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We must try harder to save our dying planet

/ 11:04 PM August 08, 2012

Executive Order 79, which President Aquino signed on July 6, 2012, has sealed the fate of our people and country. It does not touch on the social and ecological systems of which we rely on for life. It only touches on monies and material issues, old development models that have wrought havoc to this country since the 1900s.

The heat wave in the United States, the floods in Russia and the strange global weather behavior are all man-induced climatic changes—all related to mining and pollution.

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Consider our seas from which we rely on for life and food. Already 40 percent of our rivers are damaged, preventing sediment and nutrients to replenish the wetlands and mangroves that are all part of the food chain, thus obviously doomed to eventual destruction.

The oceans absorb about 30 percent of atmospheric carbon dioxide and plankton, and they are in danger as the PH level (alkaline content) goes below 7, causing ocean-acidification and coral-bleaching due to global warming. This is life-threatening.

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Life in our oceans and lakes, as well as our forest and mountains, are all in danger. The number of dead zones have increased as there is not enough oxygen in the seas. The entire gamut of photosynthesis has been adversely affected.

Why do we need to sell our country? No one will help us when we are in danger. Look at Placer Dome and Marinduque’s deluge. After all these years, nothing has been done and no action has been taken against Placer Dome, ironically a member of the International Council on Mining and Metals.

EO 79 will expedite the destruction of our island archipelago system and destroy our rich marine life. It will increase poverty. It will cause new diseases to arise—diseases that will impact our social and ecological systems.

It is not economics but ecological balance that we want to ensure. Our planet is our life, and our life is our planet.

However, our planet has been pushed into its tipping point—a point where there may be no turning back as the path toward destruction and its manifestations are clear.

The solutions are before us. We need to transform our ways and accept the fact that the present development model is the root cause of environmental and social destruction. We must realize that a development model must focus on sustainable methods used by our indigenous peoples in our forests and coasts.

We need to change our educational system to include the sustainable model focused on the social and ecological systems.

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The days of narrow economics and expert arrogance are gone. The politics of destruction must now end and real transformation must take place now. We, together with our youth, must strive harder to save our dying planet.

To those behind EO 79, and those who have to know the threats it brings, let this be our strong message: Our natural heritage is not for sale!

—ANTONIO M. CLAPAROLS,

president, Ecological Society of the Philippines

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TAGS: Earth, environment, executive order 79, Letters to the Editor, opinion
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