ANOTHER year ended, another now upon us.
For all that happened last year — and for that matter since way, way back — everything worse took place, placing much of Mankind’s fate very well on a tough road ahead. Another progressive year, it might be claimed, but it’s been a roller-coaster of 365 days marked more by further damage to the environment, largely brought about by unrelenting ejection into the global atmosphere of polluting toxic gas emissions. Super-hurricanes unparalleled in strength, mighty earthquakes of greater ferocity, weather disturbances that pack fierce winds and heavily cascading torrents of rainwater — all these took place unrelentingly.
Hapless our geographical circumstance may be, our archipelagic country had its share of environmental events without peer in recent memory. December 2017 for instance was a disaster-stricken month, disrespectful in a way to the season’s merry-making and reverend mood. Two typhoons just days apart ran roughshod over northern Mindanao and central Visayas, inflicting fatalities like no other, leaving a wide swath of devastation that caught governments and people completely flabbergasted. Why in December, of all months? Why amid the revelry of homecomings and reunions that bonded together families dismembered for long?
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, took turns blaming each other for nature’s December outburst as if lives would be restored and properties regained in a blameless setting. It’s clearly Mother Earth simply reacting the way it’s been behaving all because mankind has not been resolute enough, determined enough, assertive enough, active enough to halt the continued depredation running across centuries.
So we welcome a new year with fresh resolve, with hardening hopes that environmental issues would be forcefully addressed this time. Time is clearly not on our side, but collectively nations and peoples around the world can bring about radical stout-hearted changes and make industries and automobiles be more environment-compliant, if only to mitigate the misbehaving ways that Mother Nature has been acting up in recent times.
Before the year ended, we had a glimpse of what world leaders (excluding the American Wonder) and environmental advocates were setting to do in their last serious gathering for the 23rd annual Conference on Climate Change. As Patricia Espinosa, UN Climate Change Executive Director, sternly warned, “the thermometer of risk is rising, the window of opportunity is closing.”
Yes, not much progress has been attained to arrest greenhouse gas emissions to safe, livable levels. Since the Paris global accord has been forged two 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.
This must be the year when we ought to be casting aside from activities that worsen the continuing folly of our everyday activities, from the machines that we hum to the engine that we rev up on the road. All that we need to do is to go for clean energy and get to manage life as well-resolved as possible. All that we must do is to get going with our life freed from the clutches of dirty energy, especially at this time when alternative energy sources a lot more desirable for the environment are just waiting to be utilized. All that those of us with affordable resources should be doing is to plough more money into these new energy sources, if not dis-invest from traditional coal-sourced fuels.
At year’s end, 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.
Mankind, time’s up.