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Posted on April 24, 2016

Choose to Read the Label

Anna Oposa is one of Human Nature’s Goodness Ambassadors. She embodies everything that we stand for – Pro Philippines, Pro-Poor and Pro-Environment. She’s an active member of the Save Philippine Seas (SPS) Movement and cares strongly for Mother Earth, just like we do here at Human Nature. Read on below to know more about this wonderful, inspiring lady. 

1. What do you think people should know about natural living?

  • That it's not necessarily expensive! There's a misconception that going "organic" or "natural" means spending more. You just have to know where to look and what to buy.
  • That the better choice for your body is, more often than not, the better choice for Mother Earth too. This goes for food choices and personal care products!

2. Why is it important to read the labels of the products that you buy? 

We use a LOT of products on our bodies everyday, more than we're aware of. We don't think about what's in those products, precisely because it's part of our routine. But that's exactly why we should think about it! Especially if we recommend the products we use to people we love. For all we know, the products we use might contain harmful ingredients in the long run. My mom recently told me about an ingredient that has the potential to alter one's endocrine system. Yikes! 

It's important because the choices we make have direct impact on what's around us. I believe that there are ALWAYS options, and we have the capacity to make the better choice. Responsible consumerism, they call it. If we have the chance to use products that support local businesses and economy, are from sustainable sources, and have world class quality, then WHY NOT?

3. What are some of your eco-friendly practices? 

I always have a reusable bag so I don't use plastic or paper bags when I shop. I also bring a reusable water bottle. Whenever I order a drink, I always request for the no straw option. If I'm having coffee in a café, I request for it to be served in a mug instead of a disposable cup, or I bring my own tumbler. I never use sachets for personal care products, and reuse and recycle what I can like printing on scratch paper, bring bottles and paper to a recycling facility.

4. What are your daily / philosophy inspirations? 

I'm very lucky to be surrounded by people who (I believe) are far smarter, funnier, and more giving than I will ever be--my friends, family, and colleagues. They keep me grounded and remind me of what's most important. 

I travel quite a lot, so I'm constantly inspired by the places I see and practices I witness, but my #1 inspiration would be the Philippines. Maybe it's because I studied in UP, so I feel like I should "give back." I know that sounds really corny, but it's true. 

Also, the work that I do can be full of negativity and challenges, so I always go back to these quotes:

  • "An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside you." -Goi Nasu
  • "What would you do even if you knew you might very well fail? What do you love doing so much that the words failure and success become irrelevant?" -Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
  • "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not. -Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
  • Seas the day!

5. What keeps you busy these days ? 

Save Philippine Seas (SPS) has two ongoing projects: the Sea and Earth Advocates (SEA) Camp, a leadership and environmental education program for Filipino youth, and the Shark Shelter Project, a community-based, multi-stakeholder initiative based in Cebu. As the Project Director for both, my tasks are to oversee all developments, design the program, and coordinate with suppliers, participants, beneficiaries, government officials, and partners. As Executive Director of SPS, I also manage the day-to-day admin and operations, like fundraising and reports to donors.

Outside work, I practice yoga about four times a week, cross-train and dance as an alternative workout, and I'm currently training for a 5k open water race. I also love eating out with friends and reading books.

6. What are the challenges of living a natural lifestyle, and how do you face these challenges? 

After adopting a more natural lifestyle, it's become a mindset, a daily habit. The bigger challenge is to change systems, like lack of efficient public transportation options, the tingi-tingi culture that promotes sachets and other disposable products, and the lack of alternatives for healthy, local, and sustainable food options. I face these challenges by choosing my battles and being proactive in the battle I choose. This means writing letters to leaders and engaging them in constructive dialogue, and being the change I wish to see in the country.

I honestly think the bigger challenge in living a natural lifestyle is making that shift, and the biggest is convincing others to make that shift as well. My approach to "convincing" people is show by example and NEVER be pushy or self-righteous. Do all things with love and encouragement, and as much as possible, never be anti-this, anti-that or angry. 

This post was posted in Latest Updates, Goodness Ambassadors, SOS

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