Paul Brandt once said; “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.” – His quote is a very fancy way of emphasizing the idea that, as individuals, we should not hinder our capacity as humans in the belief of the presence of a limit. However, one must face the inevitable reality that a citizen’s power in his/her own state actually has certain limits. It it obvious enough to say that, currently, the Philippines is enduring countless dilemmas from social and environmental problems to the political arena. Hence, as a citizen of the country, it is in my best interest to be able to conduct and engage in any particular initiative which could do good for the country. Although everyone is free to join in the “club” of citizens who want to help our the country, as individuals, especially young ones, this poses a huge limit towards us because the best we could do is to increase awareness.
For the past few weeks, we’ve engaged relations with Clean Air Asia, particularly Partnership with Clean Air, the Philippine counterpart of a huge Non-Government supported agency which aims and envisions the belt of Asia to have clean air to breathe. Regarding this environmental problem of smoke belching around the Metro, it is very evident that this cannot be solved within a snap of a finger. Hence, the question which we (my team and I) asked ourselves is what we could do? We also addressed this question to the Partnership with Clean Air Coordinator, Ms. Juliet Manlapaz, so that she could fill us in with her knowledge on what young people could do to engage in a specific initiative to save the planet; stop smoke belching. Surprisingly, her answer was simple; awareness. After our meeting, she wanted us to continue spreading the knowledge which she imposed and influenced us with because by that, people will grow to be, indeed, more aware of what is happening to our environment. Her suggestion was very much true, as individuals, we needed to inspire the rest of the youth, the young leaders of tomorrow, to continue being educated so that they may be aware. Although awareness is essential, it is nothing without action.
As a citizen, one could be aware and filled with ideas. However, he or she cannot simply create a thought out plan and ask a budget for the government; it doesn’t simply work that way. There is a limit to our flow of ideas because it still the government which has control of the things which could and should happen. A great idea could simply be a clouded thought if the government doesn’t really notice it. This, basically, indirectly reveals the importance of certain actors in the state like the Non-Governmental Organizations because these are the institutions which we can empower in order for our ideas to be heard or voiced out.
Nevertheless, let us never forget the prospects of our power as citizens. The best way one could describe the prospect of a citizen’s power is the great idea of cooperation. Although our power could be limited to simply increasing awareness, this still take in effect which could prospect cooperation among united ideas of individuals in the future. In other words, by increasing awareness which could be done by our power as individuals to influence other people in he socio-political arena, we can urge and heighten the chances of cooperation within the community. Hence, action can be done. Individual awareness, indeed, limits our capacity as humans. However, this awareness among people can influence their very own unity. Thus, allowing all of their big ideas to create one stable and specific plan-of-action which can be conducted that would definitely help the country in the future; the simple but significant effect the tandem between awareness and cooperation has thrust upon.