When the youth learn about different ways to help the environment, it may have an impact on how they see things and what they do next. Such is the case for a number of student ambassadors who participated in a leadership program and a discovery tour to learn about sustainability and disaster resilience practices. Through their learning and new experiences, these emerging eco-warriors now believe in their capacity to help drive change and are enthusiastic about contributing to environmental well-being.
Integrated property developer SM Prime Holdings Inc., one of the leading and responsible integrated property developers on Southeast Asia, has partnered with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines for the project "YOUth are the Future."
This youth engagement program aims to help empower young student leaders with environmental conservation awareness and strengthen their knowledge about the environment, climate change, and sustainability issues.
Thirty senior high school students from various schools in Metro Manila were selected as youth ambassadors. They had an immersive experience that provided valuable insights into environmental conservation and sustainable living.
"Helping the students discover what their climate action will be. So, the learning that they will get from this project is experiential. They did a tour this morning, they will have an eco-camp. There is really nothing better than learning from your experience," said Katherine Custodio, Executive Director of World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines.
"YOUth are the Future" is organized into three phases of environmental programs and activities, culminating in a nationwide mall and school tour.
The project kicked off with a discovery tour at the SM Mall of Asia Complex where the students experienced SM's sustainability efforts firsthand. They explored five key locations within the complex while riding an electric bus designed to be inclusive and accommodating for individuals with disabilities.
Hans Sy Jr., President of SM Engineering Design and Development Corporation (SMEDD) explained, "We were able to show them small features that a lot of customers take for granted. So, we explained our lighting systems. We tell them, look, these are highly efficient technologies. And then, we also showed them small things like our escalators are sensored; so that if there is nobody on it, it stops. We also showed them our solar rooftop. We showed them that even during the daytime, we are generating some level of energy. We showed them our electric chargers for our electric-powered vehicles."
Empowering youth ambassadors: From immersion to eco camp
Following their immersion experience, the students were formally presented as youth ambassadors in a ceremonial activity. Present during the launch were champions for sustainability and environmental conservation, SM Prime, the World Wide Fund, DENR, DOST, and DEPED.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga expressed her support and confidence for this project, "The youth have the energy. They have the ambition to have a better world. And this is where it has to start with this generation."
After Phase 1, the youth ambassadors will attend a three-day eco camp at Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club in Batangas in November. The eco-camp is expected to delve into the country's current environmental issues, such as energy, water, climate change, and biodiversity. Key speakers will provide insights and challenge the youth ambassadors to create solutions. The camp will end with a fellowship and talent night.
Committed to conserving the environment
After acquiring knowledge and insight, it is time to put them into practice in their daily lives. The youth ambassadors are tasked with creating a Green Manifesto in support of environmental conservation, which will serve as a recommendation for decision-makers. They will also collaborate on developing a themed storybook module, to be launched during the project's final phase.
Hans Sy Jr. emphasized, "There is no way we will ever compromise on environmental standards. And we want to now show people that this is exactly what we are doing."
Every effort, whether big or small, counts in protecting and preserving our environment for a bright and green future.
To learn more about "YOUth are the Future," and its activities, check out the official Facebook pages of SM Cares and WWF-Philippines.
NOTE: BrandNews articles are promotional features from our sponsors and not news articles from our editorial staff.