Ravanera: Regaining back ecological integrity

IT HAS been said that love is the supreme force in the universe that commands all obedience and when love beacons, the kindred must come together exemplifying another universal law which is like attracts like. That calling of the kindred in spirit who ate championing the cause of Mother Earth is manifested today in a convergence called Sustainable Agriculture Summit in Grand Caprice, Cagayan de Oro which brings together leaders of the ecological people, the Higaonons and Talaandigs, from the hinterlands of Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon and cooperative leaders who are championing sustainable agriculture that trusts in the innate processes of nature.

No less than the Chief Executive Officer of the Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives (NSCC) will come together with champions of organic farming from Da Feng Yu Philippines headed by the Chief Operating Officer Mr. Jason Umali to showcase success stories of organic farming that is now scaling the heights to debunk conventional agriculture. Mr. Jose Ebron, former Chief of Staff of Coop NATCCO Partylist in Congress, who is now championing the cause of the Asian Farmers Association (AFA) in Asia and the Pacific, will share his expertise in effecting paradigm shift where the farmers will regain back control of farming and not the trans-national corporations whose farming methods are chemicals-based. Mr. Ronnie Ravanera, the national president of the Federation of Farmers’ Cooperatives in the Philippines and a foremost ecological advocate will present the farmers’ empowerment roadmap.

Regaining back the lost ecological integrity cannot be had unless the ecological people are spiritually conscienticized to protect God’s vanishing creation. To share his 25-year spiritual work with the Indigenous People, Pastor Noli Garvida will share his pastoral work showing casing how the Christ, the Livingstone Fellowship has mobilized the high spiritual consciousness of the Higaonons organizing some 14 Churches that amazingly preserve the remaining forest in the hinterlands of Cagayan de Oro going courageously against the onslaught of illegal logging and mining.

Amidst the darkness of unbridled materialism and consumerism that is only successful in sacrificing mother Earth and the people to the altar of greed and profit in a contemporaneous economic paradigm of the growth-at-all-cost development strategy, a light is now looming in the horizon where love has beaconed the kindred to do a trail-blazing move of regaining back ecological integrity and security.

After losing the 17 million hectares of dipterocarp forest which saw the relentless massacre of all life forms – the endemic flora and fauna - that dwelt in the forest ecosystems for billions of years – that love force has now passionately motivated the cooperatives and the ecological people to come together to become a leading edge what we believe is the highest form of worship – to protect God’s vanishing creation.

We must remember that a hundred years ago, the Philippines was the richest on earth per unit area. In a 4,000-hectare Mt. Makiling, the number of flora and fauna is far greater in number compared to what is found in one billion-hectare North American Continent. But the ecological wealth does not end at the shoreline as the Philippine Archipelago has been described before as the “Center of the center of marine life on earth” by the UN-FAO.

Indeed, we did not just lose our ecological wealth. Our forest ecosystems were replaced by vast plantations, planted with fruits such as banana, pine-apple, papaya and monocrops to satisfy the consumerist lifestyle of the people in the North oozing with obesity. Our vast tracts of lands have been addicted to toxic chemicals. The 200,000 hectares of plantations in Mindanao are heavily using toxic non-biodegradable fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides that as if we are dumping to our watersheds, rivers and bays some 2,000 dump trucks of these poisonous chemicals every day. Based on our research, of the 14 chemicals, 8 are already banned in other countries. This could be the reason why so many of the babies are now being born without fingers or arms.

Our ecological people are now suffering the brunt of a kind of farming that only benefits the fertilizer and chemical dealers, usurers and compradors. Indeed, food comes from their farms yet their dining tables fall short of food. According to the data of the Food and Nutrition Institute, 30 percent of our children are malnourished, 28 percent underweight and 27 percent stunted.

Today, we are giving notice to one and all: enough is enough. Mother Earth is in pain. Her lungs (the forests) are gone, her blood is toxic as 10 of the 13 major bays in the Philippines are biologically dead, her veins (the rivers) are dead and her hair (the ozone layer) has been scalped.

This gathering of the kindred is shouting: We love you Gaia and that supreme force will now effect the much needed paradigm shift. JOIN US!
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