Man as the culprit
Here is a piece of good news. Next year, the Philippines would host for the first time the 15th Annual Colloquium of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law (Academy).
The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law is a global network of environmental law faculties and research centers with around 200 institutional members in approximately sixty countries, including the Philippines. It promotes academic exchange, research and teaching in the varied fields of environmental law. Its Vision is “to build sustained capacity in legal education and advance conceptual understanding and implementation of environmental law, particularly in developing countries.” http://www.iucnael.org/en/
The University of Cebu College of Law is an active member of the Academy with this columnist and my partner in advocacy and co-faculty member, Rose Liza Eisma Osorio, as representatives. As such, we were able to share our experience as environmental law professors and advocates, with our colleagues in the Academy in the various colloquium in not just teaching Environmental Law and in embedding a strong sense of stewardship among our law students and the youth and, equally as important, also in ensuring that our law works through various initiatives and engagements.
The learning journey has been filled with much professional and personal growth and deeper appreciation for nature, and her still few but determined, selfless defenders. It has instilled the urgency of environmental education for all stakeholders including lawyers, prosecutors and judges and a boundless commitment to make the Law work beautifully for our people and our planet.
I am personally thankful to Atty. Augusto Go, Chancellor Candeze Gotianuy and Dean Baldomero Estenzo of UC, the Academy and my mentor, Tony Oposa, Jr., for introducing me to and helping me expand my network in the international environmental law community. I bask with gratitude in the all-out support given me all these years, amid the challenges.
I count as among my memorable moments in the Academy the distinct honor of being invited and welcomed as a plenary speaker in the Ghent, Waikato and the Jakarta Colloquium, as a contributor to several Country Reports which I miss doing, and a chapter author in the book on “Biodiversity and Climate Change” apart from being elected as a Southeast Asia representative to the Academy’s Governing Board and of course, the wonderful moments and shared camaraderie with and endless learning opportunities from our colleagues.
Now I can say that it is not by sheer chance that Cebu is the venue of the 2017 Colloquium, with the University of Cebu as host.
In the 2015 Annual Colloquium in Jakarta, the former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr., was our Distinguished Speaker. His speech on “Climate Change: A Paradigm Shift In The Strategy To Combat It” and integrating Pope Francis’ encyclical letter on the Care For Our Common Home entitled Laudato Si and implications of the Oposa Ruling was much-applauded.
Chief Justice Davide’s reputation as a green justice is globally recognized as ponente of the said Oposa v. Factoran case, a landmark ruling which must be one of the most studied-and-heralded environmental cases in the world, enshrining the doctrine of intergenerational responsibility.
It seems that our much-admired CJ has great friends everywhere. Looking at his June 2015 speech at the Jakarta Colloquium, I am doubly struck by the fact that his prayers for the Philippines to host the 2017 Colloquium and for the nations to agree to the Paris Agreement are now coming into fruition.
The speech of Chief Justice Davide, the last paragraph of which included the prayer for the Philippines to host the 2017 IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Colloquium, can be read at this link: http://www.iucnael.org/images/Chief_Justice_Davide_Speech_on_climatechange-9sept2015.pdf
Both prayers answered, Chief! Mabuhay!
The massive flooding that recently hit Cebu’s highly urbanized areas should compel each one of us to reexamine our role in this rapidly changed climate system as a result of our ecologically destructive lifestyle. It is not too late to take the effort to make it more in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature. Let us listen and learn from the wisdom-filled words of Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. He says that:
“Humankind is in great peril, and the world is groaning in travail and torment because of the crises we face today; crises perhaps unparalleled in terms of gravity, duration and rapid succession of occurrence that indicate something more than just accidental convergence but a retaliation in series, as an act of self-defense by an aggrieved Mother Earth which has been manipulated, abused, plundered and defiled by man. I refer, of course, to the ecological crisis called Climate Change, which has caused the food and energy crisis, and in turn – the financial and economic crisis. These are all irretrievably linked to each other, to one another. In short, the primary cause is Climate Change. On the other hand, the principal culprit of Climate Change is man. In his quest for ‘progress;’ in his madness to amass power, fame and fortune; and with his avarice, greed or selfishness, man has forgotten that the Creator of the universe has so designed the Earth to have a perfect balance in everything. It is a balance that assures an independent web of life that is wonderfully self-sustaining and productive.”
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