EarthSavers Movement founding chair, and now Climate Change Commissioner Heherson T. Alvarez, announced the eight recipients of this year's Fr. Neri Satur Award for Environmental Heroism. The Award, given annually for a decade now in observance of International Earth Day, is co-organized by the EarthSavers UNESCO DREAM Center, the United Nations National Commission (UNACOM), the Philippine Center of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) headed by Secretary Ramon Paje, with the blessings of His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales.
Alvarez said Dr. Gerry Ortega is being posthumously honored as an environmental leader and media practitioner promoting climate balance and sustainable development, particularly his opposition to destructive mining activities in the Province of Palawan.
"The Award is also being posthumously bestowed upon Dr. Leonard Co for his significant contributions to Philippine botany and his lifetime dedication to plant biodiversity conservation in the Philippines," said Alvarez, a former senator and environment secretary.
Joining Dr. Ortega and Dr. Co as this year's Fr. Neri Satur Awardees are Fr. Pete Montallana OFM, chairman of the Save Sierra Madre Network in recognition of his group's efforts to protect and preserve the remaining forests in the country particularly one of our major carbon sinks (forests absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen), the Sierra Madre forest range while Albay Gov. Joey Salceda was honored for his pioneering leadership in climate adaptation in local government in his province.
The Award was also bestowed upon the PLDT-Smart Foundation Inc. for being a leader in eco-education through community service projects such as "Doon Po Sa Amin" which encouraged the use of computer and internet technologies, while The Manila Times was recognized for its continued effort in environmental education through media, especially on the global issue of climate change.
Negros-based Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc. was awarded for its efforts to promote and adopt renewable technologies through its project "Hydraulic Ram Pump" in providing the basic needs for water, sanitation and energy in rural communities. Ram pumps convey water from streams and brooks to higher elevations without any power or moving parts, simply by using basic principles of hydraulics.
Finally, the Climate Institute of Washington D.C. was recognized as a global leader in promoting climate balance and international awareness of climate change through several international media including symposia and conferences, which provide decision-makers with adequate information that help shape global action on climate change.
The Climate Institute is headed by John Topping Jr, a longtime friend of the Philippine climate community. Topping is a Yale and Dartmouth alumnus, receiving the first Martin Luther King award from Dartmouth. He was formerly the Staff Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) office of air and radiation under the Reagan administration. Another key member of the Climate Institute is Dr. Mike McCracken, formerly executive director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program and connected with Lawrence Livermore and UC-Davis. Both Topping and McCracken are co-editors of the book Sudden and Disruptive Climate Change (UK: Earthscan, 2008).
One of their programs in the Philippines is an innovative black soot reduction program involving a modification of jeepney diesel engines financed by private carbon credit mechanisms (outside of the Kyoto Protocol). A description of this project done by an Australian company locally can be read in this YaleGlobal article by Topping.
The Fr. Neri Satur Award, named in honor of the late priest-environmentalist and deputized forest ranger who lost his life in the hands of illegal loggers in the forests of Bukidnon in 1991, is given to individuals, groups or entities from different sectors in recognition of their exceptional contribution to protect our environment. The award trophy, depicting Fr. Satur embracing a tree, was a masterpiece rendered by National Artist for Sculpture Abdulmari Imao.
Other past awardees include Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop Francisco Claver, Bishop Jose Manguiran, Bishop Ramon Villena, Fr. James B. Reuter, Fr. Ben Beltran, Sr. Aida Velasquez; eco-media writers Jerry Esplanada of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Katherine Andraneda of the Philippine Star; eco-friendly businesses like UNILEVER, SM Malls, MAP, GTZ; eco-entertainers-artists Francis Magalona, Kim Atienza, Richard Gutierrez; eco-advocates Architect Jun Palafox, Dr. Metodio Palaypay; science-educator Dr. Tomas Ongoco; and inventors Jun Catan and Ben Santos, among others.
Dennis Posadas is the author of Jump Start: A Technopreneurship Fable (Singapore: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009) and Rice & Chips: Technopreneurship and Innovation in Asia (Singapore: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007). A free audio excerpt of his latest ebook, Green Thinking: a business fable on clean energy, can be heard at http://greenthinkingfable.blogspot.com