Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Rope That Ties Our Hands Behind Our Backs

by Antonio C. Antonio
July 24, 2014

An environmental advocacy is arguably one of the toughest advocacies in modern time.  The fact that these are “modern” times immediately states the problem.  Modernization played, still plays and will continue to play, a critical role in present-day and future environmental problems.  Whatever level of modernization any country has achieved so far had a lot to do with that country’s utilization of its natural resources.  Environmental degradation is somewhat curbed in countries that found ways to make their use of natural resources sustainable.  The rest are now experiencing dire ecological problems such as deforestation, soil degradation, air and water pollution and, in some extreme cases, desertification.

Natural resources depletion is, more often than not, caused by efforts by countries to modernize which normally equates to industrialization.  It seemingly becomes necessary to use natural resources in the name of economic development… we don’t have any quarrel with this strategy.  Progress and economic development is a must for us to cope with the demands of our ever-changing socio-economic landscape.  However, there should be a relentless and conscious effort to assess the degree of utilization as opposed to preservation or conservation.  So long as natural resources are replenished and the replenishment quantity is always more that what we utilize, we could use whatever is the resultant balance or surplus.

There is another critical concern that we should also be worried and conscious about… the fact that natural resources are either renewable or non-renewable.  Although all forms of natural resources (renewable or non-renewable) should be treated with equal concern, more diligence will have to be exercised when it comes to non-renewable resources because of their finite nature.

Caring for the environment should be everybody’s concern… not only that of government.  However, government, more than ordinary citizens, has the necessary authority and police power to enforce environmental laws, rules and regulations.  The worst case scenario is when government, by its own incompetence, inefficiency and neglect, becomes the primary cause and catalyst of our environmental malaise.  Confusing public policies in the upland, unrestricted land use conversion, failed reforestation programs, ill-effective anti-illegal logging and mining campaigns, unregulated mining sprees, selective or non-implementation of existing environmental laws, ineffective rules and regulations, graft and corruption, too much politics (that sacrifices effective governance), and misfits in government service are but a few of the compelling reasons that exposes our natural resources to misuse and abuse.

Civil society (to include pro-environment advocates like the Pro EARTH Crusaders), the religious sector, the business sector, the academe, etc. are hard-pressed and become pathetically helpless when government refuses to acknowledge the problems being presented and brought to their attention.  No matter how passionate ordinary citizens are about their environmental concerns, nothing dramatically positive happens… especially when government literally becomes the rope that ties our hands behind our backs.

Just my little thoughts…

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