Last July 15, the entire Xavier School Grade 12 batch was treated to an inspirational and enriching open forum by Jose Ma. Lorenzo P. Tan, one of Xavier’s most distinguished alumni, and recipient of the 2016 Xavier-Kuangchi Award for Exemplary Alumni.
Mr. Lory Tan has been an active supporter of and advocate for environmental preservation for many years. From 2001 to 2014, he served as the CEO of the Philippine World Wildlife Fund, an organization aimed towards stopping the degradation of the planet’s natural environment. As CEO, Mr. Tan created multiple initiatives to protect the wildlife and the environment of the Philippines. Aside from this, he also spearheaded the establishment of an Ecotourism Community of Practice in the Philippines.
Instead of delivering a regular speech, Mr. Tan decided to hold an open forum where the Grade 12 students would have the opportunity to ask questions about various national and global issues. The open forum was moderated by Ms. Angela Vargas, and discussions were facilitated by Mr. Roberto Dela Cruz, Mr. Synjin Reyes, and Mr. Joel Hofileña. Split into three distinct segments, namely, science, business, and motivation, it lasted about two hours and covered a wide range of topics concerning environmental conservation and wildlife protection.
In the science segment, Mr. Tan explained that the issue about environmental sustainability is not so much about preserving biodiversity as it is about biocapacity, or, as he put it, our ability to make the most of what we have. He explained that the reason people do actions that end up harming the environment is that they don’t bother looking at all the other feasible and more environmentally friendly options present to them.
Meanwhile, in the business segment, Mr. Tan discussed the roles that a business plays in preserving the environment. Debunking the misconception that being environmentally friendly means sacrificing profitability, he explains how businesses should use the drive to be environmentally friendly as a mover for innovation. One such example he gave involved the use of urban planting as a means not just to cut costs on the transportation of food and other supplies needed by the business, but also to lessen the amount of greenhouse gases that the company produces.
Lastly, in the motivation segment, Mr. Tan shared his motivations for all the work that he does. He believes that as members of one planet and one world, everyone has a responsibility to take care of the environment. He added how some governments may use armed conflict to get what they want. In order for the world to prosper and solve major issues such as preserving the environment, Mr. Tan believes that all of the world’s governments, as well as the people, need to unite and work together with one another.
From science to business to religion, the open forum that Mr. Tan gave was not only comprehensive, but also eye-opening. Every time the discussion for each category ended, many students were eager to ask him questions. It was evident that this talk has truly made a considerable impact on a lot of Grade 12 students and will continue to guide them to be more environmentally friendly as they graduate from Xavier and enter the next phases of their lives.