5 Decades, 5 Champions: Anna Oposa


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In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we will be featuring 5 local Environmental Defenders who tirelessly fought and championed their respective environmental causes in the last 5 decades.

Anna Oposa is the Chief Mermaid and Executive Director of Save Philippine Seas (SPS).

SPS is a turning 9-year old environmental NGO that focuses on educating, engaging, and empowering individuals to actively campaign for marine conservation. It is most known for its Sea and Earth Advocates (SEA) Camp and its Shark Conservation efforts in Cebu. To date, SEA Camp has trained over 200 youth leaders for conservation.

Oposa, the daughter of Antonio Oposa Jr., practically learned about environmental conservation on their dinner table. She shared that she knew how to plant trees as soon as she can walk. When she was 15 years old, she learned scuba diving because her father told her that you never know the true beauty of the Philippines until you have explored her waters.

Regardless of being brought up in an environmentally-conscious household, Oposa’s journey to environmental conservation was not pre-determined.

She finished BA English Studies in UP Dilliman. As a singer-performer for more than half her life, she always thought that she was going to end up in the arts.

What paved the way for her own conservation journey was the birth of SPS. In 2011, she co-founded SPS as a social media campaign against the “wipeout of marine life in a coral reef twice the size of Metro Manila” or a case then dubbed as “rape of the Philippine seas.”

Ever since, Oposa has dedicated her life campaigning for marine conservation. She earned a master of science degree in Conservation Science from Imperial College London through the Chevening Scholarship (2014-2015). She was also Global Fellow for Marine Conservation at Duke University for the summer term of 2017. She conducts countless of trainings, lobbies policies, manages campaigns, and coordinates with other sectors to forward the concerns of the Philippine seas.

Outside SPS, Oposa works as a consultant at Asian Development Bank. She advocates for puns, proper use of punctuations, and lipstick as much as she advocates for the seas.

In an interview with Future for Nature Awards in 2012, Anna expressed, “My goal is not as easy as it sounds: I want to create a generation of Filipinos who care about the country because the worst environmental issue is not pollution, not global warming, but apathy. My goal is to make people care.”


[1] Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life
[2] World Future Council on Anna Oposa
[3] Female Network: When This Pinay Suffered Something Worse Than A Break-Up, She Turned It Into An Advocacy
[4] Future for Nature: Anna Oposa

Photo from https://cdn.asiatatler.com/

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