New law in this country makes students plant trees to graduate

A new law in the Philippines will require students to plant trees before they can graduate.

We are well aware of the fact that trees can help combat climate change. They remove carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen into the atmosphere. Trees serve a number of other purposes – they help purify the air, block strong winds, offer shade, serves as home to wildlife, and can prevent soil erosion.

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However, the latest research indicates that planting trees wouldn’t do much about the world’s global warming crisis. But this doesn’t discount the fact that doing so can still make a difference. If done in great numbers – millions, to be exact – it can even change the climate in the areas where they are planted.

In line with this, a new law in the Philippines is requiring students to plant trees – both as their contribution to the betterment of the environment and as a prerequisite for graduation.

The new legislation is called “Graduation Legacy for the Environment Act,” where “all graduating elementary, high school, and college students” must plant trees as part of their graduation requirements.

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The bill is principally authored by MAGDALO Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano and Cavite 2nd District Representative Strike Revilla.

“With over 12 million students graduating from elementary and nearly five million students graduating from high school and almost 500,000 graduating from college each year, this initiative, if properly implemented, will ensure that at least 175 million new trees would be planted each year. In the course of one generation, no less than 525 billion can be planted under this initiative,” Rep. Alejano said in the bill’s explanatory note.

The Philippines is one of the countries often hit by disasters such as flooding, typhoons, and erosion. Their forests are also decreasing every year due to the widespread illegal logging happening in the country.

Earning income in the islands is difficult, which is why natives are compelled to cut down and sell off their trees in exchange for money. But now, they are paying the price.

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Once the law is implemented, students will be required to plant trees in specific areas such as forest lands, ancestral domains, civil and military reservations, inactive and abandoned mine sites, and in city parks and neighborhoods.

Each tree must be planted in the right location for a better chance of survival. The location, climate, topography, and other uses of the area will be thoroughly researched before any planting occurs.

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In addition to the impact on climate that reforestation will bring, the law hopes that it will teach the future generations to care for and be mindful of their local environment.