- Kim’s Dream
- Orlando R. Ravanera
All the governments of the world have been informed for the past 25 years by UN reports, intergovernmental reports, and environmental scientists report that “the economics of the wealthy and wasteful consumer culture of the Global North especially the US – now being rapidly globalized – is not sustainable. The latest data and reports show that the natural world is being polluted, degraded and destroyed so rapidly that global land and ocean ecosystems are collapsing, with species being eliminated at a rate of 1,000 times the pre-human extinction rate.”
Despite all these warnings, no one is listening. There is a continuing veneration to the profit motive that has captured the mindset of all governments, all institutions, all universities and all religious groups while denigration of spirituality continues. How to awaken mankind that is deeply buried in so much consumerism and materialism? Is the coronavirus the one to give the wake-up call? Perhaps. Let us reflect for a while on how the homo sapiens are inflicting so much pain to Mother Earth (GAIA).
Indeed, all of us must pay homage to Gaia who sustains life yet, has been abused, its forests raped, its biodiversity massacred, its agricultural lands poisoned by toxic chemicals, its rivers drying up, its seas polluted and its ozone layers destroyed.
We are now in the 20th year of the 21st century but we are not so certain anymore if we can reach the 22nd century as the Earth warms and the oceans rise. We must now contend with impending ecological disasters – earthquakes, tsunamis, super typhoons, drought and floods – which are becoming more horrible and fatal. Indeed, there is no free meal in nature. After sacrificing Mother Nature to the altar of greed and profit because of a dominant development paradigm which is anchored on the growth-at-all-cost strategy, nature is now taking its vengeance.
Our accelerating drive towards ecological disasters is further aggravated by the destruction of ecological base that must feed, clothe and house the exponentially growing population. The 10,000 or so earth’s inhabitants had grown to 3.3 billion in 1900 after one hundred thousand years but that 3.3 billion has doubled to 6.6 billion people today, after only 100 years. By 2050, there will be some 9.3 billion people on earth, according to UN demographers, which is only 30 years from now.
The tremendous increase in world’s population cannot be matched by food production. On the contrary, food production is decreasing because, according to well-known scientists, for every 1 degree Celsius increase in the earth’s temperature, there will be a corresponding 10% decrease in yields of wheat, corn and rice.
One billion people on earth are hungry, mostly Asians. The impending occurrence of famine is now predicted as the Himalayan glaciers are melting. As an adverse consequence, it is feared that Mekong Delta that irrigates millions of hectares of ricelands in India, China, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia will dry-up and will instead be inundated by the rising salty water.
When this happens, some 20 million Filipinos will go hungry as we are importing more than ten million metric tons of rice annually from these countries. The 105 million Filipinos need some 16 million metric tons of rice every year. We can only produce some 5 million metric tons, the balance, we import. I believe it is about time to make our country self-reliant on food. It is paradoxical that while we are feeding the world with all kinds of fruits and cash crops, we must import basic staple for our basic needs. This is so because it is the giant agri-business corporations that own our agriculture, not the farming communities.
While we must be conscious of the state of the environment globally, it is imperative for us to be aware, more so, locally.
The Philippines has long lost its ecological integrity. In fact, we are now facing ecological crisis that unless soon averted will lead to societal collapse. After losing 17 million hectares of natural forest in just a century, there is no way stopping the rampaging water that wrecks havoc whatever it finds in its path, be life, limb or properties.
Even in this City of Cagayan de Oro, we have witnessed the destruction of our ecosystems with utter disregard for nature and the welfare of the coming generations which has rendered the city very much vulnerable to ecological disasters.
Satellite map has shown that from 37,000 hectares of forest cover about three decades ago in the uplands of Cagayan de Oro, we barely have 500 hectares of remaining forest. Logging has continued before without let-up, perpetuated by those whose insatiable greed has created a cabal of vested interest with connivance from the very people who are tasked to protect the environment. According to reports, ten-wheelers logging trucks were passing from 1960 to 1991 the thoroughfares of the city at dawn, carrying illegally-cut logs from the remaining forests of Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon and the watersheds of Lake Lanao. It only stopped in 1991 when Task Force Macajalar staged human barricades against logging.
As we pay respect to Mother Earth, let us be conscious of the state of our environment and must forge our oneness to heal the blighted land back to life otherwise we will all perish not through the pandemic but through climate change.
The 11.5 million cooperative members must now be transformed into a robust ecological movement for GAIA! That’s how important the cooperatives have become!