Karen Ibasco, Miss Earth 2017 and the four top contestants. Photos: Facebook/Miss Earth Foundation

Karen Ibasco, a 26-year-old university lecturer, was crowned Miss Earth 2017 in Manila on Saturday, becoming the fourth Filipina to win the beauty pageant promoting environmental awareness.

She received the crown from Ecuador’s Katherine Espin, last year’s Miss Earth winner, according to the Miss Earth Foundation, a unit of Carousel Productions Inc, which is a Philippines-based organization.

Meanwhile, Australia’s Nina Robertson won Miss Earth Air 2017, while Russia’s Lada Akimova became Miss Earth Fire 2017, and Colombia’s Juliana Franco became Miss Earth Water 2017.

Ibasco, who studied in Hope Christian High School in Manila and can speak Chinese fluently, is now a medical physicist. She urged the public to reduce energy consumption and use renewable energy.

“I believe that the real problem in this world is not climate change. The real problem is us because of our ignorance and apathy,” she said.

“What we have to do is to start changing our ways, to start recalibrating our minds and redirecting our steps because together, as a global community, our micro-efforts will have a macro-effect to help save our home, our planet.”

Miss Earth is an annual international environmental-themed beauty pageant and said to be one of the four biggest global beauty contests. The other three include Miss World, Miss Universe and Miss International. Winners will spend a year to promote specific environmental protection projects and participate in tree planting activities and coastal clean-ups.

Jamie Herrel and Angelia Ong, both from the Philippines, won Miss Earth in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

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