For youth like Jonna Banzon, a visually impaired Special Education (SPED) student from Inzo Arnaldo Village Integrated School of Division of Roxas City, Region Vl, her condition will never be a hindrance when it comes to the issue of climate change. She believes that anyone, with or without disabilities, can make a difference to resolve the environmental problem our planet is facing right now.
As she spoke during the closing ceremony of DepEd’s 4th National Climate Change Conference (NCCC), Banzon remained firm on her role in mitigating climate change. Her unwavering care for nature and concern for her ‘kapatids’ (colleagues with disabilities) are her reasons for amplifying their calls to save the Earth, especially that people like them are among the most vulnerable when it comes to the climate crisis.
“Walang maliit o malaking kakayahan ang isang tao kung ang pinag uusapan ay ang paksang climate change. Lahat tayo nararamdaman ito, may kapansanan ka man o wala. Hindi lang ako uupo at maghihintay ng tulong dahil walang kapansanan ang maaring makapigil sa akin o sa aking mga kasama (A person does not have big or small capabilities when it comes to the climate change issue. All of us are experiencing it, whether you are disabled or not. I will not just sit down and wait for help because no disability can stop me and my colleagues from taking action towards this matter),” said Banzon last Nov. 25 in a livestream at the Department’s Official Facebook Page.
True enough with her words, Banzon proved that nothing can stop her from taking her responsibility on this planet as she narrated how they turn the wastes of other people into something beneficial by collecting the materials that are still usable from the school’s materials recovery facility (MRF).
Aside from that, she shared that even simple participation in small projects and activities in their school intended for environmental protection and disaster preparedness such as awareness campaigns and symposium is already a big help to the community and even to herself.
She mentioned the specific project their school is implementing called “Basura ko, linisin ko. Paligid ko, linisin ko” purposed to reduce wastes and to encourage the people to be mindful of their garbage. Banzon assured that just by maintaining the cleanliness of the surroundings and use of washable eating utensils, these are enough contributions to the environment as it can ease the carbon footprint which causes pollution.
As part of her initiative towards climate change action, she said that even in their own home and neighborhood, she was applying what she learned from the environmental activities conducted in their school. The girl emphasized that this practice is a test of their discipline which is important to be instilled in everyone’s system.
“Ang disiplina ay hindi lamang dapat mangyari sa isang kalinangan. Dapat itong nasa isip at puso natin. Nagiging parte na natin sa ating buhay dahil sa ganitong paraan, naniniwala ako na hindi malayo at masusulosyunan natin ang problemang kinakaharap natin sa kapaligiran (Discipline should not be only in one practice. It must be instilled in our minds and hearts. It should be a part of our lifestyles because through this, it’s not impossible for us to come up with a solution for this environmental issue),” Banzon stated.
In her closing remarks, Banzon called upon all the youth like her with or without disabilities to make a move and continue amplifying voices regarding the climate change issue. She disclosed that every time damage is done to the Earth, there is one life of a person like them that is threatened. That is why everybody on this planet must take care of it and protect it from destruction.
This feature story was written and prepared by Amabelle Franchesca Boncato (Student-Journalist) and Mark Bryan Bautista (School Paper Adviser) from the Congressional Integrated High School, Division of Dasmarinas City, who are graduates of DepEd-DRRMS and AYEJ.org’s Green Beat Initiative: An Online Environmental Journalism Training.