Green UP: A UP System Action Plan for Environmental Sustainability

Water lilies bloom in the lagoon in UP Diliman. Photo by Jonathan Madrid, UP MPRO.

The University of the Philippines’ eight (8) constituent universities (CU) span 17 geographically disparate and ecologically unique campuses. These campuses are socio-ecological systems in which education, research, and service are enabled by the environments in which human activities take place. These campuses are also situated within the broader socio-ecological system battered today by climate change, environmental pollution, and the vast environmental impacts.

As the premiere national university, the University must lead in building, nurturing, and embodying sustainability practices that enhance and revitalize the environment, reduce environmental impact, and promote eco-education and sustainable development. It must gear efforts toward developing sustainable habits for optimized environmental utilization in its students, faculty, staff, and community.

The University wholly commits to environmental sustainability as a guide to human rights principles, democratic participation, non-discrimination, gender equity, social justice, and ecological balance.

These shall be upheld in the following areas for/of action.

  1. Green Spaces and Biodiversity. The University shall protect and promote green spaces and campus biodiversity. It shall adopt low-impact development and management plans to improve or incur no net biodiversity loss. This involves developing an environmental management protocol that monitors the health of the campus environment, promotes green spaces and biodiversity, documents and studies campus flora and fauna, and exercises proper campus animal management.
  1. Built Environment. Sustainable design should be incorporated into the University’s built environments to reduce its carbon footprint. Green technologies must be used whenever possible, and eco-friendly materials and methods must be integrated with construction and development plans.
  1. Utilities Management. The University shall regularly monitor the environmental impact of its energy usage and set reasonable targets to reduce energy and water consumption. In utility management, it shall promote energy and water conservation, periodically monitor consumption, and shift to sustainable technologies and materials in utilities upgrading or augmentation.
  1. Transportation and Mobility. The University shall ensure the availability of a reliable network of transportation and road infrastructure whose construction and maintenance are integrated with natural ecosystems. To maintain good air quality and well-protected ecosystems, UP promotes non-motorized transport and enhances pedestrian movement, ensuring compliance of public-use vehicles to emission standards; and adopting environment-friendly vehicles.
  1. Waste Management. The University’s waste management program shall adopt the UN Environmental Programme’s waste management hierarchy: prevention, reduction, recycling, recovery, and disposal, in decreasing order of importance. It shall enable individuals to embrace and realistically adopt a low- to zero-waste lifestyle by providing scientific information and support services for correct waste disposal practices.

Contingent to this, the University shall proactively reduce plastic use and develop policy guidelines to transition into plastic-free campuses feasibly and equitably. The transition must be guided by a democratic and participatory process that addresses the economic and socio-cultural dimensions of rampant plastics use.

  1. Research. The University shall proactively encourage and support research and development relating to environmental sustainability and its multiple facets, whether ecological, social, cultural, behavioral, economic, moral, or political. It shall enable cross- and interdisciplinary approaches to address environmental concerns on the campus and the nation. It shall strengthen support, financial or otherwise, for sustainability research, programs, projects, and initiatives.
  1. Education. The University shall integrate principles of environmental sustainability in teaching and learning through its General Education program and different academic curricula. Such would facilitate cultural and behavioral changes toward sustainable living in students and faculty.
  1. Extension Services. The University shall encourage extension services and programs that promote and mainstream environmental sustainability principles to stakeholders and communities outside the University.
  1. Personnel Management. The University shall establish and activate appropriate offices or standing committees toward concrete, strategic sustainability goals. Some of its initiatives include building the capacity of staff and personnel through relevant training and certificate programs.
  1. Mainstreaming. The University shall adopt the month of April as UP’s Environmental Sustainability Month and facilitate inter-CU and inter-university collaborations toward the goals articulated in this Manifesto. This month shall turn the community’s attention to environmental sustainability projects and campaigns and engage students, faculty, and staff in environmental sustainability initiatives.

“Green UP” is articulated here as both imperative and vision. Through the unified efforts of all constituent units, UP shall become a model of human rights-based, participatory, and inclusive environmental sustainability.

The sunflowers bloom in the University Avenue in UP Diliman, Quezon City, in time for the graduation season. Photo by Jonathan Madrid, UP MPRO.

More on UP and the SDGs

UP and the Sustainable Development Goals
Message from the President
About UP 
UP at a Glance
UP on Good Health and Well-Being

UP on Quality Education
UP on Gender Equality
UP on Sustainable Cities and Communities
UP on Climate Action
UP on Partnerships to Achieve the Goals