Filipina makes it to Young Champions of the Earth finals

Published July 21, 2020, 12:30 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

A 28-year-old Filipina environment advocate is among 35 finalists in this year’s Young Champions of the Earth Awards.

Ann Dumaliang
(Photo from Billie Dumaliang via Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz / MANILA BULLETIN)

Ann Dumaliang is the managing trustee of the conservation and sustainable development project at the Masungi Georeserve in Rizal province.

She initiated the Masungi Georeserve project in 2015.

“Seeing the destruction and threats surrounding a place I love dearly, I knew it would be the regret of my lifetime if I did not do anything to try to make it last. I hope to continue protecting it as well as other wild spaces in my country,” she was quoted as saying in her biography posted on the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) website.

“Building on two decades of restoration work, we aim to achieve conservation using the holistic three-pronged approach of protection, education, and sustainable development–primarily through geo-tourism. By doing so, we wish to keep Masungi and other landscapes/habitats alive for generations to come,” Dumaliang said.

The Young Champions of the Earth Awards is a global competition organized by the UNEP aimed towards identifying, supporting and celebrating outstanding individuals aged between 18 and 30 equipped with fresh ideas in tackling the world’s most pressing environmental concerns. 

The top 35 finalists were chosen from a total of 845 applicants across regions. A global jury will select seven winners, one from each participating region and two from the Asia-Pacific.

The winners, to be announced in December, will receive US$10,000 in funding as well as tailored support to bring their ideas to life.

“Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cutting-edge solutions presented by this year’s Young Champions finalists are truly remarkable.

It is clear that this pandemic did not shut down the fight for a better world. Instead, it has reminded us of what’s at stake in our battle for the planet, and highlights how building back better will help address the climate crisis and preserve human and planetary health,” UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said in a statement.

“We are committed to providing young changemakers a voice, a platform and the opportunity to make their journey a success, while inspiring millions more around the world,” she added.

In 2019, 20-year-old Filipina chef Louise Mabolo was named among seven winners of the Young Champions of the Earth awards.

She is the founder of the Cacao Project and Culinary Lounge that boosted farmers’ income through climate-resilient cocoa.