Palawan youth group half-shaves heads to save Palawan forests

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Puerto Princesa City, the Philippines. Half of the world’s forests have already been destroyed. But in the Philippines, it’s even less than 50%—once 95% covered in virgin rainforest is now just 3%! The threats to our Philippine rainforests keep coming in the forms of illegal logging, wildlife poaching, and mining and extraction companies.

That’s why in a world-first, Australian organisation HalfCut joined forces with young women-led Centre for Sustainability PH (CS) based in Palawan to turn the spotlight on saving forests and wildlife last August 31 for the International HalfCut Day in the Philippines.

Participants went HalfCut by doing something fun or creative with half their hair or beard (shave, dye, braid), posting their look on social media, and urging their family, friends, and followers to donate to their cause.

 “Everyone from all walks of life, young and old, women and men can become active environmental heroes to fundraise to protect our forests, conserve it, and regenerate and defend the remaining forests of Palawan, Australia and beyond,” says CS Co-Executive Director & Co-Founder KM Reyes.

CS undertook the HalfCut Challenge on their social media to spread awareness that the Philippines was originally 95% covered in forest, but now only 3% remains.  CS has a Mission to protect the remaining Philippine forests through the legal establishment of protected areas, starting in Palawan, the country’s Last Ecological Frontier.

Supporters from the US, Europe, and the Philippines have joined CS on the HalfCut Challenge through their social media.  Supporters are raising money through their personal Facebook and Instagram to fund CS’ Project Protect Palawan which seeks to create a new protected area in southern Palawan, known locally by indigenous Tagbanua communities as Kensad.

CS already successfully spearheaded creation of the Cleopatra’s Needle Critical Habitat in Puerto Princesa City, legally established by the Philippine government in 2017.  It is the Philippines’ biggest critical habitat, 2/3 the National Capital Region.

KM Reyes added, “The social media reaction and online engagement with our HalfCut Challenge has been incredible!”

“Filipinos here and abroad, and foreigners who’ve visited and fallen in love with the Best Island in the World, have contacted us and immediately jumped onboard to directly fundraise in their own networks to support us in protecting Palawan.” 

CS will continue the HalfCut Challenge on their social media, and fundraise on the HalfCut platform for Project Protect Palawan until September 10. 

For more information, visit them on social media FB @centreforsustainability and Instagram @centreforsustainabilityph. To donate, go to www.halfcut.org/protectPalawan.

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