​The little country that could make a difference

What does it take to effect change? Go where the children are – start where learning begins. How to go even further? Get as many stakeholders involved. 

Such is the latest initiative from Dole Philippines, Mother Earth Foundation, Gone Adventurin’, and schools in Manila whom launched ‘Sunshine Heroes’ – a sustainability drive shedding light on multiple different layers, that are equally important, centered on engaging the schoolchildren and instilling within them the passion to embrace sustainability, through recycling, as a lifestyle, as a seed aimed at a progressive movement.

“Champion better waste management practices starting in the humble household. Champion sustainability together, going further, as we move and work towards a sunshiny-er future for us and for our children,” says Ashvin Subramanyam, Vice President for Marketing and Innovations, Dole Asia. “Recycling is a habit that needs to form early. We need to teach kids and change their mindset on sustainability and bring that awareness home to families and relatives.”

This partnership brings private, public, students, adults, and the eventual effect on more and more people as we continue this model in the coming months and years to come.

The Sunshine Heroes campaign re-ignites the idea of recycling by educating, involving, and shaping students to future environmental leaders. 

The challenge behind the campaign stems from the fact that the current generation of young adults and household decision-makers were not raised in a recycling culture. Changing these habits will take at least a generation.

“Through this campaign, we are equipping the youth better to understand the importance of making recycling a life-long habit and advocacy,” Subramanyam adds. “Everytime you throw away a plastic bottle, a soda can, a tetra pack or fruit juice, or a to-go meal pack, you need to realize that you are actually losing a lot more than just a handful of trash.”

The program is currently in motion in five partner  schools as we launched materials recovery facilities (MRFs) where students will be requested to bring household recyclable waste to the facility. The collected materials will then be sold to local recyclers which continues the cycle of sustainability. Funds generated from this project will go back to the school to help fund other activities for the children themselves. Adding value to formerly something worthless will incentivize the community to pitch in.

The more colorful side of the campaign will be the introduction of four recycling characters to engage the youth further. Each character is inspired by endemic Philippine creatures like the carabao, the Philippine Monkey Eating Eagle, the Pawikan, and the tarsier – representing a type of ecosystem that forms Dole Philippines’ waste recycling initiative: trees, air, water, and land.

Public awareness and participation are vital keys to successful waste management measures,” ends Subramanyam. “For us at Dole Philippines, recycling is all about embracing the idea of sustainability as a way of life and a sustained advocacy. By educating and engaging our youth, we hope that can help us champion recycling and, in the long run, build environmentally responsible Filipino households.”

What’s your contribution to the bigger picture? Let us know at the comments section below or reach me on Twitter @ginuhit.

Mabuhay, Manila.

Drew Uy

I do words, food, coffee, and photos.

Hit me up on Twitter @ginuhit

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