Just as I was getting used to my new relaxed life in the Philippines, I was reminded of the real reason I spent a total of 17 hours in the air to fly half way across the world. No it was not their delicious desserts and ability to purchase rice at McDonald’s. It was the chance to intern at the Law of Nature Foundation and learn more about environmental law than I could have dreamed possible.
The office is located in Alabang, about an hour and 15 minutes south of Marikina City, sometimes more, with the infamous Filipino traffic. At most, the small two-room space on the 6th floor of the Westgate building consists of three people: the secretary Lisa, the young multitasking genius Vivienne, and the founder of the organization, Atty. Tony Oposa. While the office doesn’t seem impressive, don’t be fooled. Projects include: a sailing and environmental eduction school in Bantayan Island, one of the top vacation spots in the Philippines, a Road Revolution in Cebu city, a Global Action on Climate Change, ongoing legal battles, presentations to the Senate, and coral restoration all occurring at the same time.
It’s a lot to take in. Especially on a first day. Anna Oposa, Atty’s daughter, is extremely active in the organization too. She spoke at the Senate hearing on the illegal exportation of black sea corals and was quoted extensively on the front page of Philippines Daily Inquirer. By the end of my first week, I had already visited the Senate to speak with senators about the illegal black sea coral exports and met a director about a new bill. I received a personal invitation to the house of the Filipino president, a flight to Cebu to meet the masterminds behind the Road Revolution, and solidified plans to spend an entire month on Bantayan Island researching environmental economics for Oposa’s upcoming book.
I need a nap. But check out the Road Revolution. A petition is being signed to change Osmeña Boulevard, a major street in Cebu City, into a street focused on people. The proposed road will allocate 30% for sidewalks, 30% for bike lanes, 30% traffic, and 10% for edible gardens. It’s a mind revolution in the truest sense of the world. You can also read about it by blog and like it on Facebook!!
I’m perspiring just thinking about the next couple months. Oh wait, that’s the humidity.