport and ride sharing options, and encourage cycling and walking to the event.

Form a Green Team to share about your environmental commitment and encourage participants to green their own events, meetings, conferences and other business practices.  

The Coron Initiative Green Leaders. Training the trainers for Environmental Conservation, Sustainable Tourism, Hospitality and Events. Sustainable Purchasing & Green Products & Suppliers talks from Echo Store Managing Partners, Ms. Reena Francisco & Ms. Chit Juan.

Lean and green. Even in an economic crisis, green practices and long-term sustainability goals should not take a backseat to the bottom line.  Incorporating green and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) practices into events and meetings can be beneficial —not only to establish their companies as good corporate citizens, but to actually save money!

Green Hotels_ Low Energy, Efficient Energy

Green Hotels_ Low Energy, Efficient Energy

These are just some of the many ways to green your events – the tip of the iceberg so to speak. Do you know if your event is helping or hurting the environment? Include a Sustainable Events Management with CSR Workshop in your next big happening!

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Sustainable Events, Festivals and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions).  Waste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management andrenewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

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“In the long term, the economy and the environment are the same thing. If it’s un-environmental it is uneconomical. That is the rule of nature.” ~ Mollie Beatty

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Waste not, want not: ecological solid waste management

ECO series on Sustainability: Solid Waste and Climate change

 “According to a new U.N. report, the global warming outlook is much worse than originally predicted. Which is pretty bad when they originally predicted it would destroy the planet.” –Jay Leno

 

Climate Change & Solid Waste

Garbage = GreenHouseGas emissions. Photo from King County Solid Waste Division.

Let’s start in our homes. Much had been reported, blogged, FB posted and twitted about  the worsening problem of solid waste in Metro Manila and other urban centers in the Philippines. There had been scores of seminars, conferences and fora  conducted to “discuss” ways of solving the problem but not fully implementing them. For how long will it take the country to attain a zero waste economy, no one knows. But, one thing is sure – time is running out and WE need to act. NOW.

Bag-O Plastics recycling plastic into crocheted bags

Bag-O Plastics. Recycling plastic to crocheted bags in Bago City, Negros Occidental

 

Why WE?

The answer is simple, but at the same time, tricky. Consider this: Metro Manila’s solid waste based on studies made by the National Solid Waste Management Commission Secretariat at the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), is estimated that per capita wasteproduction daily is 0.5 kg; meaning every person living in the metropolis generates half a kilo of garbage a day. With an estimated population of10.5 million, total waste generated in Metro Manila alone could run up to 5,250 metric tons per day, or 162,750 metric tons per month, a total of1.95 million metric tons per year. Definitely, a whole lotta waste!

Let’s start in our HOMES. WE must be part of the SOLUTION by reducing our waste. In Tokyo, if our garbage is not segregated, they will NOT be collected AND we will be fined!

Our daily waste, our daily RESPONSIBILITY. Based on the EMB study, only about 73% of the 5,250 metric tons of waste generated daily arecollected by dump trucks hired by our respective local government units – that is assuming our LGUs are dedicated to their duties to taxpayers. The remaining 27% of daily waste or about 1,417.5 metric tons end up in canals, vacant spaces, street corners, market places, rivers and prohibited places!

Garbage = bad health!

We deserve to live in a cleaner environment, a healthy family, neighborhood, city.

This explains why WE need to act. As we produce garbage ourselves, we are part of the problem. But, we can also be part of the solution by reducing our contribution to the worsening waste crisis and help mitigate climate change effects.

 Why NOW?

This measure is in fact 1o years too late. However, at the rate we are producing waste we will soon be having more of our human-made mountains of garbage amidst us or worse, find ourselves buried in our own trash!

Bacolod City - cleanest & greenest city? NOT!

Bacolod City has 19 dumps like this – cleanest & greenest city? NOT!

The catastrophic disasters and major typhoons that brought about tragedy and casualties not to mention filthy garbage in its course, should strengthen our resolve to do something about our wasteful lifestyles.

Talks about landfill as an alternative engineering solution to the garbage problem for the so-called residual waste, is fine. But where to site the landfill is another issue.

We all deserve a cleaner & greener environment

Mandatory SEGREGATION & 3RS should be done primarily at the SOURCE: household, institutional, industrial, commercial and agricultural sources.

 The most important reason why we have to act now on the worsening solid waste problem is their impact on human health and climate change. Health is a basic human right. We all deserve to live in a cleaner environment- a healthy family, neighborhood and nation. The only way to satisfy these needs is to do away with garbage that spreads diseases in our homes and communities.

Landfills and rudimentary incinerators contribute to global climate change by destroying resources. Methane produced from decomposing garbage in landfill is one of the most powerful greenhouse gasses and is 23 times stronger than CO2 in capturing heat. The less we throw away, the less garbage ends up in landfills, the less methane they produce.

Take ACTION. Get your public officials DO THEIR JOB on implementing Eco Solid Waste Management as mandated by RA 9003!

Take ACTION. Get your public officials DO THEIR JOB on implementing Eco Solid Waste Management as had been mandated by RA 9003!

Republic Act No. 9003 Revisited.  RA 9003 or the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act” provided the legal framework for the Philippines’ systematic, comprehensive and ecological solid waste management program that should ensure protection of public health and the environment more than 10 years ago. It underscored, the need to create the necessary institutional mechanisms and incentives, as well asimposes penalties for acts in violation of any of its provisions.

 How R.A. No. 9003 should HAVE worked for your community:

  • Creation of the National Solid Waste Management Commission(NSWMC), the National Ecology Center (NEC) and the Solid Waste Management Board in every province, city and municipality in the country.
  • The Solid Waste Management Board of provinces, cities and municipalities shall be responsible for the development of their respective solid waste management plans.
  • Mandatory segregation of solid waste to be conducted primarily at the source such as household, institutional, industrialcommercialand agricultural sources;
  • Setting of minimum requirements to ensure systematic collection and transport of wastes;
  • Establishment of reclamation programs and buy-back centers for recyclable and toxic materials;
  • Promotion of eco-labeling in local products and services;
  • Prohibition on non-environmentally acceptable products and packaging;
  • Establishment of Materials Recovery Facility in every barangay or cluster of barangays;
  • Prohibition against the use of open dumps;
  • Setting of guidelines/criteria for the establishment of controlleddumps and sanitary landfills;
  • Provision of rewards, incentives both fiscal and non-fiscal, financial assistance, grants and the like to encourage LGUs and the general public to undertake effective solid waste management.

How can we help solve the solid waste problem? Are you doing it now?

Adopt the 3Rs of Ecological Waste Management: REDUCE, REUSE, AND RECYCLE.

Adopt the 3Rs of Ecological Waste Management: REDUCE, REUSE, AND RECYCLE.

 There are many ways to do it. A highly recommended formula is to adopt the 3Rs of Ecological Waste Management: REDUCE, REUSE, AND RECYCLE.

In addition, let us avoid doing these PROHIBITED ACTS under the law:

– Littering, throwing, dumping of waste materials in public places like roads, sidewalks, canals, parks and vacant lots;
– Open burning of solid waste;
– Allowing the collection of non-segregated or unsorted waste;
– Open dumping or burying of biodegradable and non-biodegradable materials in flood-prone areas;
– Mixing of source-separated recyclable material with other solid waste in any vehicle, box, container or receptacle used in solid waste collection or disposal;
– Manufacture, distribution or use of non-environmentally acceptable packaging materials;
– Establishment or operation of open dumps; and
– Importation of consumer products packaged in non-environmentally acceptable materials.

Last but not the least, do positive. Take Action. Demand from your political representatives and public officials to provide the basic services as mandated by RA 9003.

Waste not, want not. Prov. Cliché If you do not waste anything, you will always have enough.

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation Disaster Preparedness and ManagementWaste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us. 

Source and further information: The National Solid Waste Management Commission Secretariat -ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT BUREAU, DENR Philippines; King County Solid Waste Division. Meguro Solid Waste Managment, Tokyo, Japan.

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