How far can your cups of coffee go?
For Jessa Garibay- Yayen, it creates memories and bonds, in the process of which relationships are formed, understanding of differences is attained, and a bolt of creativity percolates.
Over coffee, once upon a time, she was given an opportunity to touch-base with the community of indigenous peoples ─ exchanging bon mots with each other, processing recriminations with caffeine, and broaching environmental concepts and status quo─ graduating into lettered vanguards of the Palawan environment.
In 2014, the Center for Sustainability PH (CSPH) was born. Co-founded by Ms. Jessa Garibay-Yayen and her partners, the woman-run organization’s DNA lies in its push and promotion towards reforestation, land conservation, and citizen science. It also aims to give value and credence to community organizing, scientific research, and political lobbying.
At 14, Ms. Garibay-Yayen first started her forays into a motley of environmental conservation and protection undertakings. As a Palaweño, she has witnessed the ebbs and flows of Palawan’s biodiversity. And so, with the formation of Center for Sustainability PH, it has provided her more avenues and reasons to fight for Palawan that she calls home.
In her organization’s zealousness and unbendable commitment, CSPH became instrumental in the declaration of the Cleopatra’s Needle Forest Reserve (CNFR) as a Critical Habitat in 2016. A year later, it was also declared as the largest Protected Reserve in Palawan. Moreover, it has also led in the conduct of biodiversity survey by Filipino and international scientists which has resulted in the rediscovery of two major species formerly lost to the track of science; one of which is the Palawan Toadlet.
Saving Almaciga Trees, a campaign borne by CSPH to protect and conserve the Almaciga trees from exploitation and overutilization, has altogether paved the way for the plantation of about 15,000 Almaciga seedlings to date, in support of the thrusts of the program.
Every person has a way of making an impact, Ms. Garibay-Yayen once said. Her environmental work, sustained by her open connections with international organizations and ardent desire to achieve environmental growth in Palawan, is an exemplary application of this philosophy.
She has already received quite a number of accolades for her work: the Sabin Amphibian Conservation Prize in 2016 and Kinship Fellow in the United States of America in 2021, to name some of them. Given all of these achievements under her belt and more, there is no denying that Ms. Garibay-Yayen՚s work is indispensable not just to Palawan’s biodiversity but to that of the world’s.
The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) is bestowing another feather to Ms. Jessa Garibay- Yayen՚s cap: The Palawan Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Planet Champion Award, for her outstanding contributions to the conservation, protection, and preservation of the environmental integrity of Palawan Biosphere Reserves.
Ms. Garibay- Yayen՚s work is an example of upping the ante in the environmental conservation work of women in the society at large. As what she would always say: women do have a lot of conservation work to do, and there is no choice but to be optimistic.
PCSDS so agrees.