Promises, promises

Make no mistake about it, the coming year 2019 will be filled and fraught with promises, promises. A better environment, a better world, a better life — that’s what we’ll be hearing much of the time when the year begins.

Not that we wish none of these will be feasted upon us one more time. Oh, how we love being thrilled no end just to hear magical words that will make us better than the best, better than the rest. In an election year such as 2019, everything gets out from impassioned hearts, let loose upon listening minds that want nothing than the best there is for what life has been all this time.

The fact is, we have actually been hearing all that since last month, when aspirants let out their vaunted promises as if tomorrow is redemption day for the environment. The fact is everything worse took place with impunity, hurling much of Mankind’s fate very well on a tough road ahead. The fastending year, 2018, has been nothing but a roller-coaster of 365 days marked more by further inaction by our leaders on the relentless damage to the environment.

Polluting toxic gas emissions went on, largely brought about by unrelenting ejection into the global atmosphere of what’s bad for Mother Earth, causing widespread weather systems that seemed to have gone haywire. Super-hurricanes unparalleled in strength, mighty earthquakes of greater ferocity, wildfires unprecedented in deadliness, weather events that pack fierce winds and heavily cascading torrents of rainwater — all these took place without mercy.

As these went on, leaders and peoples seemed hardly unmoved, remorseless, petrified into inaction perhaps more out of reckless nonchalance than plan insensitivity. Scores have died, simply because they were in harm’s way when the onslaught came, more like being at the wrong place even for the right reason. Lessons would appear to have gone unheard and unheeded.

Hapless our geographical circumstance may be, our archipelagic country have been having its share of lethal environmental events without peer in recent memory. Just two months back, disaster struck in our mountain communities, here up north and there down south.  Two typhoons just days apart ran roughshod over vulnerable places, inflicting fatalities like no other, leaving a wide swath of devastation that made poor communities even poorer, catching governments and people completely flabbergasted.

It is indeed sad, very sad that compatriots would lose kin and possessions in an instant of suddenness brought about by disrespecting environmental fury. It’s even more disappointing that government officials, national and local, just take turns blaming each other for nature’s deadly outburst as if lives would be restored and properties regained when much blame is shed towards the other. It’s simply appalling to even hear that what’s happening is just Mother Earth reacting that way because that behavior is just what she has been throughout the centuries.

No sirs, it’s been behaving all that because mankind has not been resolute enough, determined enough, assertive enough, active enough to halt the continued depredation running across centuries. Call it if you will, but please learn lessons from the past, to have a firm grasp of the future that you’re feverishly agitated over.

While time is on our side, let our collective hopes firm up for environmental issues — so adroitly woven in the rhetoric and even more maneuvered into nothingness — to be forcefully addressed by aspirants now all over each other in wild abandon. Time may be thinning out, but collectively nations and peoples around the world can still bring about radical stout-hearted changes, for industries and automobiles to be responsibly environment-compliant, for clean alternative sources of energy to be in full maximum use if only to mitigate the misbehaving ways that Mother Nature has been doing in recent times.

Yes, as Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Director, sternly warned, “the thermometer of risk is rising, the window of opportunity is closing.”  She has all reasons to sound grim of so gruesome an outlook. After all, not much progress has been attained to arrest greenhouse gas emissions to safe, livable levels. Since the Paris global accord has been forged three years ago, purposely for global efforts to bring down emission levels, not much success had been accomplished, from country to country, despite iron-clad pledges to abate the bombardment of the earth’s atmosphere of gases burned from fossil fuels. We just went on our greedy and wicked ways, simply because the business of gassing up is good for everybody’s business.

As we gird up for another year of promises and more of these, it is time to ring out the wicked ways of life. At year’s start, it is time to ring in fresh initiatives to give Mother Earth the overdue reprieve from the global havoc we have been inflicting all these merry-making years of our life. We can demand from our aspirants a clearly laid out plan to respect, preserve, conserve, nurture, and regenerate our dwindling environmental assets. Certainly, simple avowals should never be taken as basis for action. Let details back up promises the way they should in clear, simple, coherent terms coming from pure hearts and clean minds. After all, purity and cleanliness are hallmarks of sincerity worth anyone’s trust.

Otherwise, time will simply run out on us.

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