HERE is the painful truth: The end of civilization is at hand, not through nuclear war but through climate change.
“The world itself will not end, of course. Only ours will; our livelihoods, our homes, our cultures, and we’re squarely at the tipping point,” to quote the conclusion of scientists and environmentalists.
In fact, the Philippines is ranked as number three of the countries in the world, severely hit by climate change. We are now experiencing the penalties in extremities: either water comes in deluge through horrible storms i.e. typhoons Sendong, Pablo, Yolanda, etc. where thousands drowned in one night of flooding or the absence of it in times of drought which our country has recently experienced causing severe damages in agriculture amounting to hundreds of billions of pesos.
Well, that’s the price of losing the 17 million hectares of dipterocarp forest, home to our mega-diversity, the richest on earth per unit area. Yes, we have lost our ecological security and we know that even with a strong army, a country without ecological security is not secured at all. Some 25 major rivers in the country are now biologically dead and so are our bays – to the detriment of our fishing communities who are now the poorest of the poor.
The country’s ecological scenario is now very alarming and the only counter measure is to heal the blighted land back to life. There should be now a robust movement to become that countervailing force. It is quite a pity that the Filipinos are likened to frogs which cannot detect temperature changes. A laboratory experiment can attest to this. Take a frog, put it in a pot of cold water then start heating the pot on a stove. As the water heats up, you tell, the frog, “Mr. frog get out from there or you will boil-up to death. The frog will just sit there and seems to say, ‘what are you talking about? I am ok.’” The frog will just stay there until it is boiled up to death because it cannot detect temperature change.
Indeed, the science of denial continues without let-up. In fact, denigration of collective action and veneration of the profit motive have infiltrated virtually every government on the planet, every major media organization, every university, our very souls. We are nothing but selfish, greedy, self-gratification machines. If we are that, then what hope do we have in taking on the grand, often difficult, collective work that will be required to save ourselves on time?
In a society so enamored in self-promotion, in superficial appearances and trivialities as exemplified by almost everyone running for public office, there is an amazing leader who’s pro-people and pro-environment advocacies have come of age. He is an environmentalist par excellence who began his stint in public office as a planning officer of National Economic Development Authority, then, became a political leader in Oriental Mindoro who have led in healing the blighted province back to life. Look up to the forest in that province, some 26 million trees have already been planted in the uplands when he launched the project.
Unified Tree Planting for Life together with his brother some two decades ago. Most importantly, his mindset has triggered the liberation of the poor from poverty when he launched the project, Poverty Alleviation, Rehabilitation and Eradication, advancing a development paradigm that is people-centered, sustainable, inclusive and socially equitable.
He is a very strong advocate to transform so-called Electric Cooperatives into member-consumer-owned genuine cooperatives to rectify five decades of social wrong committed against the 11 million MCOs throughout the country.
He is against the establishment of coal-fired powered plants and supported the creation of One Mindanao Energy Federation Cooperative for the Mindanawons to be empowered to control power generation and not the multi-national corporations.
His advocacy is that electricity is a means to life and it must be owned, managed and controlled by the members themselves. That for him is the DNA of the cooperatives which is value-based, members-owned, and sustainable anchored on the principle of prosperity for all and no one shall be left behind.
He is a humble, calm but passionate leader whose vision to advance ecological integrity, social justice and equity has indeed come of age. A transformative leader for people, planet, prosperity and peace. He is called RU –Reynaldo Umali, the one to lead in making life better for the poor and the oppressed, all for the greater glory of God.
Indeed, a strong army can conquer a kingdom but the strongest army in the world cannot stop an idea, a great leader –Mr. Reynaldo Umali – who is a strong countervailing force against climate change, whose time has indeed come during these most challenging times.