Keep the ‘light’ burning-A A +A
Monday, February 18, 2013
THE one-page feature of Sun.Star Davao, January 29 on the First Liwanag World Festival opening on that day set me thinking of the history of my life-long advocacy on Sustainability concerning the various aspects of man’s life. My present health condition did not give me the chance to participate here, but this much, I can say. Yes, I fully agree with all the objectives and aspirations of this one-of-a kind festival. I know some of the famous personalities mentioned here.
I remember Mr. Nicanor Perlas and his IKAPATI organic form in the UP campus when I resided there with my late husband, Virgilio, a European Languages Professor of UP, I made mention of Mr. Perlas in my book, Sustainable Development— Every Filipino’s Concern published in 1999.
In this book, 99 environmentalists and about 76 organized groups of concerned citizens about this same advocacy were mentioned. In this publication, I painstakingly gathered news from newspapers and periodicals, interviewed and visited some 550 persons on different occasions where Filipinos from as young as an 8 years old boy to an 83 years old farmer had contributed in their own small way to the sustainability of our environment. I made mention of 25 government agencies, 32 active NGO’s, and 64 related agencies in this Development Program. This book cited on-line as a significant book on environment is one of my many attempts to keep the LIWANAG burning.
I remember writing a little book for World Youth Day, 1995 on Fun Moments with the Youth. What is very significant here for this column is written on its preface. The world had gone so bleak and dreary during that time. In the Philippines there is much unrest in the South with the Abu Sayyaf groups and the government military force, with the MNLF and the yet to be concluded peace agreement. There is a rush of kidnappings, bank robberies, rapes, murders, hold-ups. The middle of Luzon is ravaged by lahar flows and the locust swarms. Many places are flooded after heavy rains. Poor people beg in the streets and scavenge for food in garbage dumping areas. The people in government bicker about politics. There is not much to be happy about.
Yes, again, I wrote some 120 fun moments to ease the anxiety of our people that time. These were anecdotes with pictures to make the youth, laugh, chuckle, or just feel good. These are all the silver linings in the horizon of one’s otherwise bleak and almost hopeless life during that time.
As a biology teacher, I brought my students on educational field trips to get better acquainted with their environment as the oceans, the mountains, farms, weather bureau, earthquake detection centers, and observatories. The classroom did not suffice with the textbooks and specimens preserved in formalin in the laboratory. I had impromptu lectures using all alive specimens in their natural surroundings, after which we return all the specimens to their proper habitats. With microscopes and lab tools we scrutinized these living things and studied their sustainability.
With the weather bureau, earthquake detection centers, and observatories they learned about climate, calamities, and the roles of the heavenly bodies in our lives. To top this all, I imbued my students with the gratitude and reverence for the almighty creator of all these constituent parts of their environment.
In my column some weeks back, I was asked by one of my interviewers if I am not yet tired. I answered him, “I may be retired, but I am not yet tired. I will go on until our dream world becomes a reality”. At present, I am bothered and bewildered. The preface of my little fun book seemed to be repeated in our present situations. Instead of being solved, they have worsened. To repeat all the news bannered in our daily newspapers, our TV screens, and radios seem redundant and exasperating.
I will conclude this exposé with this conclusion. Where are we failing? Where are we missing the point? It seems that we have failed to give the message, simply, loudly, and clearly. It must be addressed to each and every Filipino, young and old, male or female, literate or not, rich or poor, urban or country dwellers, upland or lowland inhabitants, as individuals, as community members, as corporate groups, as academe, and as concerned organizations. The call must be made and a ready response is to be expected. The response must be simple, doable, sincere, honest, devoid of vested interest, selfless, and nationalistic. There must be unity of purpose, selfless organization and coordination of efforts, strong political will, and short and long range plans accompanied with effective management. There must be a person’s holistic change of heart and a spiritual and caring awakening in everyone’s mind and conscience.
This can be done now to give our world and its people one more way for a chance to keep the LIWANAG burning.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 19, 2013.