Monday, May 23, 2011

Philline, my summer earth angel

Our world faces a true planetary emergency. I know the phrase sounds shrill, and I know it’s a challenge to the moral imagination. - Al Gore

VALENCIA, ORIENTAL NEGROS -- I did not have to be in an international conference to listen to the wisdom of Al Gore. All I had to do was go to the Writers Village in Camp Look-Out here, and discover an Al Gore-trained environmentalist Philline Marie Paye Dongga, one of the fellows in the 50th Silliman University National Writers Workshop.

This writer from Cagayan de Oro came to the workshop expressing her fear of not being worthy to be with the country’s best in the literary world. It is this sense of humility that made her presence heartwarming. But it turned out, her works in creative non-fiction successfully brought us to the soul of her passion. She is writing from the heart - the makings of a true artist. She made a promise to lead us more to good reading and towards a sense of mission: Go Green!

Philline, a TV journalist and event organizer, lives a life totally inspired by her training under the former US Vice President Al Gore at The Climate Project – Asia Pacific Summit (A-P Summit) in Jakarta with participants from 21 different countries from the Asia-Pacific region.

In a press release on her successful participation, she expressed: “I have always educated myself about the ideas of carbon emissions, carbon footprint and its relation to climate change but what I learned from the Summit, specifically the climate science update from scientists like Dr. Henry Pollack of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, made clear how urgent the situation is…. It is frightening when you consider the 2010 average annual concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has gone way beyond the upper safety limit which is 350 parts per million…. This means more extreme weather events like super typhoons and heavy flooding, which we have been seeing much of in the Philippines.”

During the lecture of Dr. Rowena Tiempo-Torrevillas to celebrate the golden anniversary of the writers workshop on May 10, Dumaguete’s tree angel Leo Mamicpic made a wish that young writers will make use of their gifts in poetry and fiction to make one important call: save the environment!

Dr. Torrevillas responded by introducing Philline to the audience. Philline expressed her willingness to extend her stay in Dumaguete to speak to groups who will need a concrete background on environmentalism. Leo's co-earth angels Cecilia Hoffman and Esther Windler right away got Philline’s contact for possibilities.

It’s awesome to know that someone from an urban center in Mindanao is living a life of an earth angel. I remember the weekend when we went to Siquijor, everyone rushed to buy bottled water, and Philline was quick to share with me that she has her own permanent water bottle so as not to add more plastic waste into the environment.

And I can’t help but follow her example as it is definitely one everyday habit that can be twisted to be a tool to send a green call of the people around me. Her bottle became a conversation piece and opened many more points of discussion. Each point came with much passion from my summer earth angel.