Saving our animals can save our future
The Philippines, composed of more than 7,000 islands, is also home to more than 50,000 different species that reside in our lands and waters, and more than 100 million people all over, from our cities to our mountains.
Our lands also hold the highest levels of discovery when it comes to mammals in the past few years—a reminder that all we know may not be all we have. There’s so much more to discover.
So rich in life, in resources, in flora and fauna, from the famous Philippine tarsiers in Bohol to the lesser known Visayan warty pigs in Bacolod, we have so much to treasure.
Yet, we seem to miss out on protecting our endemic species. Deforestation due to illegal logging, the mismanagement of our lands, corruption by people in power, and the greed of ordinary people who are willing to
destroy our home for money are some of the main reasons our animals suffer habitat loss, losing their homes along with their food and, eventually, their lives.
The poverty of our lands not only affects our endemic wildlife, but also our brothers and sisters who reside in these areas.
The destruction of nature takes away opportunities for growth, whether in agriculture or culture. I’ve seen this first-hand in our reforestation efforts in Zambales—how restoring the homes of indigenous people can let them thrive.
The indigenous community we work with in Zambales has since started creating music once again, alongside planting trees in their ancestral lands.
It’s clear that when people don’t have to worry about surviving, they can focus on prospering. There is still time to change the stakes, both for our people and for the lives that are in our care. We shouldn’t let the few who dedicate their lives to conservation work be the only ones fighting for the future of our country—and we shouldn’t let these efforts be seen as extraordinary.
This kind of work should be the norm and the standard for everyone concerned about the state of our country’s environment.
What makes us human should extend to more than thinking of ourselves. When we start to think of others, especially those without a voice, we can start to imagine a Philippines that thrives. When we protect our home by restoring our lands, we protect our animals and our people, too.
Issa Barte,founder, Fund The Forest, [email protected]
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