Editorial: Drowning in our own mess-A A +A
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
“IF WE think the environment is just less important that the economy, then try holding our breath while we count our money,” thus said environmentalist Dr. Guy McPherson just to underline the ridiculous when investors and government officials alike disregard environmental considerations for the promise of jobs and a better economy. Much like government and private investors are drumming over and over again about mining in the Philippines.
Ridiculous, right? But that is becoming more apparent now, what with the suspension of classes and destruction of school buildings that delay the schooling of children, add to that the trauma of a disaster that can have long-term effects on each child’s psychological wellness.
How many had to be absent because they had to remove the thick mud inside their homes? How many have fallen sick upon seeing the devastation? How many families will have to make do because all their appliances and furniture have been destroyed? Who has tried to compute all the collateral damage of such a widespread flooding?
This is no different from how classes were suspended and children were made to stay inside their homes in Beijing, China recently because of smog that has worsened and can literally choke.
To continue to deny one’s industry’s contribution to all this will simply mean a road to a worst future for all; and as is always the case in any disaster and strife, it’s the children who suffer first, the elderly next.
Is something worse than we are going through really what we want our children to have? Is something worse than what we are going through what we want to experience when we are old and gray and can barely walk, much less outrun a flood or a landslide?
The facts are all there for us to see. There is simply no room now for vicarious developments. Everything happening around us is telling us that the earth can only take so much abuse and the only way forward is to put a premium on sustainability rather than profit. To put premium of building resilience than building big.
Anyway, think. You may earn a lot of profit now, but tomorrow your plantation will be washed out. Or, you may earn a lot today, but you will have to spend more to help your workers and neighbors. Every disaster is costing us.
Sustainability can be worked in as an investment; an insurance for better prospects and longer period of profitability.
Fact: Mining can never be environmentally-friendly.
Fact: There is no such thing as clean coal. The exhaust may be clean, but somewhere out there, a mountain has been dug up and communities have to eke out a living from the coal mines.
Fact: Monocrop farming can never be sustained environmentally and biologically in the long run. Think siltation, think Panama disease and Sigatoka.
We can argue and bicker, but it will not make us move forward.
Remember, while we bicker and stall, the bright minds who have figured out the profitability of sustainable farming, green architecture, and green energy are now raking in the profits because history has long taught us that there is always a better way.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 24, 2013.