“..Though we live in the world’s center of marine biodiversity, we are also at the center of marine adversity.” @annaoposa

This is Anna Oposa’s Thank you speech at the Yahoo! Pitong Pinoy Awards which is originally posted here.

Magandang umaga po. Thank you Yahoo! Philippines for having an event like this. This recognition has been a big boost to the growing environmental movement in the country.

This award belongs to all the people behind Save Philippine Seas. We’re a small group of dedicated Filipinos and non-Filipinos who didn’t know each other but were brought together by the collective drive to protect the richest marine resources on Earth: Nix Nicolas, Kage Gozun, Andrew and Jane MacDonald, Tonyo Cruz, Jayvee Fernandez, Scott Allford, Blogie Robillo, Juned Sonido, Angel Juarez, Noemi Dado, and Franky Branckaute. And all it took was one tweet from Dave Ryan Buaron, or @TourismPinas, to start this eco revolution. Maraming salamat, Ryan. Sa iyo ‘to.

This is for my dad who is the most passionate person I know, my mom who is the smartest person I know, and my three brothers. Because I grew up with them, I have no excuse to be anything less than excellent.

This is for former Senator Migz Zubiri, who listened when no one else did, and my mentors: Bebet Gozun, Binggirl Clemente, Yeb Saño, Tony La Viña, Sandra Hammett, Mar Guidote, Mario Marababol, and the late Odette Alcantara.

Thank you to Ziggy Abella, my diving instructor, who taught me not just to dive, but also to respect the sea at a very young age.

I am constantly inspired by eco warriors my age who are always armed with love and encouragement: Vivienne Zerrudo, Kester Yu, Desiree Llanos Dee, and Esperanza Garcia; by my closest friends who have been constant in this world of change: Gold, Mariel, Abet, Donna, Ria, Juancho, Zoey, Ding, Vicky, and Jam; and my international support system: Bell, Pedro, and Oday.

This is for people like Jojo dela Victoria and Dr. Gerry Ortega, whose lives have been taken because of their courageous efforts to protect our natural resources.

This is also for my antagonists, for the people who have said that I was too young, that I dream too big, that I can’t, or shouldn’t, that my job isn’t a real job. I followed my heart, but I took my brain with me. Thank you for making me push myself harder.

And lastly, this is for the everyday heroes of the environment: fishermen who use rods instead of dynamites, parents who teach their children to use eco bags, restaurant owners who commit to using biodegradable packaging, and people who painstakingly segregate their trash and pick up those that aren’t theirs.

I hope this recognition brings to light that though we live in the world’s center of marine biodiversity, we are also at the center of marine adversity. Sana po magtulong tulong tayong lahat na protektahan ang ating karagatan at ang ating lupang sinilangan. If the people will lead, the leaders will follow.

Maraming salamat at mabuhay ang Pilipinas.