Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Putting Environment-Friendly Modes Of Transportation On The Pedestal

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Transportation is one of the most remarkable inventions that offer unparalleled convenience to every individual, yet this also poses a great threat not only to our health but more importantly to the environment. In fact, a study published in the journal of Environmental Science & Technology revealed that cars—our most used mode of transportation—emits more global warming pollution than a plane that flies with the same speed.

With this, private and public organizations in the Philippines are already backing the longstanding efforts to environmental conservation, putting forward different advocacies to bring forth change in the community.

One example is the scheme of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) which allotted a special bike line along EDSA where about one million vehicles ply every day. For the local authorities, this step ahead will aim to improve air quality in the metro.

But bringing forward these environment-friendly causes is not limited to Metro Manila alone. In fact, Primer Group of Companies—the company known for the retail and distribution of premium consumer brands in outdoor, urban lifestyle and travel—has embarked on various life-changing journeys to bring sustainable means of living on the pedestal todeliver healthcare and support outdoor athletesacross the country.

Carbon-free commute

Primer Group’s advocacy arm Center for Outdoor Recreation and Expedition (C.O.R.E.) encourages the company’s employees to promote a carbon-less commute through its Cycle Circle initiative.

The Cycle Circle program is a bike sharing activity which pushes ‘ka-Primers’ to stay active and use bicycles when going out for lunch or doing errands within the area. This keeps the employees from contributing to carbon emission and traffic.

But Primer Group is not only bicycling its sustainable efforts within its company’s walls. In fact, the company, through its CORE, brought the bicycles outside its parameters and donated them to individuals who are of service to Filipinos from far-flung areas.

Just recently, CORE partnered with the Doctors to the Barrios (DTTBs) to distribute ten bikes to ten doctors in remote areas under its Heroes on Wheels campaign.

According to Kristine Villaflor, Program Manager of the program, the Heroes on Wheels will strengthen the support networks of local communities by giving proper outdoor equipment and transport to concerned community leaders to help them reach inaccessible areas.

“It is difficult to attend to the most immediate needs of patients when you are stirring the wheels of huge vehicles; this makes bicycles imperative in extending primary health services to remote areas,” Villaflor said.

Dr. Ralph Julius Mendoza, one of the beneficiaries of the Heroes on Wheels program, said that mobility is important in looking after the healthcare needs of people in remote areas.

“Mobility is the key to get things done—at least when you’re serving on an island where fuel is scarce and expensive, the terrain is rough, the roads are rugged, and the towns are far apart,” Dr. Mendoza said. Mendoza serves the Filipinos residing in Sabtang, the southernmost island in Batanes province. “When you’re the only doctor looking after nearly 2,000 people, mobility is imperative. It is also the challenge.”

He added, “Acquiring a bicycle from Primer Group under the Heroes on Wheels project has offered much help to undertake this worthy endeavor. The bicycle has proved to be an irreplaceable partner in achieving innovative and tailor-fit healthcare for the Isabtangs.It allows you to conquer the terrain without the fear of being too late to help a patient, thereby connecting you to those who need you at the time they need you most.”

In another note, Dr. Rommel Gonzales, a resident doctor assigned in Antique, asserted that the mountain bike given to him by CORE offered unparalleled convenience in delivering healthcare to the residents of the community.

“I would usually wait 5 to 10 minutes in front of my house for a tricycle to stop by and pick me up for work. From a fare of P7, it went up to P10 per ride. In the afternoon, if the weather’s permitting, I would often walk my way home to enjoy the bucolic scenery around me. This would take 20 minutes on average. But with the bike around, from home, I just hop on and pedal my way to work,” Gonzales said.

He added, “It is a perennial habit of mine to brisk walk almost every day along the same path. This gave people some level of familiarity and comfort with their rural health physician that it is not unusual for community folks to approach me to ask for medical advice or to pull me to their homes to attend to sick relatives. [With the bike], I am more mobile and it became easier to attend to house calls. The community folks once knew me as ‘the doctor who likes to walk around.’ Now, some of them call me ‘the doctor who likes to walk and ride his bike around.’”

Reliving outdoor sports

Because Filipinos are innately passionate for outdoor living, C.O.R.E. supports outdoor athletes with the help of private and public entities. In fact, the advocacy arm was at the forefront of two successful expeditions: the first all-Filipino team to summit the Mount Everest and the discovery of new bird species in the Babuyan Group of Islands.

The athletes represented by C.O.R.E. include sports climbers, endurance runners and mountaineers, as well as Filipino scientists who embark on extraordinary causes.

“This is how we move people, we bring them to a whole new world where they can connect with their peers, with the environment, and more importantly, with themselves,” Villaflor noted.

She added, “In this digital age, we have to encourage more people to explore the outdoors and build connections that transcend the online world. For us, providing the right gear for the right sport is our biggest contribution.”

An eco-friendly future

From air conditioners to lighting products and elevators to construction materials, many local and international organizations are leading the way to support advocacies that touch base environmental protection and conservation.

For its part, Primer Group assures nothing but to faithfully advocate more sustainable ways of living through a gamut of environmental endeavors that are headed toward nation-building.

Villaflor concluded, “What we see today is the fragile result of millions of years of manmade evolution. As we continue to innovate the way we live, we become more responsible in conserving what we have left because those resources are what we will depend on in the future. If we want to run the path towards meaningful change, we need to start bicycling the change now.”

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