Gina Lopez, Earth warrior, dies at 65

Gina Lopez was at the forefront of promoting environmental causes and sustainable lifestyle. Whether it was providing for the needy, protecting the environment, or promoting meaningful change, Gina Lopez said she always followed her heart. It was the principle she lived by until the end, when she passed away on Monday. She was 65.

Before her death, the former environment secretary hosted “G Diaries” on ABS-CBN, where she promoted sustainable tourism. She also embarked on “Quest for Love” through her ILOVE Foundation, a search for “change agents” who help the underprivileged.

At 18, Lopez left her life of privilege to become an Ananda Marga yoga missionary. After serving in Portugal and India, she spent 11 years in Africa.

“I was constantly looking for money to survive and take care of the children I was responsible for,” she wrote for Rogue as she recounted her work as a teacher in “yoga-run, pre-primary schools.”

In India, Lopez “lived as the poor lived” and learned “how not to be wasteful” as she could only collect one pail of water a day in the slum area she lived in.

In the essay, she talked about learning the quality of persistence, the value of hardship and the error of blind obedience.

“It is much better to live according to principle than according to rules, because situations in life change,” she wrote.

It came as no surprise that when she returned to Manila after 20 years of missionary work, Lopez devoted her time to social causes.

In 1994, now back in the arms of her family and their flagship business, Lopez assumed the leadership of the ABS-CBN Foundation.

Among her many pioneering projects and programs was Bantay Bata 163, which rescues children who are victims of domestic violence. She called it a “gift of love to Filipino children.”

Lopez also produced educational television shows, drummed up support for micro-entrepreneurs, and tapped on the Filipinos’ bayanihan or volunteer spirit in support of medical missions, feeding programs, and other outreached projects for the less fortunate.

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