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Greenest Person on the Planet: the environment is for our children

Written by Jeanie Rose Deluza 

GASPAR ISLAND, MARINDUQUE, PHILIPPINES. Matthias Gelber visited the island, together with the AgreaPH Team, as the One Island Greening Movement was initially launched here last June 29, 2017. 

Gelber is known as “the Green Man” because of his work as an environmentalist, green entrepreneur, and his advocacy for combating climate change by living an eco-friendly lifestyle. 

He developed a strong connection with nature from a young age and has been a passionate advocate of green living ever since. In 2008, he was voted “Greenest Person on the Planet” in an online competition by 3rdWhale in Canada. Matthias lives in Malaysia without a car and a monthly electricity bill of around US$10. He also started Eco Warriors Malaysia, a community movement focused on taking positive action to combat climate change.  

"When I think about the environment, I think about our children, our future generations. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”, said Gelber.

He encouraged the residents of the small fishing community to nurture and preserve the environment, not just for personal benefit, but for the generations to come. 

READ: Chalk Talk to Ground Work

Green Living
Gelber has dedicated his life to “living green’ and has shared how small adjustments in lifestyle can impact the Earth greatly.

Through the help of Helen Vallejos, AGREA’s Social Programs Director, who translated parts of his speech for him, Gelber shared with the residents some eco-friendly alternatives to living that he has committed to, like wearing clothes made from recycled Polyethylene bottles, carrying reusable drinking containers, using bamboo straws instead of plastic disposable ones, and using pouches and wallets made from recyclable materials.

"The difference comes from me. My behavior is going to be the change. So, we all need to be the contribution: either we’re going to be the healing hands, or we’re going to be the trashing hands”, shared Gelber.

He is hopeful that his talk was able to encourage the residents of Gaspar to be the change, even in their small ways, so that they may impact their environment positively. 

READ: Vermicomposting: connecting the farmer and the environment

He also donated his book, “The Greenman’s Guide to Green Living and Working” to Gaspar Elementary School to be read by the teachers to their pupils and residents, with the promise of returning with “more Tagalog”.

TOWARDS A GREENER FUTURE. Matthias Gelber is joined by the AgreaPH Team, officers from MSWDO Gasan, Gaspar Elementary School teachers, and residents of Gaspar Island in Marinduque, Philippines.

The Greenman’s Guide to Green Living and Working
Gelber as an author published his first book printed using vegetable-based inks and certified recycled paper. “This could be the greenest book on the planet,” he quipped. 

In his book, he outlined practical steps on how we can help save the planet based on his own experiences. 

Want to learn more about Green Man?
Visit his website:

One Island Greening Movement
AgreaPH, in partnership with the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO Gasan) and Gaspar Elementary School, initially launched the One Island Greening Movement on June 29, 2017 at the Gaspar Elementary School. 

45 4P’s beneficiaries (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, English: Bridging Program for the Filipino Family) participated in establishing a nursery for bamboo, planted turmeric and madre de cacao which will be used for the planned expansion of the project.

RELATED READ: Access to Safe Drinking Water, Now a Reality

Jeanie Rose Deluza is an AGREA intern from the Visayas State University, under the Development Communication Program, Major in Educational Communication Technology.

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