How One Generation in the Philippines is Changing the World


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Jillian Para, Writer

On May 15, 2019, the Graduation Legacy for the Environment Act was passed in the Philippines. This act requires students to plant ten trees in order to graduate from elementary school, high school, and college. Their goal is to promote “intergenerational responsibility”. What this means is that they want to teach generations that they are held accountable for the quality they leave the Earth for future generations.

“To this end, the educational system shall be a locus for propagating ethical and sustainable use of natural resources among the young to ensure the cultivation of a socially-responsible and conscious citizenry,” The House bill stated, written by Gary Alejano.

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This is a big step for how the world views education. Learning in school is not only about academics, but can be about important life lessons and the Philippines is really supporting that idea with this act. 

Students are asked to plant trees in forests, mangroves, reserves, urban areas, abandoned mining sites, and indigenous territories. Representatives of this act, like Alejano, predict that in one generation there will be no less than 525 million trees planted, due to each sapling having a ten percent survival rate. To put the Philippine’s future impact in perspective, there are approximately 15.4 billion trees cut each year and only five billion planted each year, on a global level. This means if they continue planting trees, the trend could change some of the Earth’s environmental damage, like climate change.

This simple rule got many people thinking about what the outcome would be if more schools did this. For example, if Canyon High School implemented this over the next four years, there would be approximately 22,000 new trees (due to there being about 2,200 current students enrolled). 

Planting trees will not only teach students to care for our planet and support the future generations, but this impact of the new trees will have on the ecosystem is going to be just as rewarding. Trees will provide home for many animals and can reduce the effects of global warming.

As the world changes all it takes is small steps to make a big impact.