Zerowaste Struggles amid the COVID-19 Crisis

It was late January of 2020 when I first became alarmed by the COVID-19 disease. I’ve read countless alarming news from China. Thousands of people were infected by the nCoV daily. Even more unfortunate news detail the increasing number of deaths from the virus in only a span of weeks. It scared me a lot. I live in Japan, and it has been evident that a large number of Chinese nationals have fled to Japan to escape the then COVID-19 outbreak in their country. That in itself, has already scared me to the bone. I knew I needed to be careful, that I needed protect myself. But at first, I was strong to not consider any changes in my lifestyle.

As many of my friends know, I am currently on a journey to live a Sustainable Lifestyle. I started doing the Zerowaste Lifestyle last April 2018, then I adopted the Sustainable Lifestyle in the middle of 2019. Throughout my journey, I’ve been challenged a lot. I’ve experienced difficulties starting the ZW Lifestyle when I was still living in the Philippines, but I overcame it by being creative with my ways. When I started living here in Japan, the dependency of the Japanese community with product packaging has forced me to tolerate few unsustainable alternatives in my daily needs. Nonetheless, I persevered to maintain a low impact as much as possible. Even the Influenza seasons here in Japan have never shaken me to abandon my sustainable lifestyle practices. However, the horror of these recent months sinked in to me day by day. The mere epidemic has now become a pandemic. I saw how it spread from just China to now 199 countries globally. I saw the COVID-19 positive cases rise from just merely hundreds to now over 600,000 confirmed cases world wide. I saw deaths rise from barely a handful digits to now over 30,000 fatalities. I saw country by country locking their cities, struggling to control the infectious disease. Now, even my small hometown in the Philippines is in Community Quarantine. The horror of the recent months made me compromise the values and the promises that I swore I would never break. In the aim to prioritize my health and safety, I compromised sustainability.

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A Message of Solidarity: Life in the Time of a Pandemic

Dear you,

How are you? These are trying times, and I know that it has been tough to you and to your family. I hope that you are doing well, both physically and mentally. I am well-aware that each of us is fighting this battle against the COVID-19 disease in our own ways. With that, I send you my snappy salute for whatever it is that you are doing not just for your family and country, but for yourself as well. Kudos!

The COVID-19 has not only spread health concerns all around the world. It has also spread fears, panic, racism, and variety of social injustices. The daily realities that we all are very much acquianted with is turning into one of those apocalyptic scenes that we were only used to seeing in movies. It also scares me to the bone. This life in the time of a Pandemic has absolutely challenged us individually, our families, our governments, and our global leaders. Things might’ve turned out to be more complicated, but the solution is crystal clear; We must go through it all together, in unity. We must wage a battle against the Pandemic in a way where no one gets left behind. I am one with you in that goal. So here I am, sending out this heartfelt letter of solidarity to you. I am with you and with the world in this fight. We can make it through together.

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If “Good Girls” shouldn’t be talking about Social Injustice, then I refuse to be one

When they said “Stay out of Politics so that you’ll still appear likeable to people,” my left brow raised. I will never understand why silence and blind obedience is likeable. I will never understand why I would crave to be liked by people who do not understand the importance of discussing topics like Politics and Religion. I would rather not be liked than submit to this kind of mindset.

In society where people are so used with silence and blind obedience, being vocal about Social Injustice means being different, especially when you are a girl. The term “Dalagang Pilipina” has long been interpreted by the Filipino community as being demure, silent, and being an obedient follower. That is why it wasn’t surprising that during the reign of Miss Universe 2018, Catriona Gray, she was bombarded by people who constantly told her to “stay out of Politics” or else it would backlash negatively on her image. Well, I’m glad that she didn’t listen.

Girls are told to just stay cute and sweet, so we stay likeable. When girls talk about bags, beauty, and shoes, nobody tells us to shut up. But when we open our mouths about critical topics, we suddenly become “Maldita.” Suddenly, we are overreacting and difficult to deal with. Our demure image suddenly vanishes, as if that matters.

Well, this article is for all the girls out there! This is me telling you to just be a badass!

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Skilled Workers remain preyed by Capitalists

The world is no longer surprised when issues on Capitalism surface. It is as if people being treated as merely money-making machines is already the norm. It is as if we all have accepted our fates that we will forever be slaves to this kind of a skewed system. The mere act of thinking about it sends me shivers of disgust. Does Capitalists even have a heart?

March 2nd of 2020, the whole Philippines was shocked by a hostage crisis. A former Security Guard of a shopping mall in Manila took 30 people as hostages, just so he can air out his grievances on his working conditions under his previous employer and uphold justice to his unjust termination. While it is right to condemn this heinous crime, it is even more heartbreaking to witness a noble person like him to resort to violence just so he can level the playground with his Capitalist bosses. It is evident in this story that this is not a criminal issue, but an issue on fair employment. Moreover, even up to this day, it is a known fact that many skilled workers all over the world are treated very poorly compared to the actual value these people bring to the table.

As a victim of the same skewed system, I feel greatly for Mr. Archie Paray, the Security Guard mentioned above. Him and me, together with billions of workers around the world actually exist, and this is our story.

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Here’s to the unsung Heroes of our Daily Lives

It was Autumn in Japan last year 2019, I walked under the colorful trees of Chikusa Park. The Gingko Trees bloomed in yellow, the Momoji were red, and all the other trees, which I do not know the names, where orange. I absolutely remember how I felt that day. I was at peace because work was finally doing fine. I sat at the Swing, smiling as I was watching the view. This view was just a mere dream when I was younger. How did I even get here? As soon as that question popped in my mind, I see countless faces of people who, in their own ways, have saved me in the past.

Recently, I’ve been nothing but grateful, because you see, a ship cannot sail without the wind. A castle cannot stand tall without a solid foundation. A bird cannot soar if it was not taught how to fly. The more I stop and look back, the more I see things clearly. Yes, we’ve made contributions ourselves, but our path was mostly built by our heroes.

Today, I am choosing gratitude. This is for those who cared. This is for those who chose to help and save. This is for those who gave. Here’s to all the unsung heroes out there.

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