Almost twenty years ago, I bought part of my friend and Kumpare Jerry Gracio’s library. 175 books sold for a song to a friend who he thought would take care of the books and keep them forever. Jerry is now an award-winning writer/poet and currently Commissioner at the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino and I don’t have a single book from that collection anymore. I was proud of that collection and allowed everyone who wanted to borrow the books to get them, trusting they would be returned. None did.
While I don’t want my blog to be reduced to a blog of lists, I’m doing this as I posted on social media a few days ago that I would. I promise my next post would not contain a list.
So for those who are not yet aware, last week, I set up a Bataris Petition on the right to vegan food. While to date less than a hundred have signed, I’ve seen that it has stirred conversations as it should. I’m sure there are also mental arguments among some who have read the petition, and I think that it’s good. That is exactly one my intentions in putting it out. Each person who sees a new perspective in favor of veganism is positive sign for me.
Although it’s sad that we live in a world where there is no assured access to the most compassionate, earth-friendly, and healthy diet, I think it is an idea whose time has come. I’m actually looking forward to the day that petitions like this are no longer needed. But we live in an auspicious time, where palpable transformations are happening all over, and I’m taking part in the shift by pushing for an idea that could no longer be denied.
Archimedes, that super cool slasher Greek mathematician (slash physicist slash inventor slash astronomer slash etc.) said ages ago that ‘the shortest distance between two points is a straight line’. I love this quote. Although it was said in the context of mathematical sciences, it in fact gave me countless reassurances when life became complicated or when I’m overwhelmed by my own overthinking. It has helped me overcome a lot of concerns by simplifying things and solving problems one simple step at a time.
But recently I’ve been mulling about so many things happening in the world, complex eco-geo-political issues that demand more creative and non-linear solutions. I hope to write about more of my thoughts here in succeeding blog posts, but now I’d like to share about one word that comes to mind, leapfrog. I came across the word years ago in one of my social science classes at the Philippine Normal University, but the first known use of leapfrog was in 1872, or 1599, if Merriam-Webster could make up its mind.
Let me share with you three examples.
When young people lead, even leaders need to follow. That is the power of youth.
I had the amazing opportunity to present the latest Climate Reality slideshow, fresh from the Manila Training, to student leaders of Tacloban, Ground Zero for Super Typhoon Yolanda, on Earth Hour Day, March 19. I was invited by Jude Acidre of Tingog Sinirangan to give the talk. My talk was to present the context for a youth-led action and the launching of Mission ASCEND, a gathering of young voices for the environment.
About a hundred student leaders were there, coming from more than a dozen high schools of Region VIII. It was a particularly daunting experience, knowing these young people were survivors of Haiyan themselves, and the last thing they might need is somebody like me telling them about the impacts of climate change. But thank God they were particularly patient with me, even when my computer stopped working for a while.
(I had the chance to briefly share my story at The Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Manila this afternoon. This is how I intended to share it, but the actual was a bit different. It was an honor to be introduced by Climate Reality Board Member Don Henry who I had the privilege of meeting in the Asia Pacific Climate Reality Leadership Congress in Melbourne in 2011. Meeting Climate Reality founder and chairman Al Gore at the back stage was so surreal, but that’s another story.)
I’m a farmer’s daughter. My father took pains to send us to school and not spend a day of work in the farm. But as a child I loved climbing trees and taking showers in the rain and daydreaming. However, my father’s dream for me was to set me out to make something of myself. And despite some detours, I found myself teaching in college and taking up a masters course. I was actually on my way. But I was burned out.