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Sustainable development: the key to protecting the environment

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Aside from fighting the preposterous leyenda negra by attempting to bring back the Spanish language in order to redeem our Filipino Identity, I have another advocacy: environmentalism. But so much has been written about it already. Any views from me will be a mere drop of water in a filled bucket. All I can say is this: much of the Philippines before, especially during the supposedly “exploitation-filled” Spanish times, was a haven for nature fauna and flora. This beauty inspired the creativity of many a poet and artist. But many of these natural wonders today are either gone or polluted. All this in the name of capitalism inspired by US WASP greed and avarice.

The desecration of our natural resources is a major factor for my travels. My travels are fueled not solely by my passion to search for traces of our country’s Hispanic past, nor are they spurred exclusively by a responsibility to document maltreated Fil-Hispanic heritage sites. I feel an urge to visit our country’s natural wonders because I fear that one day, any time soon, these natural wonders will soon disappear. Or that they might meet the same fate as the Pásig River or once lush forests that are now commercial centers. That is why I keep on taking pictures of beautiful sceneries. Those photos are for my children. When they grow up and these natural beauties are gone, they would still be able to see them, at least through my eyes in all the pictures that I took.

I fear not for myself but for my children. Let me just borrow a few lines (written in original Tagalog spelling) from Filipino folk band Asin to explain this fear:

Ang mğa batang ñgayón lang isinilang,
¿May hañguin pa cayáng matiticmán?
¿May mğa puno pa cayá siláng aaquiatín?
¿May mğa ilog pa cayáng lalañguyán?

Right now, it’s not enough to be simply “environmental” in order to save our natural resources. Protecting the environment nowadays is not just about throwing one’s waste in a designated trash bin or turning off electrical appliances that are not in use. It is not just about tree planting events. This is not just about hating illegal logging. Environmentalism is something that “needs to be done”, and without harming the economy.

The keyword here is sustainable development. The International Institute for Sustainable Development explains this much better:

All definitions of sustainable development require that we see the world as a system—a system that connects space; and a system that connects time.

When you think of the world as a system over space, you grow to understand that air pollution from North America affects air quality in Asia, and that pesticides sprayed in Argentina could harm fish stocks off the coast of Australia.

And when you think of the world as a system over time, you start to realize that the decisions our grandparents made about how to farm the land continue to affect agricultural practice today; and the economic policies we endorse today will have an impact on urban poverty when our children are adults.

We also understand that quality of life is a system, too. It’s good to be physically healthy, but what if you are poor and don’t have access to education? It’s good to have a secure income, but what if the air in your part of the world is unclean? And it’s good to have freedom of religious expression, but what if you can’t feed your family?

The concept of sustainable development is rooted in this sort of systems thinking. It helps us understand ourselves and our world. The problems we face are complex and serious—and we can’t address them in the same way we created them. But we can address them.

Click here and here for more information about sustainable development.

Act now.

Earth Hour tonight

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This is the only planet we have.

15M Pinoys expected to join Earth Hour switch-off

At least 15 million Filipinos are expected to be part of some one billion people worldwide who will switch off their lights for one hour for the environment Saturday evening.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said the switch-off at 8:30 p.m. of March 27 will be the highlight of Earth Hour, which has been observed in the last three years.

“The switch-off signifies the start of a very personal and lasting lifestyle change to minimize our ecological impacts and to do our bit for a more sustainable planet. Personal pledges can take many forms, from upgrading to energy-efficient appliances to planting and stewarding a small grove of native trees,” WWF said in its website.

As of 7:30 p.m. last Thursday, some 1,041 Philippine cities and towns have confirmed participation.

10 ways to make a difference

WWF gave the public 10 ways to make a difference during and after Earth Hour 2010:

* Document Earth Hour celebrations
* Host outdoor evening parties
* Encourage children to play outdoors
* Do a “Recyclables Hunt”
* Unplug or use less power, if working the graveyard shift
* Involve local leaders
* Clean up the street
* Unplug and chill out
* Give yourself an energy makeover
* Make a pledge for the planet

WWF said that in 2009, over 10 million Filipinos in 647 towns, cities and towns joined in – more than anywhere else on Earth.

This year, Earth Hour Philippines aims for the participation of over 15 million Filipinos in over 1,000 towns and cities nationwide. Globally, 807 cities, towns and cities in 82 countries across every continent have already signed up.

Click here for more!

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