THE theme for World Environment Day, "Protect Nature, Sustain Our Future," was also adopted as the theme for the On-the-Spot essay writing contest of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional (MGB) Office No. XII in Koronadal City, South Cotabato.

The contest is part of the activities lined up by MGB XII in celebration of June as Philippine Environment Month.

For this missive, I am featuring two essays that were adjudged as Champion and 1st Runner-up, respectively.

Enjoy reading and congratulations to this year's champion: Community Affairs Officer II Jose Alvaro Batilaran and the 1st runner-up: Supervising Geologist Princess Danielle Matas.

"Nature is a gift from GOD. It is the constant provider of our needs; it is a testament to the beauty of life; and it is also a source of inspiration. Since time immemorial, nature has endowed mankind with its fruits, its minerals, and its wonders. Man has sown, reaped, and ventured into distant and undiscovered lands in pursuit of development and industry. Eventually, man forged technology. The development of new technology has allowed man to achieve greater heights never thought possible before. In man's ambition to CREATE more, man has eventually DESTROYED. The challenge of making life 'convenient' has cost us more than we can afford. Nature, the earth, is our home. If we do not protect it, we may not have one anymore. This is why, as much as we pursue development, we should also pursue conservation. There should be a balance in our efforts and a limit to what we consume.

The nation's foremost authority on the environment, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources envisions our country as "a nation enjoying and sustaining its natural resources and a clean and healthy environment."

All of us should be on board with this proposition as the earth is not the responsibility of one person or one agency alone. If nature dies, we die with it. And so, it should be our daily endeavor to protect nature and sustain our future. This "future" refers not only to tomorrow but to as many tomorrows that we can get. It is as much a challenge to all of us, as it is our goal so that our generation and many more generations to come will have a home." (Jong Batilaran)


"The earth is blessed with the God-given gift of nature. We have the marvels of clear blue sky, the crystal river water, the vast ocean where fishes swim, the rich-soil where the plant grows, the mountains and volcanoes, and the animals in the land, among others. The services that these things have been providing humanity are indeed undeniable. We depend largely on these resources, from the water we drink, the air we breathe, the land we live on, and most importantly, the food we eat. However, despite the abundance, we are currently on the question of its sustainability. Sustainability means protecting nature toward intergenerational equity.

Humanity's mishaps due to rapid population growth, mismanagement, greed, and abuse to nature brought us to several sustainability crises. These in effect resulted in a lot of environmental issues such as landslide caused by the extensive cutting of trees in the mountains, flooding due to poor land-use planning and urban sprawling, contamination of our water resources due to improper waste handling and disposal, air pollution due to massive carbon dioxide production such as from different industries, and vehicle emission.

These things are evident in our country. Indeed, without environmental intervention, these resources we fully enjoy today might be depleted in the future. The sad truth is, we have created our thoughts of destruction.

According to my graduate professor, indeed, we have the strongest environmental laws among other Southeast Asian countries. We have for example RA 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, RA 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act, and RA 8749, or the Philippine Clean Air Act.

What probably goes wrong? Sadly, garbage is being thrown everywhere, groundwater resources, particularly in Megacities such as Davao, Cebu, Iloilo, and Metro Manila, are contaminated and overly-used. Air quality has deteriorated. That's enough to say that no matter how the government enforces these laws if we lack the heart to protect our mother nature, we might deprive the future children of their right to enjoy God's wonder. We should be the most accountable in providing the constancy of the supply and demand of our natural resources.

However, it's never too late to act now, we can help sustain nature in our simple means. Individually, we can preserve water by realizing that every drop counts. Rain harvesting can be a good practice. Encourage proper waste disposal and segregation by practicing 5R's principle: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, and Residual management. Promote the use of bicycles instead of cars to lessen the carbon footprint in the environment.

Participate in government's efforts such as tree planting and adopt a tree program, and involve various environmental activities and be educated in environmental laws. Of course, it would be better to influence this advocacy within your circle, to our family members and friends. We should emphasize that as much as we depend on nature for our living, our nature needs our heartfelt safeguarding acts for the welfare of future children. Indeed, altogether, let us protect nature to sustain the future." (Cess Matas).


"We are the last generation with a real opportunity to save the world." -- Laurence Overmire

"If civilization is to survive, it must live on the interest, not the capital, of nature." -- Ronald Wright

"Environment isn't asking us to conserve her for her but for our future generations." -- Mohith Agadi