PROMISES, here and there, are what we hear today in many campaigns done by national and local candidates. These are surely made to be broken. I do not believe in promises but in what a person had done in the past. We hear people promising “heaven and earth” just to get our precious shade on the ballot. Some incumbent candidates are still making promises for they had done nothing during their term. They always say that it is because of the nature of the position they are in that they have done little. Some keep quiet and do their jobs just to work for the common good. We are reminded by Buddha that shallow water is noisy but deep water is silent and calm. We need to learn more from nature.

Our students are told that one of the values they must learn from school is being Makakalikasan. They have to be guardians of the environment. They have to take care of the environment for future generations. The children should be the ones to possess these values. So how about the adults who are supposed to be the models for these young people? Do we understand the values of Makakalikasan even for this election period alone?

What great escape adults do. We are often reminded that in the eyes of the young, the evil, we do, becomes good for them. This is our duty of modeling good values for the young. We are always blaming young people for being imprudent, irresponsible, and uncaring for the environment. We often say that we are indifferent to environmental issues. While we tell them these, what are we doing?

Makakalikasan means sustainability. We are now experiencing an unsustainable future. We lack a good water supply. Our food supply is also decreasing. Human settlements have destroyed the balance of nature. Diseases from unknown sources are now lurking in every corner of the globe. Unethical Environmental experiments and researchers continue to kill life forms. Mother Earth is no longer capable of sustaining human life. Again, we are promised a brighter and better future. Where?

The adults, in the Philippines today, have surrendered their being guardians of the environment. We are destroying the future. Today, we exchange the future of our children with the use of plastic and plastic-based campaign materials (tarpaulin, turpentine-based cheap paints); rubber-based campaign posters which are nailed on century-old trees; trash, plastic bottles, styro cups and containers, plastic bags used as give-aways during campaigns; sound pollution from the noisy sound systems during campanya a la Concierto; and degradation of soil and killing off plants in the campaign areas and the worst pollution is urine. Do we call these “leaders” responsible? They are liars and they do not know what is to be Makakalikasan!

What I pity most are the politicians who claim to be Makakalikasan or who work for sustainable development. Some are true to their commitment to the future but many are just using the issue. These are the ones who should not be given a seat in our government. They talk about exoticism and romanticism in their sorties. They make the world seem to need them for protection. They capitalize on the issue of the environment to move forward. Not only among the ranks of politicians, but we also have those in civil society. They make lots of money out of their cry for the environment. We have to be very careful with these people. They are using the environmental issue to fatten their bellies and pickets. I heard from one environmentalist that the global advocacy to save mother Earth is a lucrative business that made many millionaires and even leaders of great nations.

When we work for Mother Earth, we need to be genuine and must be out of our love for Mother Earth and never be tainted with our selfish interests and our security. Mother Earth knows our hearts and our intentions, we need not publicize.

We need to have leaders who love Mother Earth and future generations. We do not need promises but we need action and performance for our future.