DENR, DepEd ink MOA to strengthen environmental education
City of San Fernando, Pampanga (4 September) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here recently gave its public awareness campaign a major boost when it entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Department of Education (DepEd) to strengthen and sustain the gains of environmental education in Central Luzon
Recognizing the importance of ensuring a generation of environmentally conscious Filipinos, DENR Executive Director Regidor de Leon called for complementation and collaboration with the 48,000 strong regional DepEd whose 3,000 schools throughout the region could form the backbone of the environmental movement to help mitigate the adverse effects of global warming and climate change through school-based advocacy programs and activities.
"We are talking here of some 1.7 million primary and secondary students in the region. If the environmental battle were a numbers game, we could have easily licked the threats of global warming hands down," he explained.
Under the forged MOA, ecological topics and environmental issues and concerns among elementary and high school students shall be discussed, with particular focus on environmental protection and conservation, and what can be done singly or collectively by the students themselves.
"Public information and awareness through environmental education leads to a better understanding of the environmental issues of the day," de Leon said adding that environmental action stems from a clear understanding of the intricate nature of the environment.
Perla Collado, DENR Public Affairs chief, said building a constituency for the environment could be the country's last line of defense against the adverse effects of global warming and climate change, adding that the sheer number of students and teachers would be enough to push for environment-friendly programs in the region.
She said basic knowledge on biodiversity conservation, solid waste management, climate change, ozone layer, clean air and water, forest protection, and other ecological and environmental concepts are prerequisites in appreciating the country's environment and natural resources.
"These topics should be highlighted in our interface with elementary and high school students," she said, adding that it is important that students fully understand the dynamics of our ecosystems so that they may actively participate in their protection and conservation and become the region's effective partners in working toward a healthy and balanced ecology.
Mario Ramirez, newly installed regional director of the DepEd in Central Luzon, vowed to support the environmental education program of the DENR by enjoining and encouraging the teachers and students to plant more trees in school compounds, practice recycling, and proper waste segregation and disposal.
"Climate change is one of the hottest issues today, and we should bring the issue not only in our offices but also inside our classrooms to make our students part of the environmental solutions," he emphasized, adding that a more aggressive environmental education program tops his to-do list in the region.
He said that he has issued an official directive mandating the cooperation and support of all principals and division superintendents to actively participate in the environmental advocacy program.
The DENR and DepEd are jointly targeting this year at least 5,000 students to take part in the environmental education lectures among elementary and high school students. (DENR III, PIA Pampanga) [top]