The Philippines is a tropical island nation east of China and Vietnam, and north of Malaysia. What could be considered a small and therefore inconsequential country in the Pacific Ocean is currently making environmentally-focused waves by requiring that it’s graduating students plant trees. And other countries might want to take note.
The Philippines recently initiated a new law that requires all of their graduating students to plant trees in order to be eligible to graduate. Each student must plant 10 trees each. The country’s House approved the “Graduation Legacy For the Environment Act” sent to the Senate for initiation. (1, 2)
Filipino Requirement that Graduating Students Plant Trees
While an easy way to get 175 trees planted in a year is to assign the task to young people’s schoolrequirements, there’s more to this new bill than making a big job a little easier. Filipino proponents of this new law not only hope that this requirement will be an opportunity for their country’s youth to help conquer the issue of climate change, but they also hope to encourage their youth to build up a greener environment for themselves and the generations to come. According to the bill, “To this end, the educational system shall be a locus for propagating ethical and sustainable use of natural resources among the young to ensure the cultivation of a socially-responsible and conscious citizenry.” (1, 2)
It’s estimated that over the course of a single Filipino generation, the bill alone will be responsible for 525 billion new trees planted. That number is calculated from the average of 12 million students graduating from elementary school, 5 million from high school, and 500,000 from collegeevery year, totally 175 new trees annually. (1, 2)
Students can plant trees in a variety of areas including urban areas, forests, inactive or abandoned mine sites, mangroves and protected areas, ancestral domains, and on other suitable sites of land. Additionally, students must plant species of trees that match the climate of the area as well as the topography. In order to assist them, internal Filipino agencies will establish nurseries, seedling production, side identification, as well as monitoring, evaluation, and technical help. (1, 2)
Why Plant Trees?
In a world filled with deforestation and industrialization, it’s easy to forget about the immense amount of good that trees provide. Here are 5 reasons why we should focus on planting more trees:
1. Trees Clean Our Air
By absorbing odors and pollutant gasses through their leaves and bark, trees help filter the air so it’s better and easier to breathe. (3)
2. Trees Create Oxygen
Not only do trees make the air smell better, but they make it breathable! In fact, a single acre of trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people to breathe. (3)
3. Trees Save Water
Shade from trees slows water evaporation from thirsty lawns and other shaded plants. (3)
4. Trees Save Energy
Strategically placing three trees around a single-family home can help cut air conditioning bills by up to 50 percent. (3)
5. Trees Provide Habitat and Protection for Wildlife
Birds, bees, possums, squirrels, and more all look for homes in trees. Sycamore and oak trees are among the most common urban species to provide excellent homes for wildlife. (3)
The Philippines is going to great lengths to help their country plant trees by making it a legal requirement. However, the government shouldn’t have to intervene for its citizens to do the right thing. Maybe hat’s something you can do to help your environment today?