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.
Sometimes even if we think that we are living simple lives, we have to really look into numbers to make sure we are not being deluded into idealistic thoughts of ourselves and how we live our lives. Before my family left Zarraga, Iloilo in June 2016, we have started organizing Free Markets through the Balagon Cultural Creatives. Knowing we were soon to move, we started looking into what we should give up, and what should come with us to Dumaguete. After several free markets, we finally had to actually pack for the move.
Today is my birthday and I’m doing nothing for Mother Earth. If you know me, I know you would wonder why. Why do nothing when I have dedicated my life to do what I could for her? Why do nothing when last year I had a successful a green gifts for Gaia birthday wherein I asked my friends to plant trees instead of buying me gifts? And in response, my friends gave all sorts of wonderful gifts for Mother Earth in celebration of my birthday. One friend updated me this afternoon about the Spanish Plum that she planted for me last year. She said it is now three feet tall. It will be taller than me next year. Sweet! I even had a mangrove planting celebration with Climate Reality colleagues last year. And now I’m doing nothing?
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.