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A meaningful Earth Day celebration

By: Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos April 22,2018 - 10:07 PM

Atty. Gloria Estenzo-Ramos

2018 could perhaps be marked as the year of Earthling’s awakening to the alarming grave consequences of Earth’s deterioration and the compelling need to act – now.

“February 2018 was the sixth warmest February in 138 years of modern record-keeping, according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.” It wont be surprising if March and April could as well be.

The point is – we humans have triggered the global climate crisis. We have a duty to act and change our unsustainable lifestyles which have not only added up the carbon concentration in the atmosphere, but triggered massive destruction of our natural life support systems and polluted the world we live in.

Our government, the industry and individuals should create pathways to lessen our dependency on fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions. A tropical country like the Philippines have absolutely no reason not to mainstream clean energy such as solar and wind, as the primary source of our power requirements.

Goodness, we have the national laws to make this happen. The political will to cause the shift is what is wanting.

RA 9518, the Renewable Energy Act became a law almost 10 years ago. We are a tropical country with tremendous solar, wind and hydro power yet dirty coal dominates as the primary energy source.

RA 9003, the Ecological Solid Waste Management Law and RA 8749, if fully implemented, would have improved the quality of the air we breathe as open dumpsites emit a dangerous greenhouse house gas called methane, apart from contributing to the increase of greenhouse gas emissions.

The good news is the awareness and action to stem the tide of ecological destruction is at an all-time high.

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The initiatives happening all over the world to stop pollution, resist off-shore drilling policies, fight overfishing and illegal fishing and even the judicial system’s pro-active stance to protect the rights of the children to a healthy planet are there for us to be inspired and never to give up hope.

It is heart-warming that more citizens and stakeholders partner with government and organizations in the celebration of Earth Day, observed worldwide every April 22.

Earth Day 2018 theme is ‘End Plastic Pollution’. It was a meaningful Earth Day celebration.

The themes centered on the plastic menace, ocean conservation, wildlife and heritage protection and climate change.

Senator Cynthia Villar, the passionate chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment and the Committee on Agriculture and Food, was the Keynote Speaker of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ celebration of Earth Day and the 11th year anniversary of the establishment of the Las Piñas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA).

The zero waste advocacy network EcoWaste Coalition celebrated Earth Day together with Samahang Sining at Kultura ng Pilipinas (SSKPil), Advocates for Environmental and Social Justice (AESJ) by adding their voices to the global call for an end to plastic pollution.

They exhorted industries in stopping plastic pollution at the point of manufacturing and “to green and clean their production processes so that products that they make are safe, non-toxic, and environmentally acceptable.”

They emphasized that extended producer responsibility should be instituted to ensure that each product, at the end of its useful life, return to its manufacturer for appropriate management.

Indeed, the proliferation and production of largely non-biodegradable plastic and styrofoam products made by the industry are still beyond the reach of regulation, despite RA 9003 requiring such. The National Solid Waste Management Commission has not come up with the list of non-environmentally acceptable products as proposed subject of regulation, despite mandated to do so within one year from the effectivity of RA 9003 and its implementing regulations.

Some countries and in the Philippines, some local government units, like Mandaue City and Cebu City, have regulations on single use plastic and plastic bags, but more still need to show their political commitment to reduce their use or completely ban them.

Island Buzz Philippines’ quest for reviving the traditional sailing culture of Tanon Strait and the wider appreciation of bigiw bugsay continues by having not just regatta but also Bigiw clinic and Environmental lectures at the Municipalities of Negros Oriental and Cebu, specifically Bindoy, Manjuyod, Tanjay,Amlan, Santander, and Moalboal. It also culminated in the launch of Hybrid Bigiw and the Awarding of Prizes for Bigiw Regatta in Moalboal.

The environmental lectures served ad platform for disseminating information on current issues and initiatives in Tanon Strait such as the enforcement efforts, orientation on the Amended Fisheries Code,including vessel monitoring.

Our dear Tony Oposa held a gathering with precious friends from both near and far in the advocacy world, to celebrate Earth Day and the rebuilding of the SEA CAMP in Bantayan Island(formerly the School of the SEA) from the wrath of the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan.

Walking the talk, guests were expected to bring their own water bottle, flashlight, cap or hat and ID name tag, potluck food, and their own bag to bring back the non-recyclable materials which an island ecosystem like Bantayan has no room for.

Tony wants to showcase the human culture and Asian spirit of sharing. In his words, it was also “an exercise of the great (but fading) Filipino tradition and culture of Bayanihan – cooperative heroism.”

More eco-warriors – that is the call of our era.

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TAGS: Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos, celebration, Earth Day

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