Lopez-led geothermal leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC) on Friday joins the world in celebrating World Environment Day as it kicks off its celebration for Philippine Environment Month, with its very own theme “Biodiversity and Resiliency”, despite the on-going threats brought by the corona virus disease (COVID-19).

EDC Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Relations Head Atty. Allan V. Barcena said while everyone is busy preparing and adapting to the “new normal” brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a high-time to acknowledge the significance of biodiversity conservation in strengthening resilience in times of crisis.

“Following the United Nations (UN) 2020 World Environment Day theme of Celebrate Biodiversity: Time for Nature, we’ve come up with the theme “Biodiversity and Resiliency” that mirrors our present situation. It is imperative for us to be reminded that all living things are connected, and we should rethink how we can help to save each other especially in trying times like now,” Barcena said.

“Even if we are constrained from doing our usual physical activities such as  arboretum tree growing, BINHI exhibit and face-to-face seminars in celebrating World Environment Day, we still found a way to this day, through the use of internet and modern technology.  Dubbed as EnviMonth X BINHI Day 2020, our online event aims to drive public attention to the protection and conservation of our natural resources,” Barcena added.

EDC’s celebration of biodiversity, according to Barcena, also follows the recently announced theme for the Philippine Environment Month led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) which  also lined up virtual activities for the celebration with the theme: “Protect Nature. Sustain our Future. #HealNature4Our Future.”

BINHI is the company’s flagship forest restoration program that has been bridging forest gaps and bringing back to abundance 96 threatened Philippine native trees in its areas of operation and in other parts of the country with the help of its 177 partners for over 11 years now.

EDC designed a series of activities for its employees to further widen their knowledge on biodiversity conservation and the importance of nature in surviving crises like the current pandemic. This is part of its month-long celebration of World Environment Day and Philippine Arbor day on 05 and 25 June, respectively.

EDC invited experts from the field of environment and natural resources for its webinar series for the whole month of June. The roster of speakers includes Dr. Juan Carloz Gonzalez, a zoology expert from the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) and Director of Museum of Natural History; Mr. Jayson Ibanez, Director of Research and Conservation at the Philippine Eagle Foundation, a Davao-based conservation NGO, and also currently a Senior Lecturer at the College of Science and Mathematics in UP Mindanao; Dr. Mary Grace Dacuma, a molecular epidemiologist and assistant professor of Zoology at UP-LB whose research work on the transmission of malaria was instrumental in the development of policies and actions to eliminate malaria infections in two Mindanao provinces; and Dr. Theresa Mundita S. Lim, an international biodiversity expert and the current Executive Director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB).

“As a token of our gratitude to our speakers who have prepared and allotted time and share the same goal of redirecting the people’s attention to the importance of nature conservation in our everyday life and also as part of our participation in the Philippine Arbor Day celebration, we will be planting one threatened species on behalf of the speaker’s name in our arboretum,” Barcena said.

The webinar series will be made available to the public for viewing through the official EDC BINHI Facebook page after the month-long celebration. Exciting games such as biodiversity quizzes and trivias and photo contests are also prepared for the employees as part of the celebration.

EDC is part of the First Gen Corporation (“First Gen”) Group, which has the largest portfolio of power plants using clean and renewable technology in the Philippines. Its 1,473.3MW total installed capacity accounts for 37 percent of the country’s total generated renewable energy while its 1,181MW geothermal portfolio accounts for 61 percent of the country’s total installed geothermal capacity and has put the Philippines on the map as the 3rd largest geothermal producer.