#MediLinkVolunteersToFEED, Planting 300 Trees Perfectly and a Surprise 1,000 Top Ridge

MEDILINK-LQLG.jpg7 September 2019, Laguna Quezon Land Grant, Siniloan, Laguna. Last Saturday, September 7th, 2019, 25 MediLink Network Inc. Eco-Warriors pursued their environmental advocacy by planting their committed 300 native Philippine forest trees at the Laguna Quezon Land Grant, in Siniloan, Laguna – situated in the longest mountain range in the Philippines, the Sierra Madres, stretching 680 km (420 miles) from North to South.

Planting trees are increasingly hailed as a solution to mitigating climate change catastrophes.  FEED has been planting since the mid-1980s, when it was just a family  foundation providing scholarships to deserving, financially challenged but intellectually bright students; then planting with the Philippine Army in remote areas of the Sierra Madres, at a time when Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was not yet a buzzword.

“CSR focuses on how business can continue its pursuit of wealth creation in harmony with the environment and society….A concern for social responsibility can be traced back to the 1930s. Chester Barnard’s 1938 publication, The Functions of the Executive, and Theodore Krep’s, Measurement of the Social Performance of Business, published in 1940 were two early references to the social responsibilities of executives and business.

The 1950s saw the start of the modern era of CSR when it was more commonly known as SR or social responsibility. In 1953, Howard Bowen published his book, Social Responsibilities of the Businessman, and is largely credited with coining the phrase ‘corporate social responsibility’ and is perhaps the Father of CSR. Bowen asked: ‘what responsibilities to society can business people be reasonably expected to assume?’ Bowen also provided a preliminary definition of CSR: ‘it refers to the obligations of businessmen to pursue those policies, to make those decisions, or to follow those lines of action which are desirable in terms of the objectives and values of our society’.”

Source: The evolution of CSR

The University of the Philippines (UP), through UP Los Baños (UPLB), is in charge of managing the two land grant areas in the southern portion of the Sierra Madre mountain range, namely the Laguna-Quezon Land Grant (LQLG) and the Laguna Land Grant (LLG), collectively referred to as the UP Sierra Madre Land Grants.

The LQLG, with an area of 5,729 hectares, was given to the University in 1930, to be held and administered as a permanent endowment for additional support and maintenance and for other purposes. On the other hand, the LLG, originally called the Paete Land Reservation and with an area of 3,355 hectares, was awarded to the University in1964 to establish a central experiment station for the research and extension functions of the University, specifically the Colleges of Agriculture, Arts and Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine.

Odfjell-CSR-2-LQLG-2-31Aug201943The two Land Grants are remnants of the lowland forests that once clothed the hills in this region, and contains mostly disturbed (selectively logged and logged over) lowland dipterocarp forest and some second growth. The Land Grants include some areas of permanent agriculture (including rice paddies), plantations, small settlements and rural gardens. The forests are used by local people for the collection of timber and minor forest products, including for charcoal production. They are a destination for mountaineering and other forms of tourism and recreation, and FEED has been planting here since the 1990s.

IMG-20190911-WA0079MediLink’s super-enthusiastic employees enjoyed first their 25 minute trek to their planting site, not too far from the Training Center where they received an introduction to FEED’s Ridge to Reef agro-forestry approach to reforestation. “Managing Waters from Source to Sea – Healthy and well-managed river basins and coastal areas where people and nature thrive, is the vision behind the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s or IUCN initiative, ‘Ridge to Reef’ (R2R) .”

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Photo courtesy MediLink 🙂

FEED’s Living Legacy CSR and Students and Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE) plantings range from upland, to coastal and coral planting; mimicking the native/indigenous/endemic species prevalent in that areas identified suitable for planting; also always incorporating the local communities in their skills development in nursery production, species identification, harvesting, propagation and planting, maintenance, monitoring and even GPS reporting carried out by FEED and UPLB.

During the welcome talks which started at 8am, Anne-Marie Mananquil Bakker, FEED Director of Partnerships, shared some of the hazards and risks the 27 permanent forest guards experience when planting and protecting in remote areas of the Sierra Madres – against criminal activities, including the uncontrollable clearing (or ‘slash and burn’) of the last remaining primary and protected forest lands for agriculture charcoal making and illegal logging.

IMG-20190911-WA0169Once freshened up, the 25 MediLink Eco-Warriors proceeded to warm up with power stretching delivered by FEED’s Diane Penales, VP Operations since 2016 (also an ex-fitness instructor and wellness center manager), then proceeded with 11 forest guards  leading the way to the planting site. One of the MediLink participants who helped organise this CSR event with FEED, John Lloyd Bermudez said: “It’s a very fulfilling way to spend a Saturday or weekend, we are proud to be a part of this effort and so grateful for the forests benefits, especially since we are in the health care industry after all.”

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The forest guards were so impressed with the quality of their planting skills, that FEED encouraged them to plant an additional 1,000 upland at the top ridge – another 45 minute trek to the edge of the LQLG’s first peak at approximately 1,650 feet; to which, they all agreed to do!

IMG-20190911-WA0049The additional 1,000 trees were part of the 2,300 donated by one of FEED’s biggest Living Legacy partners, EcoMatcher – a social enterprise based in Hong Kong that typically and increasingly orders thousands of trees in one planting with FEED since 2017.  Through EcoMatcher, companies can adopt trees, use them in innovative ways and improve their business.  For example, companies can gift trees they adopt on behalf of their customers, or adopt a whole forest and give all employees a tree out of that forest, or gift trees as a reward.

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Drone footage captured by one of MediLink’s Eco-Warriors after planting the 1,000 out of 2,300 trees ordered by FEED Living Legacy partner, EcoMatcher.

During the Certificate Awarding after the native Binalot lunch, MediLink’s CEO’s, Esther Go, mentioned:  “The recent and ongoing forest fires happening in one of the world’s largest and most biodiverse forest, the Amazon, are scary; but at least we are a part of the solution, along with the local communities involved in the site’s preparation and protection as a source of livelihood and biological diversity conservation. Every seed matters and every tree counts, and today, our joint efforts are very similar in that respect – both FEED and MediLink have today enabled the additional production of clean air and restoration of our freshwater source, both of our organisations helping to maintain our health and well-being.”

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Why the Amazon doesn’t really produce 20% of the world’s oxygen

Of the many important reasons to worry about the thousands of fires raging in the world’s largest rainforest, oxygen supply is not one of them.

By Katarina Zimmer, August 28, 2019

“In its pristine state, it makes a significant contribution to pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Coe likens it not to a pair of lungs, but to a giant air conditioner that cools the planet—one of our most powerful in mitigating climate change, alongside other tropical forests in central Africa and Asia—some of which are also currently burning.

The Amazon also plays an important role in stabilizing rainfall cycles in South America, and is a crucial home for indigenous peoples as well as countless animal and plant species.

‘Very few people talk about biodiversity, but the Amazon is the most biodiverse ecosystem on land, and climate change and deforestation are putting that richness at risk,’ notes climate scientist Carlos Nobre with the University of São Paulo’s Institute for Advanced Studies.

For its importance to the world, the Amazon might as well be a metaphorical pair of lungs, and this analogy may have been helpful in galvanizing action around deforestation.”

Source: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/08/why-amazon-doesnt-produce-20-percent-worlds-oxygen/

Global Forest Watch, an organization sponsored by the World Resources Institute to monitor forests and track fires using satellite data, reported more than 109,000 fire alerts in Brazil from August 13 to 15, 2019 (those blazes are mapped below).

Forester Reynaldo E. Lorida, Field Manager at the LQLG – and with whom FEED has been planting the last 20 years – reiterated his thanks to MediLink: “We are able to continue the conservation of the forest though planting and the provision of alternative livelihood sources for our local communities, with the help of the private sector pioneers like MediLink. If only everyone would abide by the latest Presidential Decree 1153, encouraging the planting of one tree per able bodied Philippine citizen, per month for five consecutive years, the status of our pristine primary Philippine Forests might actually be restored to its former glory prior to the legal logging period, thereby also producing sustainable livelihood for all.”

MEDILINK ECO-WARRIOR

Every MediLink Eco-Warrior received a Certificate of Participation for taking part in this weekend reforestation planting, to the left is Forester Reynaldo E Lorida (LQLG Field Manager) and to the right, Esther Go, CEO MediLink Network Inc. (Philippines)

Thank you Medilink Eco-Warriors!

May the Forest be with You Always!

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Photo Journal

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GPS Coordinates (Remote Access)

Use any GPS (Global Positioning System) software / applications to input the latitude and longitude coordinates to be able to remotely see the location of your trees planted. Some examples include:

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Low forest cover in the Philippines : Issues and responses at the community level

By Peter Walpole

The Philippines is one of the most severely deforested countries in the tropics and most deforestation has happened in the last 40 years. Estimates place forest cover in the Philippines in the year 1900 at 21 million hectares, covering 70 % of the total land area. By 1999, forests covered 5.5 million hectares; only 800,000 hectares of this was primary forest. As illegal logging continues, the remaining forest is endangered.

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The destruction of the Philippine forest was the subject of a recent study (1999), Decline of the Philippine Forest, by the Institute of Environmental Science for Social Change (ESSC). This study traces the history of the decline, examines the causes and effects of deforestation, and discusses emerging perspectives. The study considers two possible Philippine scenarios for the year 2010. One assumes that meaningful steps will be taken to reverse the decline and offers some hope; the other scenario assumes that things will continue as in the past, and the outcome will be a continued national degradation of resources.

The Philippines is paying a high price for the destruction of its forests and a number of major problems confronting the nation can be traced directly to deforestation. Today, the country faces food insecurity due to soil erosion, which means depleted nutrients and low crop yield. In many provinces, at least 50% of the topsoil has been lost, and 70% of all croplands are vulnerable to erosion. The country’s climatic conditions are such that typhoons sweep the country an average of 19 times a year. The topography is mainly uplands with a slope equal to or greater than 18% and these areas make up 52% of total land area. In the absence of forest cover and with frequent heavy typhoon rains, soil erosion, mass wasting, and landslides are induced.

The Philippines is facing water insecurity because of degraded and poorly managed watersheds. More than 57 % of the major watersheds are critically denuded, which means loss of water infiltration and slow recharging of water tables. Nationwide, water quality has deteriorated and cities like Manila, Cebu, Davao, and Baguio, are constantly facing water shortages. A country that once exported some of the finest woods in the world is now a net wood importer.

The decimation of the forest is a tragedy for indigenous peoples. Ethnic groups become forced to retreat into the interior and further impoverished. Government is doing little to raise these people above their subsistence level. Some have left their lands, and the sight of indigenous peoples begging in city streets is not uncommon. They have lost their lands, and their culture has been degraded. With the destruction of indigenous cultures, the nation is losing a treasure that should be nurtured to enrich national cultural diversity.

This loss of cultural communities is closely linked to the loss of biodiversity. Tropical forests are rich in herbs, woody plants, birds, insects, and animal life. Destroying the forests means destroying the myriad creatures and flora on which the indigenous communities depend. Forest loss also means loss of forest products such as, rattan, resins, and gums, a source of livelihood for indigenous people. Wildlife is quickly disappearing and to date, the destruction of the ecosystems is taking a heavy toll on biodiversity: 18 species of fauna are already rare and endangered, while 43 species of birds are threatened with extinction…

In the Philippines, the promotion of Community Based Forest Management (CBFM), especially in degraded watershed areas, is imperative. People living in watersheds have a stake in improving them, and by so doing, contribute significantly to solving the water problem of the agricultural lowland communities and of our cities.

Source: https://essc.org.ph/content/lview/579/1/

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To what extent could planting trees help solve climate change?

“Forests play an important an important role in climate change. The destruction and degradation of forests contributes to the problem through the release of CO2. But the planting of new forests can help mitigate against climate change by removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Combined with the sun’s energy, the captured carbon is converted into trunks, branches, roots and leaves via the process of photosynthesis. It is stored in this “biomass” until being returned back into the atmosphere, whether through natural processes or human interference, thus completing the carbon cycle.

Tree planting and plantation forestry are well established both in the private and public sectors. The most recent data released by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation suggest that plantation forests comprised an estimated 7% of global forest area in 2010. Most of these forests were established in areas that were previously not under forest cover, at least in recent years. Trees are also planted as part of efforts to restore natural forests as well as in agroforestry, which involves increasing tree cover on agricultural land and pastures.”

About MediLink Network Inc.

Who we are
Healthcare is a universal human need. However, because healthcare is expensive, access is a privilege enjoyed only by a few who are fortunate enough to have the capacity to pay, or have employers who offer it as a benefit. Healthcare industry has been paper-intensive challenged with rising costs, overworked staff, increasing patient volume, and operates under intense regulatory scrutiny.

MediLink’s integrated IT platform connects insurers, healthcare providers and insured members through an electronic network covering 2 million+ lives. Our services include underwriting validation, card production, eligibility check, transaction authorization, claim processing, and payment settlement, analytics, and AI-enabled decision support.

Our Mission

We partner with the health ecosystem – the payors, providers, and members — to implement ICT solutions that promote efficiency, transparency, and sustainable profitable growth.

MediLink is a partnership between F.E. Zuellig (a subsidiary of the Zuellig Pharma conglomerate) and Equitable Computer Services. Operational since 1999, MediLink’s portfolio has expanded to over 2 million lives from over 70,000 corporations.

MediLink is a proud member of the Equicom Group of Companies, a conglomerate with interests in information technology, health care, dental care, banking and finance.

More here: https://www.medilink.com.ph/

Contact FEED

In 2015, the Philippine government submitted to the United Nations the country’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The country committed to reduce its carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030. The carbon dioxide reductions will come from the sectors of energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry.

Join us!  Help us reverse the Earth’s “hothouse climate” tipping point.

FEED runs a number of Students and Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE)Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – such as mangrove planting for coastal protection or ridge reforestation plantings; One Child, One TreeBio-Intensive Gardens (BIG) for nutrition in public elementary schools and other spaces; Climate Change Survival 101 and other LIVING LEGACY programs – customised environmental engagement activities for individuals and organisations interested in contributing to climate change adaptation efforts and greening critical areas such as watersheds, ridges, and reefs that all require rehabilitation.

Tree-Planting with FEED

Check out the video journey by Clueless Commuter to get a good idea of how FEED plantings go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPC29Rwr6Pg

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Contact us at FEED for more details, to join our regular activities or to design your own tree-nurturing eventinfo@feed.org.ph or call/text +63 (0)917 552 4722.

© Fostering Education & Environment for Development, Inc.