MERRY Christmas! This is a wish more than a greeting, a prayer that despite the ecological disasters we are facing, we must all be happy and thank God for “sending us His beloved Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Yes, God loves us so much that He does not want us to suffer any calamity, unless of course, we ourselves have asked for it through our actions or inactions. What we have done to Mother Earth is very glaring. Let us now all reflect.

Her name is Gaia (Mother Earth) and today Gaia is in deep pain and hemorrhaging without let-up. We have allowed a few loggers and miners, all in violation of existing laws, to kill her.

Her “lungs” (the forests) are almost gone. In the Philippines, only 8% of that “lungs” remain as the 17 million hectares of dipterocarp forests have been ravaged, causing the massacre of all life forms that dwelt in the forest ecosystem. In the uplands of Cagayan de Oro, the 200 thousand hectares of dipterocarp forest had been totally logged without let-up for five decades by six logging companies that had violated all the environmental laws prohibiting them to log in areas with altitude of more than one thousand meters above sea level or in slope with more than 50% gradient. All areas logged by the loggers were within these prohibited zones. They did not even do their obligation to do replanting. The DENR must be made accountable why that office did not enforce the environmental laws.

This environmental tragedy happened in just a century alone as our country had supplied the timber needs of the world through intensive and massive logging. The loggers’ gargantuan rakings have formed a strong cabal of vested interest with imprimatur from powers-that-be who were in power then despite their horrible crimes committed against Gaia. From out of their rakings, they bought votes and shamelessly portrayed themselves as pro-nature. Oh, when will we ever learn? Gumising na po tayo!

Her “veins” (the rivers) are either drained or heavily polluted as 25 major rivers in our country are biologically dead. We have already lost 75% of our mangroves (the spawning grounds of fish) and only 5% is in excellent condition. Our coral reefs, that delicate gift from Providence have been heavily destroyed through dynamite fishing and “muro ami.” How stupid were we when during the time of the dictatorship, the Philippines entered into an agreement with Japan (the RP-Japan Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation) which allowed the Japanese computerized trawlers and fishing vessels to literally rake our seas. The Philippines was described then as the “center of the center of marine life on earth.” Now gone forever!

Her “fever” (global warming) lingers, causing Her so much discomfort, i.e. colds (storms), sneezing (typhoons), shakings (earthquakes), and deliriums (tsunamis). Her “stomach” (the oceans) is now so upset as the seas rise and the glaciers melt. Her “skin” (the 6-inch top layer of the earth – the soil that gives life) has been scalped through mindless mining operations and “blood” (the water table) has been injected with toxic chemicals through conventional agriculture, thanks to a government agency that has been beholden to the interest of big agri-business corporations.

All told, Gaia has been sacrificed to the altar of greed and profit based on a flawed development paradigm, giving credence to money must grow principle called neo-liberal capitalism. Unbridled materialism and consumerism has given way to the over-eating and obesity in the North while billions of people go hungry in the South.

We are now facing an alarming ecological crisis that unless soon averted will lead to an impending ecologically-based political, economic and social collapse.

As sons and daughters of Gaia, let us feel Her pain and grieve with Her and we must now have the compassion to suffer with Her even just on Her Day. Most importantly, we must now act as one collective countervailing force to serve notice to one and all that we have awakened and that, as responsible citizens of the earth, we will not allow anymore the rape of nature to continue which is only ours to protect for the coming generations. Yes, we did not inherit the earth from our parents but we owe this to our children. But at the rate that we have exploited the resources, we have robbed the future generations of their inheritance.

We are therefore guilty of violating the 8th Commandment, “Thou shall not steal.” Today the sins of a few loggers and miners are visited upon our people. Thousands have already died and many have been rendered homeless. Where are the loggers and miners? They are safe in their mansions. I don’t understand why a priest in a pulpit would announce that Sendong is a will of God and that “like Martha, we must not question God.” Excuse me Father, Gaia like any mother will never harm Her children. Sendong is not an act of God, but of diabolical men. I hope you can see the 200,000 hectares of denuded lands in Kalatungan Range, totally stripped of trees by greedy loggers. I hope you can see the barges owned by the Koreans and Chinese heavily dredging the rivers, wreaking havoc and decimating the mountains through hydraulic and open pit mining operations.

Let us now stop the dark forces that are infecting more wounds to Gaia through extractive economic system. A paradigm shift should now be in the offing towards cooperative economy whose DNA is one of values, service, cooperation and sustainability. We must now debunk the present financial system that serves only the interest of a few elite, many of whom cannot moderate their greed: some even vied for elective positions to protect their financial interest. Money must be used to enhance life and the well-being of the people and not to buy votes or fool the electorate.

Time is of the essence. We are now on the 17th year of 21st century. The truth is, we are not certain anymore if we can reach the 22nd century which is only 83 years from now. The tipping point is now at hand and we must tip the balance in favor of life and not of death.

Let us now heal the wounds of Gaia. Let us forge our oneness, firmly committing to stop her bleeding and if we may, declare in one voice (please shout so you can be heard by Gaia) that, “WE LOVE YOU GAIA.” Indeed, we must love and heal Mother Earth or we will all perish!