Eco advocacy

By: Editorial July 03,2016 - 09:47 PM

Cartoon for_04JULY2016_MONDAY_renelevera_ILLEGAL MINING

The appointment of environmental advocate and philanthropist Gina Lopez as Environment secretary by President Rodrigo Duterte may be welcomed by ecology advocates that have long clamored for stronger action against unmitigated mining and deforestation activities. But as in all things and people that are too good to be true, it remains to be seen how effective and how long she would want to stay in an agency that’s accused of turning a blind eye on wanton destruction of the environment.

Her appointment sent shockwaves to the mining sector, with stocks dropping low amid fears that their barely regulated industry would now become subject to too much restrictions and even downright closures of mines if proven to have violated existing mining laws.

But the President’s marching orders to Lopez and by extension the call to Big Business had been encapsulated in these three words: Do It Right. As Mr. Duterte said, he cannot stop mining even if he wanted to because there is an existing law that allows mining activities in the country.

It is perhaps the height of naiveté or ignorance to think that countries like the Philippines and others around the world can stop mining altogether if only to preserve the environment as ecology advocates are wont to demand — unless of course we are prepared to return to Stone Age when even wood was used as fuel to cook food.

Neither is it possible for us to stop raising cattle, poultry and fishing if only to accede to the demands of vegetarians and animal rights activists about caring for the animal kingdom, lest the animals outnumber people and overrun the forests and existing resources.

That said, the situation we find ourselves in right now is unbridled consumerist excess, where the clamor for the latest cars, gadgets, food and clothes has driven Big Business to push harder and resort to shortcuts that further ravaged the land and sea.

It’s not just about unregulated mining which had resulted in soil erosion, the pollution of rivers and the eventual displacement of entire communities. It’s also about the use of fossil fuels like coal that still causes the emission of greenhouse gases despite claims by coal plant proponents of technology that had diminished the production of pollutants.

The Cebu City Council had barely stopped moves for one company to set up a coal plant in one of the barangays. With Lopez at the DENR, we wonder if she would call for a complete halt on all coal plant projects that are either in the pipeline or are undergoing work now.

Aside from mining, coal plants and the continuing deforestation in the country, Lopez may also want to focus her efforts not only on illegal fishing but also on enforcing existing laws that restrict commercial fishing that deprives fisherfolk of their daily catch.

These and many other priorities await Lopez as she takes over the DENR helm, and we hope that she pursues these programs with the same zest and zeal that characterized her impassioned plea to preserve the country from the destruction caused by wanton mining.

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TAGS: advocacy, Cebu, Cebu City Council, climate change, Eco Advocacy, ecology, environment, Environment Secretary, environmental concerns, environmental displacement, erosion, Gina Lopez, greenhouse gases, mining, pollutionc, President Rodrigo Duterte, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President Rody Duterte, Rodrigo Duterte, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Rody Duterte

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