Filipinas for the Environment

This May, The Filipina Feminists are featuring four Filipinas who are fighting for Mother Nature and the Philippines' natural resources over on Instagram. Antoinette Taus, Marinel Ubaldo, Joanna Cariño, and Gina Lopez are environmentalists and trailblazers.

Antoinette Taus

Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Founder of Communities Organized for Resource Allocation (CORA), The Sustainable Planet, and Clean Seas Pilipinas

We've featured Antoinette Taus on our page before. Her work as a mental health advocate has helped us during some rough times. This month, we want to feature her again for her work as an environmental advocate. She is a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Environmental Program. She also founded Planet CORA, The Sustainable Planet, and Clean Seas Pilipinas.

CORA stands for Communities Organized for Resource Allocation. The goal of this organization is to "protect #LifeBelowWater and #LifeOnLand, and empower everyone to take #ClimateAction for the future of our youth." They achieve these goals by educating vulnerable communities and organizing activities and events that mobilize said communities towards a cleaner and healthier planet.

Meanwhile, The Sustainable Planet is an online store that sells reusable products including bamboo and metal straws, bamboo tumblers, and fabric eco bags. With each purchase from The Sustainable Planet, you are able to support indigenous peoples, their livelihoods, and their communities.

Lastly, Clean Seas Pilipinas is an initiative to protect the country's marine life and resources by refusing single-use plastic. It educates people about the dangers of single-use plastic and provides resources for more sustainable alternatives.

We are in awe of everything Antoinette Taus is doing to preserve and conserve the planet. If you want to get involved with her environmental initiatives, you can visit Planet Cora's Instagram page to learn more.

Marinel Ubaldo

Social Worker, Typhoon Yolanda Survivor, and Climate Justice Advocate

In 2013, when Marinel Ubaldo was 16 years old, the strongest typhoon made landfall in the the Philippines. Typhoon Yolanda (known around the world as Typhoon Haiyan) destroyed entire communities and caused thousands of casualties. For months, people had no access to clean water, no electricity and cellular reception, and not enough sources of food.

This experience started Marinel Ubaldo's journey as a climate justice advocate. Two years after the typhoon, she and 31,000 other survivors petitioned the Philippine Commission on Human Rights to investigate 47 major fossil fuel and carbon-producing companies in the basis of human rights violations caused by extreme climate change. Even though thunderstorms are common in a tropical country like the Philippines, Typhoon Yolanda was unprecedented, and companies like these make climate change and its impact more dangerous for everyone.

Marinel did not want to be a statistic. She wants people to know how grave the impact of climate change is, and she wants to hold those accountable.

Joanna Cariño

Human Rights Activist and Co-Founder of the Cordillera People's Alliance, SELDA Northern Luzon and SANDUGO

Joanna Cariño has been an activist since she was in college at the University of the Philippines - Baguio. During Marcos' martial law regime, she was illegally detained and tortured. After surviving the injustice brought about by the dictatorship of Marcos, Joanna didn't stop fighting for human rights. In 1984, she co-founded the Cordillera People's Alliance to protect the region from development projects that attempt to displace the natives.

In 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) tagged 649 people including Joanna as a terrorist for her work as an indigenous human rights activist. But she remains firm and strong in her resolve to fight for democracy. To quote her statement from the 2018 Human Rights Defenders World Summit: "But oppression breeds resistance...We have to build strong indigenous peoples organizations and learn how to assert our democratic rights. We have to unite with other human rights defenders to build a better world."

Another woman trailblazer, Joanna is the first Filipinx to receive the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights which was awarded to her last May 2019.

Gina Lopez

Environmentalist, Philanthropist, and Former Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)

Gina Lopez was born into a well-off family as the daughter of ABS-CBN Chairman Emeritus Eugenio Lopez, Jr. In 1971, she became an Ananda Marga yoga missionary after discovering the enlightenment from meditation.

She returned to the Philippines after 20 years and soon headed the ABS-CBN foundation as Managing Director. One of her main projects include Bantay Bata 163 which is a helpdesk for protecting and rehabilitating children who are subject to abuse and malnutrition in homes and schools. Other initiatives are feeding drives, scholarship programs, and medical missions.

In 2010, she led the clean-up of Pasig River as head of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission. Gina also fought against commercial mining in Palawan through a campaign which gathered 10 million signatures. As a champion for the environment, she was appointed as head of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) under the Duterte administration. Gina enforced strict compliance on mining firms and exercised the needed actions. She went on in an interview, "Any kind of mining operation in a watershed, that’s like saying that the gold and the nickel are more important than the water that our people drink"

At the age of 65, Gina died due to complications from brain cancer. People remember her still as an environmental warrior who is unstoppable when it comes to her principles.

Follow us on Instagram to learn about more Filipinas who inspire us with their advocacies! Turn your notifications on so you won't miss any posts.

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