15 October 2007

Take a stand today for Nature

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

In my treks and travels with friends, I have seen how tremendously blessed we are with natural resources. Fresh water flows freely amidst lush greenery. At night, nocturnal creatures sing in a celebration of life while fireflies hover about.

However, in this same light, I have also seen the wanton destruction of the very source of our life: mining for gravel in Quezon, dynamite fishing in Nasugbu, carving off the side of the mountains for roads and houses in Baguio, Laguna, Manila, and Batangas, serving of endangered species in Tagaytay, and garbage everywhere. You see the wonder of nature and the destruction of man, and you know that the clock is turning rapidly towards the destruction of these beautiful things. These are just a handful of places, now imagine that happening to the rest of the country!

I think that, in order for us to be truly successful in bringing about change in the way we treat Mother Nature, two important things must be done:
(1) Educate. Let the people know what is happening. In this case, I applaud the efforts of the documentary teams in our local TV stations for their work in environmental issues. Recently, Channel 7 reported news about the Angel Wing Clam, a delicacy found in the waters of Aklan which is being harvested even in the off-season which has caused its rapid decline.

Another documentary showed seahorses being dried up for export to China, Hongkong and other Asian countries where it is being considered an aphrodisiac. To which custom I simply must shout: HELLOOoo! MODERN MEDICINE HAS SOMETHING FOR THAT! Leave the poor, defenseless seahorses alone!

(2) Alternative livelihood programs
Our fisherfolk, farmers, and people living in these areas have to put food on the table, and they have no other alternative but to do what will give them the most money. Their philosophy would be, why look after the welfare of these animals when my own family is dying of hunger? NGOs have been successful with their ecotourism projects; the government can likewise step-up similar activities in the countryside as livelihood sources.

I actually have a third item on my list; it's the active reinforcement and implementation of laws that are supposed to protect our flora and fauna. Empower the guardians of nature by providing them with the necessary equipment and salary to help them do their job efficiently. But this third item may just be the most difficult to enforce, unfortunately. Such is the reality in our beloved country.

So we must do what we must. Educate ourselves and those around us. Begin by segregating and recycling trash. I am proud to say that my wife has started a trash segregation scheme at home.

There are small things that we can do to help the environment which matters a lot when everybody will do it:
(1) Throw your plastic wrappers in garbage bins; recycle, segregate trash; don't let faucets drip; turn off lights when not in use; carpool.
(2) Do not buy products from endangered species! Support my advocacy not to eat Tawilis! Include the seahorse, angel wings clam, and other endangered species in the Philippines.
(3) Spread the word about these endangered species so others can have informed choices.
(4) Volunteer your time or contribute to an environmental cause. Check out Hands on Manila for activities
(5) Go out and experience nature! Visit La Mesa Ecopark, a success story on how organizations can make a difference. Or join an ecotour of the World Wildlife Fund and see for yourself how truly blessed we are, and what we stand to lose if we don't act now.
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