Majority of the people I know who went to law school and became lawyers talk about wanting to fight injustice. But there is one type of injustice which we all have set aside for too long.
As law students, we read about law provisions day in and day out that it is highly expected of us that we follow the rules, abide by the laws, and be good citizens of this great nation. In the course of our lives though, environmental laws have been neglected and completely compromised. Scientists have been telling us again and again that the planet has reached the point of no return. Our species have not only ignored the laws of our land but also laws of morality and decency. As law students, what can we do to prevent the further deterioration of our planet? If in the past, we were taught the 3 Rs. Today there are already 5. These are the 5 Rs we should all remember as law-abiding students.
Refuse what you cannot reuse. When we refuse or stop patronizing single-use plastics, disposables, and even any type of thing or product in general, we lessen the waste that we contribute to the landfills. Single-use plastics such as plastic straws in one of the most visible waste in the oceans and in the landfills. We can do away with these and use alternatives or simply refuse to use a straw at all. When going to the grocery store, convenience store, pharmacy, market, shopping mall, etc, we can opt to use boxes, eco bags or simply use the bag we are carrying at that very moment. We can always choose to use reusables over disposables.
Reduce the amount of garbage starting from the households. People should learn that we are all responsible for our own waste and no one else. Not the garbage man, not our helpers, not the government, and definitely not everyone else. Our garbage should be our responsibility. The amount of trash we produce greatly reflects the amount of neglect and disrespect we have for our planet at the expense of our convenience.
3 and 4. REUSE and REPURPOSE what can still be saved and choose to donate or sell instead of throwing things immediately. Instead of buying a new couch, why not fix it? Instead of throwing away an overused shirt, why not turn it into an ecobag? Instead of disposing an old shoe, why not turn it into a pot for plants? Everything we currently have that we think is already useless, can still be repurposed and reused in some other manner. If we do not have the time or the skills, then better to donate or sell it on your next garage sale!
Rot away your food scraps and left overs by having your own indoor or outdoor compost. You don’t need a big lawn for that. Simply go on Youtube or Google to learn the simple steps on how to do indoor composting. These can be turned into fertilizer and help nourish growing plants. These type of waste is also the biggest culprit to making garbage smelly. If we manage our waste properly, they SHOULD NOT be smelling bad at all.
From the 3 Rs to the 5 Rs, we need to be held accountable for our actions and be more responsible in the way we do things with our lives. We have to remember that there is no away when we throw our trash away as such trash only ends up in the landfills, in the oceans, in the streets, in the drainage, and in places that will only cause more trouble for us in the long term. If we go about destroying our planet every chance we get and continue to act like our environmental laws have no teeth, then remember that when worse comes to worst, the Philippines is one of the most vulnerable and we will be the most affected.
Climate change and the effects that scientists have been warning us about is already happening, and it is happening right before our very eyes. This particular set of eyes have chosen to wake up and acknowledge our reality and it is about time to open YOUR eyes to it as well. As law students, we should be the first one to fight an injustice which every single one of us is and will be suffering. Let us open our eyes to another type of injustice and fight for CLIMATE JUSTICE.
Majority of the people I know who went to law school and became lawyers talk about wanting to fight injustice. But there is one type of injustice which we all have set aside for too long. To all law students and lawyers alike, LET US FIGHT FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE.
Marija Kara “Cooki” Trinidad is a planeteer, a corporate employee for a Tech company, a 5th yr law student, and a mother of two boys. Cooki has lobbied and is lobbying for more environmental policies in the region. She gives webinars on sustainability, climate change, and the zero waste movement. She has also published an article about the plastic ban ordinance in The Philippine Star, has been nominated for Rappler’s MovePH award on Environment and Sustainability, and is a finalist of the Philippine Youth Leadership Program (PYLP 17/18). She is a Nexus Alumni and was an Associate Editor and Writer back then.