1000 Years Pollution Free

Learning from the Ayyew Ways & Wisdom of the Igorots

Russell Maier
Aug 6, 2018 · 8 min read
The Land of the Igorot People, the Cordilleras of the Northern Philippines

For thousands of years civilizations other than our own have thrived without pollution. In these cultures the concept of waste — or “trash” as we call it — did not exist. These highly evolved cultures were essentially pollution free: no trash, no waste… no pollution! We have much to learn from them. Especially those that are still with us.

Using the ancestral weaving tradition of the Igorots, backpacks that last a century, and handed down generation to generation are made — here solar panels, flash light and charging system are woven in
Igorot women show their work weaving Coke bottle labels. Behind, a mat woven from straws and a lamp made from bottles.
Even recycling in my country is another form of trashing: we throw our plastic away, for it to be taken somewhere else, and dealt with by someone else. The cycling is so broad and loose, non-personal, and non-local (i.e. non-ayyew!) that a majority of ends up in the biosphere. See my essay Recycling The Evil Illusion
“The practice of ayyew means steadily tightening, syncing and strengthening the cycles we’re part of.” — Irene Nhe Angway, Igorot culture curriculum developer, Sagada, Cordilleras.


Towards the green world for all that we all long to see.