One Act Leads 10 Million Movement to Save Mother Earth

One Act Leads 10 Million Movement to Save Mother Earth

Antipolo : Philippines | Apr 30, 2010 at 8:50 AM PDT
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bayong environmental advocacy

What do Director James Cameron of the Avatar movie and Undersecretary Merly Cruz of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) have in common?

For love of the earth, they are mindful of this one passion and extended it to their respective spheres of influence - Cameron in the international film industry, and Cruz in the Philippine cottage industry development.

In this year’s celebration of Earth Day, while Cameron physically planted trees in South America, Cruz made an aggressive campaign for the use of natural and indigenous bags called “Bayong” to replace the tons of plastic materials that contributed to flooding in Metro Manila during the typhoon Ondoy.

Together with Cesar Cueto of Gateway Inc., they focused on informing people all around the Philippines about the global plastic problem and it’s ill-effects on the environment. Consequently, also exposed the dangers that plastic brings to our marine life and the local food chain. They offered the bayong industry as an earth-friendly and viable alternative since the raw materials are abundant in the Philippine archipelago.

Although bayong-making is an ancestral heritage of Filipinos, the weaving industry due to lack of demand was on the verge of dying in recent years. Weavers of this natural fibers was even enticed by offers in other countries to be able to feed their families. In order to save mother earth and the local bayong industry, DTI through the efforts of Cruz, revived the ancient art of bayong-making and aggressively packaged an economic element to it. They are now training new breed of weavers with the latest technology and new trends in high fashion. In so doing, the bayong will not be the usual bag that Filipino grandparents bring to the wet market anymore but it was also envisioned to be at par with quality fashion bags in the global market. It was estimated to bring 16,000 new jobs to Filipino families.

The project is bearing fruits one province at a time. The local provinces of Sorsogon, Laguna, and Muntinlupa already made drastic policies to ban plastic and promote the bayong to their constituencies.

Cruz went to the extent of commissioning WM Communications Asia Pacific for producing one advocacy video and one “how to” video in order to reach more Filipinos.

How about you? What one act of love do you have for planet earth? Join the 10 million movement in celebration of Earth Day 2010. Visit or email today and share your story.

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a video for bayong advocacy
journey2hope is based in Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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