1. Give a brief background on yourself as an environmental advocate
Hello! I am Lyra Ecuacion, also known as Lyra Auce. Born & raised in Mindanao, studied in Luzon, and currently working in Visayas. Living and travelling from one place to another is part of who I am. I’m fortunate enough to be part of a family that loves the outdoors. Our adventures is what started my journey in discovering the beauty of our Philippines. And I have been exploring for 18 years now.
2. How do you advocate for conservation through what you do?
Growing up, I was highly inspired by the Documentaries of Sir David Attenborough, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and Animal Planet. Today, I am in love with Photography & Writing. And I have used these acquired skills as an avenue to educate people on responsible exploring, and also spread awareness on current environmental events and issues. But mostly, I share good photographs of my adventures to teach people to see how worthy our country is of Love.
I am also a member of STEP Philippines. It is our goal to encourage, influence, & teach Young Leaders to be responsible with their environment. Our organization conducts Terrestrial and Marine Camps that includes educational training programs & brainstorming activities. We invite speakers from different LGUs & NGOs, as well as independent Eco Warriors, to talk about their experiences, advocacies, and their plans where we can take part in. We also have Environmental Assessment Trainings, as well as, fun recreational outdoor activities that teaches delegates to enjoy their experience with nature without disturbing her.
3. What’s an environmental issue/concern you hope to address, and how?
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities
Development in our country mostly does not consider plans for our Natural Environment, and even the longterm outcomes of its entirety. And this often results to a decaying urban sprawl. As an Architecture Graduate, I hope to help continuously educate everyone on how important our role is in creating Sustainable Cities & Communities. Our Job is to not just make a (beautiful) building, but to design a whole environment that efficiently works hand-in-hand with each other. This is why we study Nature in School – the characteristics of the natural elements, the users’ behavioural patterns, spatial flow, how a community can survive the possible changes in both near & far future, and many more – to understand how everything functions, and for us to be able to form a plan using those ideas. “Form follows Function,” says Louis Sullivan. We must learn to utilize this knowledge and be more ‘inclusive’ when it comes to planning. Architects can help bridge the gap, because it is our nature to understand and unify the collective ideas/needs coming from different minds. Let us be part of the solution.
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption & Production
Most of our Environmental Issues nowadays is caused by our attitude towards consumption. The fact that we can acquire things easily, has instilled an assumption that our sources are unlimited, so we demand excessively. But remember, everything comes from somewhere that our Earth provides.
It is a hard habit to break, but the only keywords you have to remember are “REFUSE” and/or “LESSEN.” Be ‘aware’ of what you need and take only what is enough for you.A practice I personally do is avoid using the refrigerator and aircon – less on the harmful GHGs. No fridge means you cannot stock food like meat or drinks, which usually comes with a single-use packaging – so that is already a less on meat & trash. Not being able to stock & preserve food means I have to buy only what I need, and I buy them fresh from the market. Not only have I lessen my demand & consumption, but I am able to help the local farmers & fishermen by buying directly from them as well.
But understandably, this isn’t doable for everybody, even for me at times. Good news is there are many sustainable solutions you can do at an easy level like:
– Bringing your own bag for shopping,
– Refusing products packed in plastic, especially water bottles,
– Investing in quality products that Last long,
– Repurposing Items,
– Conserving water & energy, and more.
What we demand is what they will produce, so demand a sustainable practice.
SDG 13, 14, and 15: Climate Action, Life Below Water, and Life on Land
No flora or fauna has ever tried to destroy nature. Any disruption in the balance of nature is caused by man. I say that because we have the ability to make conscious decisions ‘Not to Harm,’ yet we do so often. So, let us hold everybody accountable, even ourselves, because we are equally responsible.
Right now is the best time to set an example, and teach people how to live sustainably, especially the youth who will perpetuate this movement. People are paying more attention than ever, since they are already directly affected by Climate Change.
Once we live sustainably, a lot of problems will be solved simultaneously. We would have less impact to our oceans, our forests, our wildlife, and possibly regulate the Earth’s temperature – which will take decades, so better start now.
It is doable. In fact, we came from a simple, sustainable lifestyle. It was even part of our educational system. We need to relearn, and bring those lessons back with us today. We need to change our attitude towards consumption. Understand that we share the world with others, and those “others” provide us sustenance. Anything we do to save them, is actually saving our human lives too.
However, the real challenge is how to go about the system that is forcing us to have no time to be creative; that is forcing us to follow a tight schedule so we would thirst for convenience/ form an addiction to short term pleasures. This is where you take a step back and assess yourself. It is going to be a slow and difficult transition process, but the decision to change is a legacy that one can infinitely pass on to generations.
4. How can individuals be Eco Explorers?
1. FOLLOW the simple RULE:
“Take nothing but Pictures, Leave nothing but Footprints, Kill nothing but Time.”
Just like us, the environment feels and looks beautiful when not disturbed or stressed. We humans crave for love that makes us happy, makes us grow and at the same time, allows us to keep who we are. Nature wants that same kind of love from us too.
2. BE KIND.
Solving the earth’s problems really does start with THE SELF. So be kind to your self.
– When you are kind to your body, you become mindful of what you do to it, and what you put in it. So you start forming good habits.
– When you are kind to your mind, you become careful of the information you feed it.
– When you are kind to your spirit, you understand the importance of surrounding yourself with the right energy, and the importance of spreading good energy. So you start being careful with what you say or do. Ask yourself, do your words and actions come from a place of kindness?
Your environment is a reflection of you. So become that ripple that can influence your environment. Do so with kindness.
■ Your TIME
What’s better than an adventure? An adventure that has a purpose.
– Be involved with environmental efforts in your Area. Be active in seminars/trainings/camps that teaches sustainable practices. In Cebu, there are a couple of activities you can join in on a weekly basis that you can easily search on Facebook.
– Join an Organization! Goals are better achieved with a family that share your visions. (NOTE from us at Eco Explorations: You can volunteer for our different committees such as Events, Communications, and Partnerships.)
■ Your VOICE
– Educate other people. Speak up, but do so peacefully.
– Share posts or news about our environment to keep people updated.
– Report sightings of illegal practices to reliable organizations. You are put in that situation, because you are entrusted to take responsibility of that moment. Let us know, so we can help.
■ Your BLESSINGS
If the above does not resonate with your situation. This is an option you can do quietly and in your own comfort. Follow the social media pages of eco-friendly organizations. Most of us are non-profit organizations that rely on our passionate volunteers. And at times we need funding to continue our conservation efforts. See which causes you would like to donate to. Guaranteed it will be put to honest work.
We really appreciate everyone helping the environment in their own ways! Hoping the family of Eco Warriors in the Philippines will grow more!