Amidst the unforeseen calamities and environmental problems surrounding Princess – she decided to change the world through one drop of water at a time.
In a simple effort to combat the changes in her surroundings where drinking water has become polluted – even contaminating safe drinking water with non-biodegradable plastic, a drive for change sparked within her. For years, the country has seen much effort to reverse and find alternative ways instead of using single-use plastics. One youth leader, along with her school in Dasmariñas, chose to contribute to saving the environment.
With her help and leadership, they started a movement.
Celebrating Earth Day 2021 virtually, Princess Franchesca A. Petalver, a grade six student and president of the Youth For Environment in Schools Organization (YES-O) club of Dr. Jose P. Rizal Elementary School in the City Schools Division of Dasmarinas, DepEd CALABARZON, shared how their school became the embodiment of change as they adopted the #TumblerChallenge in their school. It sparked a movement to eliminate plastic bottles and replace them with tumblers in school, which set the trend for schools in the country and even gained traction overseas – prompting institutions to phase out disposable bottles that harm the environment.
The start of the movement
Single-use plastics have been downgrading the quality of the environment of the archipelago, littering communities, contaminating bodies of water, and destroying the natural ecosystems of nature. With this in mind, the City Schools Division of Dasmarinas introduced Division Order No. 1 Series 2019 or “Regulating the Use of Plastic Products in Schools and Offices in the City Schools Division of Dasmarinas.”
This prompted the school principal of Dr. Jose P. Rizal Elementary School, Anna Lissa R. Villanueva, YES-O club adviser Paula M. Aninao, and Petalver to pioneer change in their communities by starting the #TumblerChallenge in their school last 2019. Along with the science teachers, they implemented the use of tumblers in classrooms and canteens, making the campus 100% plastic bottle-free.
To encourage the learners to take on the challenge, teachers spearheaded this initiative to manifest change in their classrooms. “Siyempre po mapapakita po natin ang pagsunod sa pamamagitan ng pagsunod rin po so ang mga teacher, sila po ang nangunguna sa paggamit ng tumbler para po yung mga estudyante ay sumusunod rin po sa kanila,” said Aninao.
With their accomplishments, they strive to keep the cycle of change going, and they have no plans to halt their movement even amidst the pandemic.
Pushing for more change
Their determination to eliminate disposable bottles in their school with the #TumblerChallenge has reached every corner of the Philippines and even some parts of the globe. Innovating the way we drink by using tumblers is a great way to minimize the use of single plastic in schools and Petalver, Villanueva, and Aninao push for everyone to join the challenge.
At the panel discussion on the second day of the Earth Day 2021 celebration, Petalver advocated for the youth to join the movement and be part of the change, “Maliit man itong hakbangin ay tiyak na may malaki itong maitutulong upang mapahalagahan ang ating mundo.”
Armed with their resolve to eliminate plastic waste in their school and community, the youth of Dr. Jose P. Rizal Elementary School, led by Petalvero, are at the forefront of it all. They started a challenge, a movement that would inspire millions to do the same with one goal in mind – to reshape the future of the world with their water tumbler.
This initiative aims to eradicate the use of single-use plastics in Dr.
Jose P. Rizal Elementary School and promote greener alternatives that solve current problems plaguing the environment. With its success, schools from all over the country took on the #TumblerChallange – testing their determination for change and their resolve in saving the environment. This movement revolutionized the way we limit the use of plastic bottles in schools and this is a testament to a simple challenge that became a national drive to change the way we drink.
Driven by her sense of purpose, Petalvero did not only change the world but also started a movement armed with her tumbler – filling the world with the eagerness to save the earth by drinking water.
The National Earth Day Online Celebration was organized by the Bureau of Learner Support Services – Youth Formation Division (BLSS-YFD), Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS), DepEd Region IV-A, and City Schools Division of Dasmarinas with the support of the Public Affairs Service (PAS) and in partnership with World Wildlife Fund for Nature Philippines, Greenpeace Philippines, City of Dasmariñas and Dasca Fiber Blaze. For more information, you may visit http://bit.ly/DepEdEarthDay2021.
This article was written and prepared by Rinzen D. Gonzales (Student-Journalist) and Allan Jason P. Sarmiento (School Paper Adviser) from San Miguel National High School, Division of Bulacan, who are graduates of DepEd-DRRMS and AYEJ.org’s Green Beat Initiative: An Online Environmental Journalism Training.