How Much of an Eco-Warrior Are You?

Running Man challenge — check. Mannequin challenge — check. Bottle Flip challenge — check. SamYang Spicy Noodle challenge — Uhm, welp!

Every so often, our social media feeds get flooded with the latest trending challenge. Some are tests of skills and creativity while some are tests of patience and common sense. Some of these were beneficial, some were detrimental, and others – just plain weird.

But there’s no denying; we did enjoy these dares, at least once in this millennial age – either as a participant, an audience or the unofficial cameraman.

July brings another conquest upon the human race. And I dare you to take this one seriously. You wouldn’t want to miss out on this worldwide trend, would you? So buckle up, it’s #PlasticFreeJuly.

The hashtag pretty much gives it away, and here’s a quick quiz to help you gauge how far along you are in becoming an eco-warrior.

Below is a list of pro-environment habits for starters. Just add the corresponding points for each item you’ve accomplished. Be honest!

1.      Brought my own shopping bag.4
2.      Opted for products in paper/carton packaging.5
3.      Brought my own cup/travel mug in coffee shops.4
4.      Got a reusable utensil/straw/stirrer set.5
5.      Said no to plastic straws.3
6.      Dine-in instead of take-out.2
7.      Brought your own reusable container when taking-out food.5
8.      No bottled water. Brought your own tumbler to school or office instead.3
9.      Tried upcycling.7
10.   Bought supplies in bulk – toiletries/food/cleaning items.2
11.   Fixed broken items rather than replacing them.5
12.   Tried buying pre-loved items.3
13.   Packed your own baon.4
14.   For doing dishes, shifted to washable cloth rather than synthetic sponge.2
15.   Ice cream cones over plastic cups.1
16.   For food storage – beeswax/foil wrap rather than plastic cling wrap.5
17.   Switched to bamboo toothbrushes.4
18.   Chose more eco-friendly gifts.1
19.   Delivered your plastic trash to NGOs/LGUs for recycling.6
20.   Tried making biodegradable pots.4

How many points did you get?

65 to 75

The future of this planet lies in your hands. You are the fighting chance for survival of our race, and all other race for that matter. You have probably mastered the art of saying ‘No’ — to things that do more harm than good; to the more convenient alternative if it is actually a path to long-term environmental damage.

“I started when I travelled to Cebu.., I brought my own tumbler because I know it’s expensive to buy water bottles lalo na nung nag-island hopping kami. ..when I get back to work, I started to bring my own containers and even bringing my own baon.

I was able to save a lot of money and even the environment in my own little way. Aside from that, naging conscious na ko sa expenses ko especially when it comes to food. Yung difficult part lang dun is how to influence others because it might seem impossible.”

Jen, iVolunteer Philippines

You did it – an eco-warrior in flesh. The next level is for you to influence others, and that is definitely a harder task. Because the truth is, if we are to reverse hundreds of years of environmentally destructive human habits, we still need about four billion people like you (at least!). Yes, the planet is in dire need of people like you. We need billions, but we can start with one.

50 to 64

You are a person defined by your choices. You take active steps to create the life you want to live. You care about something, and you do something for the things you care about. You might think that what you’re doing doesn’t make much of a difference but they do!

Take it from the eco-warriors of iVolunteer.

“My advocacy has always been the environment. Rather than starting with being zero waste, I first started practicing the idea of minimalism to leave less of a carbon footprint sa planet and everything just followed: to commuting rather than bringing my car, to choosing not to buy anything new if I don’t need them, to going to tree plantings and clean-ups, [to] going vegan, then eventually [to] zero waste. It has been a long journey for me, almost 8 years now and every year I try to add something good to my habits.

..siguro aside from helping the environment, the best part would be the idea that you don’t need to move mountains to make a difference kasi it’s just a matter of changing little bits of your lifestyle. People has this grand idea about making a difference but it isn’t necessarily true.” – Mae, iVolunteer Marketing (46)

Mae, iVolunteer Philippines

25 to 49

You are up to something big. And you have the rest of the world watching. And by the rest of the world, I mean the trees and the oceans and the birds and everything else that shares this home with you. We are excited to see you rise to the next level.

“It started when I saw a video from FB about how single-use plastic affects the environment. I became aware, then I started buying reusable things and became more cautious of the things around me. It is a nice feeling [because] aside from… doing your part for the env[ironment], it saves me money in the long run, esp[ecially] if you pack your baon, buy supplies in bulk etc.”

Jas, iVolunteer Philippines

Below 25

Don’t worry, this just means that you still have so much more to give. July may be drawing to a close but we got you covered. Here are some volunteer opportunities to help you get a feel of how it is to fight for Mother Earth:

  1. Make biodegradable pots for plants using old clothes
  2. Tree Planting and Rescue Activities in a Carbon Forest
  3. Rooftop garden tending
  4. Mangrove Tree Planting and Coastal Clean Up
  5. Native Tree Planting in Mounts Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape
  6. Free the Island Coastal Cleanup
  7. Eco-Volunteers for Plastic Waste Collection & Recycling

What it means to be an eco-warrior

Choosing an advocacy is the easy part. Right this moment, you can decide to be an eco-warrior. The real challenge here is to make it a way of life. And to do that, you need more than knowing how, you need to find your why.

Be it the cute characters in the shopping bag you bring to the grocery store or the cozy feels of drinking homegrown coffee from your favorite hipster bamboo tumbler.

Be it the time you save with fewer trips to the water station because you brought your own water bottle or all the merienda breaks in the office you get to enjoy guilt-free as you keep that utensil set handy.

Be it the creative outlet that is upcycling. Or that extra income should you decide to sell you crafts or launch your DIY blog.

Be it the money you save when preparing your own food at home or the peace of mind from reduced waste and clutter.

Be it the trendy hashtags. Be it as simple as feeling good about yourself because you skipped using a plastic straw today.

When you find your why, doing these little lifestyle changes won’t feel like a task or an inconvenience, it will be a natural extension of your routine – a way of life. You’ll make a difference, and it will last.

Let me tell you a little secret: you cannot change a bad habit unless you replace it with a good one.

Here’s another: once you learn to develop that one good habit, just one – it will be easier to develop a few more and more and more until it diffuses across all areas of your life.

The place to start is right at your fingertips, literally. You are a click away from a potential life-changer. Visit iVolunteer for more ideas.

Plastic-free July

Plastic Free July envisions a world without plastic waste. Its mission is to build a global movement that dramatically reduces plastic use and improves recycling, worldwide:

“By encouraging people to be more aware of their plastic use, we can create a cleaner world for generations to come.

Part of this involves supporting behaviour change and helping others habitually #choosetorefuse shopping bags, straws, takeaway containers and coffee cups – just to name a few.”

The movement started small in Western Australia in 2011. Today, they have millions of participants across 150 countries around the world.

Gie Maningas, iVolunteer Philippines


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