Earth and the maddening mankind

Anthony Chua

On April 22, different countries around the world, including the Philippines and the United States, celebrate Earth Day. Millions of people worldwide will take part in this one day event, making it the “largest secular holiday in the world” according to Earth Day Network.

It’s about time that we, ordinary “earthlings,” involve ourselves in the global campaign of environmentalists and governments to salvage our much molested planet. Let’s admit it, majority of us, especially urban dwellers, are culprits. From the smallest paper that we indiscriminately waste to the toxic fumes that our cars and vehicles emit, we contribute to the deterioration of Mother Earth.

We attribute scientific and technological progress as causes to environmental destruction. However these same causes can also be used to save earth from wearing away. Humans are adaptive and smart enough to solve environmental problems, IF our minds are prudent, sober and sane. Here is where the real problem lies.

Humans are endowed with highly sophisticated brains designed to solve almost all our problems. Yet, on the other hand, we also have the tendency to use our minds to create more problems because of our desire for power, fame, and wealth. These bestial instincts of ours, if left untamed, can intoxicate our minds to devise solutions without any regard to their destructive repercussions.

A case in point: global food crisis. Jean Ziegler, UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food and Philippine Department of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap pointed planting of crops used for biofuels production instead of rice and wheat as a major reason for the current food crisis. The editorial of Philippine Daily Inquirer last April 16 titled “Crippling shortage” even mentioned Zeigler’s quote from his interview in a German radio program, “Producing biofuels today is a crime against humanity.”

Not only are our staples being sacrificed in place of biofuels. Millions of forests all around the globe are converted into “green” gas plantations, annihilating thousands of animal and plant species that took millenniums to thrive.

The presumed solution to environmental woes is, in reality, worsening it further. What’s more, the said environmental solution makes the poor in many parts of the world starving and enraged.

Earth Day 2008 serves as a reminder of the blunders and perils that mankind has made to our planet, an event that would reassess our values towards our lone home—the planet earth.

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