By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
For the first time in three decades, the Philippines will be shifting to an all-digital celebration of Environment Month in light of the continuing threat posed by coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Saturday (May 30) said it has decided to move all its activities online for the annual event held in June in adherence to physical distancing and quarantine measures.
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu said the month-long celebration should serve as an opportunity to reflect on the importance of a cleaner environment as people around the world start adapting to the so-called “new normal” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cimatu pointed out that the coronavirus restrictions resulted in positive environmental changes, such as improved air and water quality, resurgence of wildlife, and renewed interest in urban gardening for food security and sustainability.
“The stay-at-home orders and other restrictions have somehow allowed our environment to quietly return to its natural pristine state, and we hope these positive environmental changes will form part of the new normal,” Cimatu said.
By virtue of Proclamation No. 237 signed in 1988 by then-President Corazon Aquino, June was declared Philippine Environment Month to raise environmental consciousness among Filipinos.
The celebration coincides with World Environment Day, which is observed on June 5.
DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau has lined up a number of virtual activities to mark the 32nd Philippine Environment Month, with the theme: “Protect Nature. Sustain our Future. #HealNature4Our Future.”
Among these are the “Greenviro Games” or online learning games like trivia quizzes, crossword puzzles, word searches, and bingo; online storytelling for kids on June 12, featuring stories on environmental awareness and the protection of nature; and “Sing for the Earth,” a “Kantakalikasan” jam session, as well as “Envileague,” an environmental comic hero design contest.