Five things you have to remember when you invite me as a speaker

1 Comment



Instead of a tarpauline, student leaders of the Northwestern Visayan Colleges in Kalibo, Aklan prepared this creative and fun sign for my talk during the Eco-Leadership Conference held on August 5-6, 2016.

Here is the UNrider I give out to organizers when I get invited to present the Al Gore Climate Reality Presentation:

Divas and celebrities demand outrageous riders whenever they do shows or appearances. I am not a celebrity, and though I sometimes feel like a diva, I’m not the kind of person to act like one. However, the idea of a rider is especially appealing to me as a climate change communicator because I think it could help me communicate the cause better. As an environmental activist, I always try to raise the bar and be the whole package. As they say, the messenger is the message. From my clothes (definitely coming from ukay-ukay!) to my lifestyle, I try to be green. So many times I fail but I never fail to try again. So I have listed down my own rider that would align my environmental principles to how I want my hosts to receive me in the speaking events I’m invited to. Trust me, these will make the life of my host easier, and I will be happier getting closer to my whole green package goal.

Here goes my rider:

  1. If it is a one-time event, do not have a tarpaulin printed about my talk. I have seen this many times in my 50+ climate talks all over the country. I used to cringe about it before, but now I make it very clear that I don’t want one. The host will thank me for saving some cash on tarp printing and from guilty feelings of disposing a single use tarp. Using tarps is only acceptable if is part of a few days event and if there is a plan to upcycle it into functional materials. Better if we all could do away with tarps forever. There are so many creative ways of announcing events and tarps are so rigid and boring. Think up of one!
  2. Do not prepare lavish food for me. I love Filipino hospitality, and since I don’t ask for professional fees when I present the Al Gore Climate Reality Presentation, hosts often try to make up by preparing so much food. I am vegan. I’m very easy to feed. I just need simple, animal-free, local food. If you’re serving snacks, fruit or kakanin (rice cakes) will do. If serving a meal, just local vegetables cooked without any meat, seafood, or chemical-laden treats (read: tricks). Better yet, just serve me a real fruit juice or salabat (ginger tea). Fuss free and again, savings! You also make me happier and healthier.
  3. Bottled water is a staple for speakers, but not for me. I bring my own reusable bottle. I am the initiator of the Disposable Bottle Busters (like us on facebook and sign our Bataris campaign!), and I try not to drink from disposables. I’d appreciate a refill since I try to drink three liters of water a day, but don’t refill my bottle from the contents of a mineral water bottle. It totally defeats the purpose. To understand more of this request, Like DBB on facebook: and sign my Bataris Petition here
  4. Please do not be offended if I return the frame or casing of the certificate of appreciation that you will give. I have accumulated so many already and since I am streamlining my life, I have given them all away. If I return it back to you (after the obligatory photo ops with the certificate), it only means I don’t want to add more stuff into the system. Feel free to use it for your next speaker and hope that s/he will return it again too. Better yet, give me a naked certificate, no case, no frame. Because simple is sexy.
  5. I often receive little gifts from my hosts. But please do not be offended if you find out that I gave it away as a gift. If it is something I already have or couldn’t use, I will definitely make it more appreciated in the life of family and friends who would make better use of it. Better yet, do not give me any stuff. Life is simpler when it’s lighter, and putting more stuff into the system makes it harder for Mother Earth to cope with so much stress and damage already. But to not dampen your spirit of giving, you can donate any amount to The Climate Reality Project at and/or Disposable Bottle Busters at BPI Savings Account No. 9309108903, under my name. Nothing to donate? Perfectly fine, an opportunity to share about climate change is good enough for me.

See? With my rider, both our lives will be easier. Thanks for the opportunity to share about the reality and solvability of climate change. There is more work to be done after the talks but I always come out of the talks more inspired. And yes, I feel like a diva already!

One thought on “Five things you have to remember when you invite me as a speaker

  1. Pingback: Why a capsule wardrobe won’t work for me | shielarcastillo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s