It is not everyday that you see someone incredibly passionate about saving the earth and picking up plastic bags and other non-biodegrable products that are thrown in the streets. Most people will just leave these unsightly materials on the ground without thinking about the effects of plastic on the world and of the humanity.
It is not also everyday that you see someone who goes way beyond his professional duty to teach other people about saving the world and going green; and then, turning waste materials into a livelihood. Now, that is smart, earth-friendly and best of all, a way to empower the lives of the less educated, less priviledged and the lesser known people of the community.
Meet Joseph Castillo, also known as Joe Green of the JoeGreen Project who has been in the front row in the green revolution movement in the Philippines. Joe saw a problem while visiting the Camiguin island one day and then, his calling came: he has to do something with those annoying plastic bags ruining the beauty of the island. He strongly felt that there needs to something to be done, and he did.
He started the JoeGreen project and today he shares with us his commitment to a cleaner and better Philippines.
This is his story:
AMS: Tell us about yourself. Your education, training and where you are currently involved in.
JoeGreen: I am Joseph Andrew B. Castillo a FATHER, a social entrepreneur, never really finished college but currently under the social entrepreneurship program of Ateneo School of Government. I am currently involved with THE JOEGREEN PROJECT it’s my social enterprise.
AMS: Tell us about how you become involved in your current project and its mission?
JoeGreen: It started as a project for a job I took three years ago; I was hired as a project officer and was tasked to look for an alternative livelihood for fisher folks in Camiguin,Island. And as I was wondering around the island I saw an indigenous material that’s very much available and with an endless supply which was trash and that I saw how menacing PLASTIC bags are if not disposed properly. Since it’s an island there are only two options: dump it with the other trash and burn it, or throw it out in the ocean. So I said I should be doing something about it.
From then on I took on the responsibility to share what I know about plastic pollution and its effects on the environment, and more than just an environmental project I made use of idle lives in the form of out of school kids that hang out my backyard. I taught them how to process the plastics and eventually turned them into bags and made the lives of these kids more meaningful to them.
My primary mission is to educate the people to take care of the environment by teaching them on the grass roots level. The right values that we, as transients of this world should see the importance of taking care of the environment for the next generation since we are not the ones who will suffer the consequences but the kids of this generation that includes my six year old son. And while at it, we are addressing the social issue of poverty in our country by showing them that their trash can be converted to cash and this project can be a sustainable means of livelihood for them.
AMS: What is your vision of these projects?
JoeGreen: My vision is to see a betterPhilippines and a better world for the next generation by means of what we do in educating and teaching the right values and character. I want to see a cleaner Philippines and when that happens that means there will be less uneducated, unemployed, idle people in our country, since all will be productive enough to clean their surroundings with the efforts of our government or individuals like us that privately exert effort in spreading the value of taking care of the environment and being more productive and positive in life.
AMS: Who or what inspired you to be who you are? Have you always been involved in similar projects?
JoeGreen: I have a six year-old son that looks up to me as his father, and nothing greater than a father’s love and that inspired me to become better, greater and bigger than who I am then. In time he shall be left with something more than me and that’s Joegreen. I have been a people person all my life; I always got out of my way to help, I’m also involved with a Relief Group called Angel Brigade and I first saw myself helping the victims of Ondoy and since then I’ve been part of the groups major relief aid until Sendong and recently the flash flood in Sarangani.
AMS: What are some of the greatest achievement that you’ve had?
JoeGreen: Well, nothing monumental at this point I have yet to go up that stage and claim my HERO award but until that happens for me, I guess it’s the moment that I saw my son believing in what I do and even called himself Joegreen liit or small. I guess I drove my point, and it’s easy to tell a story and make other people believe you but nothing is greater when your own son believes in you.
AMS: Who are/were your motivators?
JoeGreen: A better life for me and my son. I cannot give which I do not have, right? I should have changed and better life before I change someone else’s life. Next there are the people under the project and are hoping that their lives will change too, for the better.
I cannot fail nor stop for a lot of people who saw the project already and now currently seeing their lives at last getting better should be my greatest motivator.
Then lastly, my family, friends and partner organizations that believe in my projects like I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE, of Zamboanga, LBC Foundation, Bikes for thePhilippineswhere we are all in partnership in making our country better.
AMS: If you were to tell us what are the most important skills that you need in order to be successful in life- what are they?
JoeGreen: LOVE. It’s the only one true thing we should have to have a successful life, if you love life, and love yourself or family and country, you will do what it takes to become better, do better, give bigger, in order the make lives of the people around you better and be successful in whatever that is you are doing.
AMS: What are your next goals for yourself?
JoeGreen: Well to launch the project formally, and put up a JOEGREEN Store.
And be able to travel more in our country and abroad to share about what I do and hopefully gather more support especially with the Filipino communities abroad to see the importance of still doing something for their mother land even if they don’t live here anymore. It’s still important to connect back home and help make it a better place and hopefully one day no one needs to leave there family to work abroad since we have all we need.
AMS: What is your definition of success?
JoeGreen: Well I have two answers:
Success for me, is ending up happy doing what I love do and having all the resources to do it, sometimes people seen as successful but majority are not really happy since they cannot do what they love to do restricted by time, fame, position, stature, and many more. So for me it’s simple it’s a state in life called HAPPINESS.
For the JoeGreen project, my definition of success is to see changed lives for all the people involved in this project. Whether a beneficiary or a partner lives should have a drastic change, better lives to sum it all up and of course less plastic scattered all over our streets, oceans, and water ways.
About the Author: Alpha Miguel-Sanford, is the founder and editor of Aspire.Motivate.Succeed. She is also the author of the book “The Best Inspirational Storie I Ever Read: Guide to a Purposeful Life”.You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow and like her on Facebook Page AMSDaily and be friends with her on Twitter @identitysolved.