Staff Reflection by Russell Maier
My old buddy Sir Ernesto made the front page of the local newspaper back in Mt. Province, Philippines! Sir Enersto is a town councilor for the small municipality of Sabangan who is now being recognized for his pioneering environmental work– he and I go way back!
A few years ago, I decided to try and hike down through the mountains from one village to the main highway. I got hopelessly lost and I ended up arriving several hours too late to catch the last bus. The sun was going down and I was starting to worry. However, the folks in this strange village kindly invited me to stay the night, gave me a place to stay and some dinner, and one thing led to the other and I was sitting around a fire with a dozen mountain guides and Sir Enesto drinking brandy. Sir Ernesto somehow persuaded me to move into the town. He found a house for my lover and I, and we spent the next two years living in the spectacularly beautiful community of Sabangan experimenting with bottles. This is where I got the idea of putting trash into bottles. At the time it was a totally crazy idea– my neighbors thought it was silly and the mayor and twon officials dismissed it outright. Sir Enersto however believed in me though and stood up for me in the community when things got heated. He let me experiment with my close friends (those dozen guys from the campfire) on construction experiments at his farm house. Now he’s on the front page of the provincial paper and every child in the province is making Ecobricks!