The environment: It's about time we got interested!
A GREAT part of my growing years was spent visiting our family farms in Negros and Davao. The one in Panabo was particularly interesting, since it involved a huge tract of land that was only partially developed. I still remember spending many a time wandering around with a guide inside the byroads of the farms, surrounded by huge virgin-growth tropical forest trees teeming with all sorts of wildlife and flora. Those were heady years that, unfortunately, went by the wayside when our family succumbed to the lure of whole-scale banana farming by way of a lease to a multinational. To make a long story short, they promptly mowed down all the trees and planted banana stalks, making short shrift of a wonderful forest primeval. Not being in any position to make an issue of this, it became convenient to look for nature’s bounty in other settings. (Another story for another time.) Fast forward to the early '70s when I decided to join my father's Jaycee chapter, the Manila Jaycees, as a second generation member. By coincidence, JCI was embarking on an international theme of major proportions that ran for several years: "Man and His Environment." The Japan Jaycees sponsored in international symposium on the theme. Back home, I was nominated to be chairman of the Manila Jaycees newly formed Man and His Environment Committee. Among other things, we began to churn out various papers and informational materials meant to highlight the perilous course being taken by countries and individuals with respect to the environment. As expected, we were largely ignored, but that did not stop many of us from studying the subject further and becoming more and more involved in various endeavors to save planet Earth from the mindless machinations of man. It was truly akin to tilting against windmills, since no one really seemed to care about the problem. Our dwindling forests were being mercilessly cut down and not even replaced as lumber companies employed clear-cutting methods instead of the more environmentally-friendly selective cutting methods used by countries like Sweden and Finland. Waste recycling was a pipe dream and industries continued to use dangerous chemicals and components that were not biodegradable. In a few words: We -- and the rest of the world -- were an environmental wasteland. Now, Al Gore and the IPCC have a Nobel Peace Price to their credit, and the Bali summit has agreed to start moving in the same direction. The work ahead will be laborious, if only to get countries to agree on common standards for curbing greenhouse gases. It may take years just to agree on a common agenda and standards, and a few more years to get these down to the level of industries, companies, and individuals. Hopefully, we will not have embarked on this much needed direction much too late for the planet which is fast reaching the tipping point.
TrackBack URL: http://blogs.inquirer.net/cgi/mt/mt-tb.cgi/6465