Feature: Ode to June as National Environment Month, to June 5 as World Environment Day
Tacloban City (June 5) -- When Elizabeth Barret Browning mused many years ago…"The Face of all the World is Changed, I Think," it is as if she was referring to global warming, et al. If the dire threats to the country's staggering natural bounties are anything to go by, the poetry of land, sea and mountain may have already given way to the prosaic.
How aptly another poet Robert Frost wrote "The birds' song will never be the same again." For somewhere in the archipelago, the environment takes a constant beating.
We are all too familiar with the litany of ecological devastation: a paltry 800,000 hectares of virgin forest today, compared to over 10 million hectares of sheer abundance and biodiversity before World War II; our coral reefs, once billed as the richest on earth, now down to five percent in pristine state; our topsoil, the very source of food security, severely eroded in over half of our provinces; over half of 450 rivers now declared dead or dying; our urban air quality ranked among the most polluted in the world.
Ours is still an ecology-dependent economy. Forty million people are directly tied to agriculture, to irrigation and watersheds for rice and corn production. Thirty million rely on fisheries and coastal resources for sustenance and livelihood. The environment is the only social security system of our country's vast numbers of poor, but it is the first casualty in the unconcern for the God-given natural resources.
It should not take cursory references to June as Environment Month to remind us of how much damage we have wrought on our fragile ecosystems - and the pressing need for action on various fronts.
This year's theme, "Your Planet Needs You: Unite to Save Mother Earth," reflects the urgent need for each and every one to act in unity with the others in order to save the environment.
As we regularly feel the force of nature like rising sea temperature, floods, drought, depletion of flora and fauna, all triggered by global climate change, we resort to unified action which is the best way to effectively deal with natural disasters.
These program advocacies include land management, forest development, biodiversity, marine and coastal resources management, responsible mining, solid waste management, watershed and river rehabilitation, air quality management and partnerships and social mobilization concerns.
The poetry of the earth, John Keats mused, is never dead. Keats' poetry of land, air and water that Providence has bestowed on this land - that alone will guarantee our country's future and sustainability.
Let each and every Filipino unite and work like passionate environmentalists in their respective communities. Armed with novel and noble initiatives, let every Filipino's initiative to save the environment, serve to inspire and educate. (PIA 8) [top]