In the US, graduating high school and college means passing all your core classes. In the Philippines, getting straight As isn’t enough — you also have to plant at least 10 trees before you’ll be allowed to graduate. There is already a Filipino tradition of planting trees upon graduation, but this new law turns that tradition into a requirement, designed to fight climate change.
Gary Alejano, the Magdalo Party representative who was the principal author of the legislation, said, “With over 12 million students graduating from elementary and nearly five million students graduating from high school and almost 500,000 graduating from college each year, this initiative, if properly implemented, will ensure that at least 175 million new trees would be planted each year. In the course of one generation, no less than 525 billion can be planted under this initiative.”
The trees will be planted all over the country, in mangroves, existing forests, protected areas, abandoned mining sites, urban areas, and even military ranges. The specific tree species must be appropriate for each location, taking climate and topography into account. Since the Philippines is among the world’s most seriously deforested countries, plagued by illegal logging, the new law is intended to give future generations a sense of appreciation for the environment.