Today, we celebrate World Wide Life Conservation Day. Never in the history of our world have human beings been working together to avert a global catastrophe, as we now try to save our wildlife, our forests, our ecosystem, which are threatened by climate change.
In many parts of the world, this is a real-life crisis. Asia and the Pacific bears the brunt as it accounts for more than 80 percent of the global loss of lives of both human and animals due to disasters which are mainly man-made.
To quote Black Elk, the Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux, “One should pay attention to even the smallest crawly creature for these too may have a valuable lesson to teach us.” I absolutely agree with this wise advice of the sage as the Native Americans have long been acknowledged as keepers of the land with special focus on animals.
In the Philippines, disaster risks abound as it is an archipelago located in the western edge of the Pacific Ocean and directly situated within the Ring of Fire as we constantly face the risks of typhoons, drought, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Today, because of climate change, we humans and animals are confronted with weather changes in extremes. A change which is so unpredictable that it confuses and affects both human beings and wildlife in general.
Around the world, we realize the clear injustice for us to be victims and witness to the devastating impact of climate change being borne by the poorest groups with the least responsibility for having caused it and the least capacity to adapt due to ignorance and worst bad practices that have become endemic to their way of life. I strongly believe that industrialized countries must compensate for this inequality as our governments around the world commit deep cuts in their greenhouse emissions and support adaptation programs in vulnerable poor countries.
We need to challenge world leaders and decision makers from regional to local levels to redefine development. A kind of redevelopment that transcends traditional and economic benchmarks like GDP, the kind that values the social, cultural, and natural capital of countries; and the kind founded on sustainability and socio-economic progress, ecosystem protection, cultural resilience and good governance.
We can, altogether, relive, challenge and strengthen the humanitarian spirit within us that wants to change the world and make it a livable, environmentally sound and better world to live in.
While we are gifted with intelligence, innate goodness, practical knowledge, insight and power of the human will, we have to work hard and be united to reverse the onslaught to life, as we try to usher in the surge of forested mountains, verdant hills, clean air, clean rivers, gurgling brooks, powerful waterfalls, animals frolicking in the forests as the birds chirp in song and the fishes gracefully swim in the waters towards a safe future which we owe the next generations.
Let it be said that during our lifetime, we did our share and maybe, just maybe, with prayers, hard work, political will and focused determination, we will make a small difference.
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