Among the organizations who went the extra mile to raise awareness for the International Year of Forests (IYF), Miss Earth made its presence felt in a variety of settings. From presenting the communications plenary at the APFW Forest Week in November 2011 in Beijing, to having the reigning Miss Earth visit schools and youth camps around the region last year, the pageant’s organizers have been steadfast in their commitment to ‘Celebrating Forests for People.’
The devastating floods in Thailand, which forced the organizers to move the event from Bangkok to Manila last December, brought home with striking tragedy the importance of the awareness-raising work Miss Earth does. As Lorraine Schuck, Carousel Executive Vice-President said: “Miss Earth 2011 will in fact become more meaningful at this time. …Through the Miss Earth Foundation, we will have more activities that will increase awareness on the worldwide impact of climate change. The situation in Thailand is an example of what can happen if we do not take the necessary measures to save the environment.”
As the 90 contestants were slated to arrive in Manila on 17 November, 2011, RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests was particularly pleased to help provide information on people and forests to accompany the contest. Televised across the region, it was a great opportunity to advocate with young audiences through simple messages, which were carried on bamboo posters by the beauty contestants. As they walked onstage during the contest, and later at the press conference, these ‘beauties for a cause’ relayed simple but telling messages on the rate of deforestation, the poverty of forest dwellers, and the need for sustainable management of our forest resources.
The importance of reaching out to the youth demographic is increasingly being driven by demand – from youth. Arguably more concerned about the rapid depletion and degradation of natural resources, youth represent a natural constituency for RECOFTC, one with whom we engage systematically through the Young Seedlings Program in Thailand and through special events like the upcoming International Forest Film Festival in Bangkok from February 17-19, 2012. If you are in town – you don’t need an invitation!