Karl Feilder, Kris Barber, Jonathan Gumaltico and Jeffrey Amparado at the press conference launch of the “Rock the World-Save the Planet” concert in Dubai. John Varughese/Gulf Today
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
Dubai-based environmentalists-entrepreneurs have bonded together to come up with the first-ever regional zero carbon concert wherein plastic containers and bottles used by the audience shall be spun into T-shirts as well.
Purpose is the restoration of a huge swathe of denuded rainforest in the Philippines.
The project was announced recently by Neutral Fuels founder/chief executive officer (CEO) Karl Feilder whose company has been into the conversion of waste cooking oil into the pollution-free bio-diesel, extensively utilised by a number of companies across the Gulf.
Project partner is DGrade-Plastic Recycling CEO Kris Barber who converts used plastic bottles and containers into yarn and fabrics sewn into T-shirts and other garments.
“Plastics are not that bad but we have to use these properly,” he said.
Barber added it takes eight to 10 bottles to produce one regular-sized T-shirt: “We have to reduce, re-use, recycle.”
Feilder raised two reasons for the choice of the Philippines as the beneficiary of the Dubai concert “Rock the World-Save the Planet” on Nov.15 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, in partnership with Dubai-based entrepreneurs Eventologist Dubai Jonathan Gumaltico and Animo Events owner Jeffrey Amparado.
While the world rose up in arms against the Amazon wildfires, Feilder believes that there are other places which must be given much attention as well, such as the Philippines: “Deforestation rate in the country has been one of the fastest in the world.”
According to the Philippines’s Forest Management Bureau, 9.8 million hectares of forest cover had been lost from 1934 to 1988, and of its 21 million hectares of woodland in 1900, this was down to 6.5 million hectares in 2007, an aftermath of extensive commercial logging, infrastructure development, agriculture, cattle ranching, and fuelwood gathering.
Another factor for Feilder’s concern for the Philippines is his workforce, majority of whom are Filipinos.
Feilder told Gulf Today the reforestation project will be carried out in collaboration with local government units and with the global One Tree Planet non-profit environmental charity.
The concert featuring Feilder’s own Sandstorm—he is the vocalist with Filipino guitarist Roy Corda—alongside Philippine-based bands Cueshe, Razorback, Wolfgang, and Urbandub—will be fuelled by biodiesel.
“We will measure the carbon footprint used during the concert and from it, we expect to restore 247 acres of deforested land into rainforest within the Mt. Matutum Protected Landscape, and to provide habitat to many endangered species such as the Philippine tarsier (the world’s smallest primate) and Philippine eagle, and bring back biodiversity,” said Feilder.
“Almost a decade ago, our company was the first to pioneer 100 per cent pre, European-compliant net zero biofuel for use in cars, trucks, buses and generators. Now governments and businesses around the globe have caught up and realised that we all have to stop using environmentally-damaging fossil fuels,” he said.
Feilder explained the reforestation initiative, which includes the rebirth of a major watershed, is also in support to the community-based project of the B’laan indigenous tribe, the inhabitants, with the conservation group Endangered Species International.
“The B’laans will gain vital benefits by restoring their ancestral lands by bringing back rainforest. They will be able to revive and continue their livelihood activities related to rainforest conservation.”
Mt. Matutum is an active volcano, 2,286 metres high, located in Tupi, South Cotabato Province in Mindanao Island, south of Manila in Luzon Island, via the Pan-Philippine Highway.
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