Miracles and peace with earth
On a long-haul flight, one’s choices of living the moment range from a combination of sleeping, eating, reading, meditating, thinking, tinkering with a computer or iPod and, with it, of course, a menu of not just one movie, television show or music from all genres, to select from.
Savoring at the opportunity of having a free time, and films at one’s command, I opted to be part of an on-board movie festival. One entitled “Miracles from Heaven” stood out, starring Jennifer Garner.
Garner gave a compelling performance portraying the role of a strong and determined mother with an avowed mission to nurse back an ailing child. It is based on a real life story of joys, tensions from within and outside of the family in coping with a serious ailment of a member , losing and regaining faith, kindness from all around, and an accident which led to an unexplained recovery from a disease which had no cure, a second life for the daughter, and the healing as well of a family, individuals and a community; thus the title.
The movie’s stirring impact is a re-realization that everyday miracles are happening, but alas, we take them for granted, as if it is due us. One prime example is our body which is perfectly designed for us to function effectively and fully maximize our talent and skills, as humans. The parts are inter-connected and move in perfect harmony with one another, provided of course we do our share of having a life-work balance — easier said than done, of course, for not a few.
There are, of course, situations which trigger a dysfunction within the body system. It could be genetic or due to some inexplicable reasons, as what happened to the ailing daughter in the movie. An impairment of just one organ impacts the rest and changes one’s life and that of the family and even the community.
The same is true of our environment, one of the deep-seated principles of the law of nature being that the system is inter-connected. My dear friend, Tony Oposa Jr., unfailingly reminds us that “the environment is not about the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees. It is about life and the sources of life-land, air, and waters (LAW). The land and the soil are the skin and flesh; the trees and the forests are the lungs; and the seas and the rivers are the blood and bloodstreams of life.” (http://www.rmaf.org.ph/newrmaf/main/awardees/awardee/profile/51)
But, as we have to grudgingly accept, we have not taken good care of the life support system that sustains all of us. The United Nations UNEP Report in 2012 aptly said that the earth’s environmental systems “are being pushed towards their biophysical limits.” Greed, ignorance and apathy of human beings, which as Helen Keller puts as the “worst evil”, are reasons why our forests, oceans and land and the resources they nurture are no longer pristine but are ghosts of their previous state. No thanks to humans.
On September 25, 2015, the Philippines was among the countries which adopted 17 goals, each with specific targets to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for the world over the next 15 years, as part of a new sustainable development agenda. It is time that we take them seriously at all levels — from the barangays, to the municipalities, cities and provinces and all national government departments and agencies. That is the least we can do for our children and their children.
Anton Chekhov, considered one of the greatest writers of short fiction, said these words more than a century ago: “Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he’s been given. But up to now, he hasn’t been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life’s become extinct, the climate’s ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day.”
It is time to prove Chekhov wrong, and he would be very happy to know that.
For the public officers and civil servants who have the mandate to protect our rights and our environment, we echo Tony Oposa’s timeless words: “. . . (O)ur weapon of choice is not violence. Rather, it is the sword of reason, the fire of passion, and the will, the force, and the power of the law. We cannot have peace on earth unless we have peace with earth. Together, we send this simple message to our leaders: environmental security is the highest form of national security. Anyone who does not understand that has no right to aspire for any position of political power.”
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