Antonio Oposa Jr.
2009 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee from the Philippines. Antonio Oposa Jr. believes that the worsening situation of the marine ecosystem, particularly in the Visayan Sea ecoregion, can be reversed, for the sake of future generations. This passionate conviction is manifested in his spirited crusade as an environmental lawyer and activist. A landmark case popularized the “Oposa Doctrine,” earning him recognition as one of Asia’s leading voices in the arena of environmental law and affirming Oposa’s argument that the interests of future generations could be protected in court. A triumph of principle, the case showed how citizens can leverage the law to protect the environment. Oposa demonstrated this further in 1999 when he supported a citizens group that sued the government as liable for the pollution of Manila Bay and responsible for its cleanup.
Oposa’s defense of Mother Nature has gone beyond lawyering. Setting up his base on Bantayan, an island in the Visayan Sea, he founded the Law of Nature (Batas Kalikasan) Foundation with a three-pronged strategy of engineering, enforcement and education. He is consistently passionate in his crusade to engage Filipinos in acts of enlightened citizenship that maximize the power of law to protect and nurture the environment for themselves, their children, and generations still to come.