By: Gil A. Arriola
Luisiana Sub-Office, SDO Laguna
The youth is the hope of our nation.
As stated by our national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal, they are the ones who are going to be the next leaders and workers of our country. To be educated and become highly functional individuals in the future, they are taught inside the classroom about real-life issues and problems. One of which is the crucial issue since time immemorial is environmental issues – which are faced until now by every one of us.
With this, the Department of Education (DepEd) established the Youth for Environment in Schools Organization (YES-O) through Department Order No. 72, s. 2003 signed by Former DepEd Secretary Edilberto C. De Jesus. To note, YES O is the only recognized co-curricular environment club or organization in the school and consolidates all other environmental and/or ecology clubs or organizations in school with primary programs or projects for the environment or ecology in the said organization.
To be able to make informed choices on the issues facing our society concerning the environment — climate change, plastic waste, and water waste to name only a few — suggests that we must give our learners the responsibility as young as they are to realize their role in environmental protection.
It is a must that we must teach them and instill their love and care for our environment. With the resumption of face-to-face classes, our students are once again able to expose themselves to the outside world. Exposing them to specific practices of caring and protecting for the environment, there is a high chance that they will inculcate it in their lives even after they graduate from school.
Some initiatives or programs, projects, and activities (PPA) YES-O are the clean-up drives inside and surrounding the school premises including public and common areas in the community; waste management, segregation, and recycling programs; awareness campaigns to address specific issues such as pollution, sanitation, and health; symposia/training; tree planting activities; 6. The fun run for the environment, etc.
Our YES-O elected officers are — in simple terms – environment advocates in the making. With their leadership and embodying the objectives stated in the DepEd memo, learners in our schools will be well-informed on how they can participate in the initiatives we have to work towards sustainable environmental problem solutions.
We are not just putting the burden of advocating for these issues on YES-O officers, but may we be reminded that as teachers, or just ordinary people living on this earth, it is one of our main tasks – to be able to promote awareness in others of the state of our environment and ecology and work towards the betterment of the status of concerns on the environment and ecology.
Nine planets there are and only one was able to cradle life – that is planet Earth. Our learners’ role in protecting mother Earth is tantamount to investing early in things that would help our world heal. YES-O officers must remind their schoolmates to always choose and do clean and green acts. Avoid using too many plastics; use bottled water etc.
A domino effect might happen if we do not do what is right. YES-O is a big part of the solution not only in our school but also for everyone in the community. As part of this organization, the learners must advocate, pursue and maintain all the projects to make sure we have enough drive to help and aid Mother Earth. Remember, small things matter.