“We may not see the fruits of our planted seeds in a lifetime But always, let us savor the moments when our hands and heart touch the Land, Air and the Waters.And then by the wave of the wand of the Great Magician, mere mortals that we are become fellow givers of Life on Earth.
So let us go on with a heart full of joy in the spirit of caring and giving, and having fun along the way.
Let us go ahead planting
seeds of hope.” – Tony Oposa, Jr.
With such simple yet profound words, no one else, but our dear friend and passionate defender of Mother Earth, Tony Oposa Jr., could have captured the essence of our role as stewards of the now vastly threatened life-giving source called Land, Air and the Waters (LAW). Alas, many still take for granted the LAW of Life and the wide varieties of the flora and fauna, including us, that depend on healthy life support systems to live, but, the good news is, the awareness to protect it is increasing.
Tony Oposa’s much-awaited book, “Shooting Stars and Dancing Fish,” is off the press. It is written in a manner that citizens at a tender age can easily comprehend, relate to and act. It is not just a story of his life, his triumphs and his pains, as one of the most forceful influencer of our time, but it is also an inspiring story of how we can be an instrument for real action to take place to have the healthful and balanced ecology that the State guarantees to each one of us. The book is indeed a story of love, courage, creativity and political will and strong belief that we have the power to make dreams come true, that same belief that have propelled leaders and citizens alike, here and abroad, to make and exemplify life-sustaining endeavors.
Specially mentioned was the 32,000-hectare Sagay Marine Reserve in Negros Occidental where former dynamite fishers are nurturing crabs and fish and where the way of life for the fisherfolk has been considerably enhanced. There is regular patrolling of the sanctuary by the Bantay Dagat. The mangrove forests are cared for, not destroyed, and which have protected the people from the storm surge at the height of Typhoon Haiyan. We have Governor Freddie Maranon of Negros Occidental to thank as the change agent of such transformation.
The book is a must-read for all. Professor of Environmental Law, James May, of Widener University of Delaware, USA, describes it as “a beautifully rendered reminder of the wonders of the natural world and of the human heart, and how they are inextricably intertwined. Through paintings, poems, pearls and prophecy, this book is at bottom a love story that propels the imagination and sustains the soul. It guides us as we wend our way through time and space in life’s grand expedition for beauty, grace, meaning and peace.”
Edited by Ms. Eileen Mangubat, herself an icon and former Cebu Daily News publisher, the book was formally launched in Cebu City last Friday. It is not a secret that Cebu is closest to Tony’s heart despite the continuing challenges in our beloved hometown in taking on the path to sustainability as a main framework for governance.
The event became a reunion of kindred spirits who share Tony’s passion for life in many forms. Graced by his family and friends, mostly leaders from government, civil society and the business sector, the presence of former Supreme Court of the Philippines Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., made it doubly meaningful. As then associate justice of the High Court, he penned the landmark “Minors Oposa vs. Factoran” case, a precedent setting ruling highlighting the trust doctrine of intergenerational responsibility. Such principle is as relevant today as it was when it was promulgated in 1993.
Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, and whom Tony considers as among his “spirit brothers,” came all the way from his various global engagements to be at the event. Durwood, who inspired Tony to take on the title of his new book while they were seeing the stars and the leaping fish in Bantayan years back, was in a way a representative of our colleagues all over the world who hold Tony Oposa in great esteem.
The book launch was preceded by another milestone, a recognition program to honor and commend good environmental leadership initiated by the Office of the Ombudsman, represented by the Environment Ombudsman, Gerard Mosquera, and the Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas, Paul Elmer Clemente. The Pasalamat sa Katauhan is “a movement to seek out and appreciate good deeds by ordinary people – in the private and public sectors – who are doing their share to care for the environment. This movement is by the Citizens in partnership with the Office of the Ombudsman, the Provincial Governments of Cebu, Negros Occidental and Iloilo, and other national and international organizations.” This program likewise is one of the legal marketing approaches that Tony Oposa has been promoting and discussed in his new book.
Because of its significance to environmental governance and its alignment with our cultural aspirations of honor, integrity, responsibility and commitment, the subject of rewards in governance will be tackled soonest.