We’re always kilig when we receive compliments about our social media content and the branding of our projects. For the last year and a half, they have been designed, reviewed, and approved by Gab Paloma, 21-year-old student and YSEALI SEA Camp-Subic alum. Taking a cue from our previous Creative Director, James Reef, her SPS name is Sardine Lustre.
“My journey with SPS began in 2015 when I applied for the first ever SEA Camp in Luzon but did not get in. Though I felt discouraged, I remained persistent and waited for other waves of opportunities to arrive,” Gab remembers. “I thought to myself that maybe I was not experienced or equipped enough. This motivated me to learn more about marine conservation and how I could contribute to make our seas a better place for us, but more importantly for marine animals.”
Lucky for us, she didn’t give up.
How did you end up working in SPS?
In 2016, I saw that applications were open for the YSEALI SEA Camp in Subic and applied the second time around. This time, I got accepted! During the camp, I was part of Waste Watchers, a project that aims to reduce the use of single-use plastics in hotels, resorts, and restaurants in Subic. Here, I was able to apply my creativity and skills in coming up with campaigns and generating graphics for the projects’ collaterals.
Gab with the 2017 Waste Watchers Team
The SEA Camp not only provided me the proper knowledge and tools to educate others about marine, but also became a platform for me to use my talent as a marketing student to effectively communicate campaigns on marine conservation and various zero-waste campaigns.
The first campaign I worked on for SPS after the SEA Camp was #SaveLaboracay, an infographic on how to minimize your waste at beach parties like Laboracay. After this campaign, I volunteered to help make more campaigns and design logos and collaterals for various projects.
When SPS needed a graphic artist for the SEA Camp and Shark Shelter, Anna (Chief Mermaid) asked me to join the team. I was able to attend two more SEA Camps in Cebu and Bohol as a facilitator and a part-time graphic designer.
Tell us about your current work.
As the Creative Director for SPS, I come up with the visuals for the activities, projects, and campaigns. The written content or pegs usually come from Anna.
The ideas for campaigns usually come from relevant and current issues on waste management, marine conservation, and other related environmental issues that we want people to be educated on and encourage them to do their part in any way they can.
What’s the best and worst parts about your job?
The best part about my job is being out in the field. I always get inspired by the stories from the people I meet who have different backgrounds but share the same passion. From that inspiration, I gain more knowledge and understanding about the messages communicated through our campaigns. I also love sharing ideas with the team, looking at inspiration for future campaign designs. I can spend hours mixing and matching color palettes and looking at type faces!
Running out of content ideas for campaigns can be frustrating at times, but I overcome this by doing my research and even exchanging stories and getting insights from the team and my seablings!
What can people do to help your cause?
People can help by making conservation a part of their everyday lives. By ditching that plastic bag or plastic straw, you are still making a difference. Simply sharing an article on why plastic is bad for the environment or creating awareness is not enough, action must be done no matter how big or small. Everyone has a part in saving our seas.
Fun fact about the environment that you think people should know.
Think twice when you see a plastic bag that claims to be biodegradable! There is no such thing as biodegradable plastic. Plastic only photodegrades but does not biodegrade. They only break up into smaller pieces of plastic.
What is your why - why you do what you do?
Growing up, I’ve always loved the ocean and I wanted to work in an environment surrounded by the sea. My dream job was to work in tourism or become a marine biologist. I ended up taking a business course, but that just made my admiration for the ocean grow. As I got older, I saw the state of our ocean deplete and I knew I had to do my part and encourage others to save our seas, regardless of my background.
What lifestyle changes have you made for the environment?
I do my best to reduce my use of single-use plastics. Aside from refusing plastic straws, cups, and utensils, I’m now making the switch to household, cosmetic, and personal care products that do not use single-use plastic packaging. I was convinced to make the switch because I believe that the even the tiniest piece of single-use plastic can be replaced by something reusable which is more worthwhile.
What are your eco-friendly finds that you always have with you?
I always have my SIP Burrito, water bottle, eco-bag, and hand sanitizer with me (can’t leave the house without one!) with me. As a student, it can be difficult to avoid plastic straws, plastic utensils, and the condiments that come with take-out meals. With these eco-friendly finds I’m able to reduce my plastic consumption especially when I am on the go. It’s now second nature to have these with me.
Where do you see SPS in five years?
In five years, I hope to see SPS grow its network beyond the Philippine seas and to continually empower everyone to make an effort to give back to our oceans.
What for you is SPS's greatest accomplishment?
For me SPS’s greatest accomplishment is how programs like the SEA Camp and A-B-Seas equip the youth with the proper skills and more importantly the proper knowledge on how to be caretakers of the sea and our environment. Through programs like this, the youth are able to apply what they have learned and are challenged to take further action and go against the current.
Follow Gab on Instagram @gabpaloma.