Thursday, July 30, 2015

Upland Resources Valuation Methods

by Anton Antonio
July 9, 2015

There are many unique and peculiar characteristics of the different upland resources which make them relatively hard to valuate.  Identifying a single valuation method to use will most likely result to accuracy in one specific resource but erroneous results for the rest.  It should also be noted that upland resources could also be in the form of intangible services from nature making valuation more challenging.

There are several valuation methods that can be used in combination to come up with a more accurate valuation.  These are…
  1. Income Valuation – The income approach is one of three major groups of methodologies, called valuation approaches, used by appraisers.  It is particularly common in commercial real estate appraisal and in business appraisal.  The fundamental mathematics is similar to the methods used for financial valuation, securities analysis, or bond pricing.  However, there are some significant and important modifications when used in real estate or business valuation.
  2. Cost Valuation – In real estate appraisal, the cost approach is one of three basic valuation methods.  The others are market approach, or sales comparison approach, and income approach.  The fundamental premise of the coast approach is that a potential user of real estate would not, or should not, pay more for a property than it would cost to build an equivalent.  The cost of construction minus depreciation, plus land, therefore is a limit, or at least a metric, of market value.
  3. Stumpage Valuation – A simplified net present value method where the value of the stock is obtained by multiplying the current volume of standing timber by its stumpage price, assuming the rate of discount is equal to the natural growth rate.  Stumpage is the price a private firm pays for the right to harvest timber from a given land base.  It is paid to the current owner of the land.  Historically, the price is determined on the basis of the number of trees harvested, or per stump.  Currently it is dictated by more standard measurements such as cubic meters, board feet, or tons.  To determine stumpage, any stand that will be harvested by the firm is first assessed and appraised through processes aimed at finding the volume of timber that is to be harvested.  A given stumpage rate, measured in amount per volume, is then applied to the amount of timber to be harvested.  The firm will then pay this price to the landowner.
  4. Net Present Value – In finance, the net present value is defined as the sum of the present values of incoming and outgoing cash flows over a period of time.  Incoming and outgoing cash flows can also be described as benefit and cost cash flows, respectively.  Net present value is also defined as the sum of the present values of incoming and outgoing cash flows over a period of time.
  5. Soil Expectation Value – Land expectation value is a standard valuation technique applied to many timberland situations.  Land expectation value calculates the value of bare land in perpetual timber production and is often used to valuate even-aged timber plantations.
  6. Travel Cost Method – The basic premise of the travel cost method is that the time and travel cost expenses that people incur to visit a site represent the price of access to the site.  Therefore, the willingness of people to pay to visit the site can be estimated based on the number of trips that they make at different travel costs.  This is analogous to estimating the willingness of people to pay for a marketed good or service based on the quantity demanded at different prices.
  7. Contingent Valuation Method – The contingent valuation method is a simple, flexible non-market valuation method that is widely used in cost-benefit analysis and environmental impact assessment and environmental impact statement.

Again, a combination of these methods will give better results than choosing to use only one of these upland resources valuation methods.

Just my little thoughts…

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Cruz, C. A. and Calderon, M. M. (2000). “Economics of Upland Resources”. University of the Philippines Open University, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Canadian Garbage Mess (Update)

by Anton Antonio
July 29, 2015

“Strike while the iron is hot.”… is an adage the still applies today.  My late father even added:  “You can keep the iron hot by striking it.”  So how do we relate the “iron” in these statements to our present situation?... the Canadian garbage mess.

Most people are under the impression that the Canadian garbage mess will be history and forgotten in no time.  Perhaps they do not have the slightest idea on the passion, commitment and resolve present-day pro-environment advocates and activist have.  Please read the following news reports published just recently:


Manila, Philippines – If the Philippine and Canadian governments won’t do anything about the illegal Canada waste being dumped into Philippine landfills, perhaps and international body will.  This is the hope of Philippine environmental group BAN Toxics who has formally asked the international Basel Convention to intervene.  The international Basel Action Network and BAN Toxics have submitted a formal letter to the Secretariat of the Basel Convention to begin proceedings on Canada’s refusal to fulfil its obligations to the Convention.  Canada is a signatory to the international agreement and is thus bound to its rules.  The Basel Convention, to which 53 countries are signatories, is an international treaty to control the movement of hazardous waste between nations, specifically the transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries.  “BAN and Ban Toxics, in their letter to Basel Convention Executive Secretary Dr. Rolph Payet, assert that as household wastes are a Basel Convention Annex II waste, Canada is bound to strictly control export,” reads a press release sent on July 28.  Asking the Basel Convention Secretariat to intervene has been the suggestion of many lawmakers, including former International Criminal Court judge senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.  Two years after the first 50 container vans of Canada garbage arrives in the Manila port, the Philippine government has agreed with Canada’s terms to dump the waste in local sanitary landfills.  Forty-eight more container vans were found in the Manila port last May bringing the total number of vans to 98.  Environmentalists decided to take matters into their own hands after being disappointed by government action.  “We know that the Philippine government has been pressured by Canada not to put up a fuss.  So our government is not going to file a non-compliance brief,” said Ban Toxics Executive Director Richard Gutierrez.  In their letter, the groups ask the Secretariat to bring the case to a special committee within the Convention that handles cases of non-compliance.  Under the treaty, only the governments of the countries involved and the Secretariat can bring cases to the committee.  IN the Convention test, the Secretariat is mandated to “assist Parties upon request in their identification of cases of illegal traffic and to circulate immediately to the Parties concerned any information it has received regarding illegal traffic.”  “Cases like this require the Secretariat to act,” said Gutierrez.  “If this gross non-compliance is simply swept under the carpet, the Basel Convention and indeed all international laws becomes but a sad joke.”  The issue has sparked outrage among other nationals, not least Canadian citizens themselves.  Jim Puckett, Executive Director of the US-based Basel Action Network said, “Canada has admitted to us, that it has failed to properly implement the Basel Convention.  This means that they are not in compliance and that has resulted in significant economic and potential environmental harm to the Philippines.”  Both the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Canadian embassy insist the garbage is neither toxic nor hazardous and thus not covered by the Convention.  When the Bureau of Customs inspected some of the container vans, they said they found mixed and unsorted plastic, household garbage, and used adult diapers.  The container vans had been misdeclared as containing recyclable plastic scrap materials, a crime under the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines and the Toxic Substance and Hazardous Wastes and Nuclear Wastes Control Acts of 1990.  But even if the garbage is not hazardous, household waste still falls under Article 9 of the Convention which deals with illegal traffic.  “Any transboundary movement of hazardous waste or other wastes… with consent obtained from States concerned through falsification, misrepresentation or fraud… shall be deemed to be illegal traffic,” reads the treaty.  If the illegal traffic is due to the conduct of the exporter, in this case Chronis Incorporated and Live Green Enterprises, it is Canada’s responsibility to ensure the wastes are taken back by the two firms “or, if necessary, by itself into the State of export” unless “impracticable.”  Article 4 also states that the obligation to manage both hazardous and other wastes in an environmentally sound manner “may not under any circumstances be transferred to the States of import or transit.”  The Philippine government has files charges against the Philippine importer of the first 50 container vans.  Canada has said it has “no domestic or international authority” to compel Chronic Inc and Live Green Enterprises to return the waste to Canada.  The contents of 26 container vans have already been dumped at the Metro Clark Waste Management Corporation in Capas, Tarlac as of July 22, according to BOC.  Five are at the Manila International Container Port while 16 are at the SBMA Port of Subic.  The Tarlac provincial government ordered the dumping to be stopped pending a local inquiry and more thorough study of the garbage’s impact to health and environment.  Both houses of Congress have files resolutions to investigate the issue.  Senator Santiago opposes the decision of the Philippine government to allow the dumping in its own soil saying it “sets a dangerous precedent for other countries to dump their waste in Philippine soil with impunity.” ---


CITY OF SAN FERNANDO (US) – Basel Action Network (BAN) based in Seattle, Washington, on Monday asked the secretariat of the United Nations on the Basel Convention to file a case against Canada following the dumping of 26 container vans of waste in a sanitary landfill in Capas, Tarlac.  Jim Puckett, BAN executive director, proposed legal action on behalf of its Philippine partner BAN Toxics, by filing an official notification of noncompliance by Canada with the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.  The notice was contained in Puckett’s July 27 letter to Dr. Rolph Payet, Basel Convention executive secretary.  The Philippines and Canada signed the convention which was adopted on March 22, 1989, in Base, Switzerland, and enforced beginning 1992.  The United Nations Environmental Program is a partner in implementing the convention.  The convention’s website said the agreement was “in response to a public outcry following the discovery, in the 1980s, in Africa and other parts of the developing world of deposits of toxic wastes imported from abroad.”  Puckett said the convention is “at risk if we do not respond to one of the most well-publicized, egregious and unresolved cases we have seen in recent years.”  “We ask that the secretariat take up this case and utilize the mechanism [for promoting implementation and compliance with the Basel Convention] as it was intended to be used,” he said.  The Bureau of Customs (BOC) seized 103 container vans that an importer, identified as Jim Makris, brought in several batches since May 2013 because these were misdeclared to be containing “scrap materials.”  The container vans were consigned to Valenzuela City-based Chronic Plastics.  The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) reported three of 55 container vans to be packed with “municipal solid wastes.”  BOC was ordered by a Manila Regional Trial Court in April to dispose of the wastes in 34 container vans and return the empty vans to the owner, Zim, through its local agent, Le Soleil.  BOC chose to use the landfill of the Metro Clark Waste Management Corp. (MCWMC) in Sitio Kalangitan in Capas town.  Canadian Ambassador Neil Reeder said in June 2014 that Canada had no domestic or international authority to compel the shipper to return the shipment to his country.  Also on Monday, Clark Development Corp. (CDC), MCWMC and Tarlac Vice Gov. Enrique Cojuangco Jr. turned down the proposal of Gov. Victor Yap to pay P1 million to MCWMC to remove the Canadian trash in the landfill and return these to BOC.  “Talks about donation or payment is immaterial, to say the least, because [the Tarlac provincial government] has prohibited the disposal of foreign wastes,” said Arthur Tugade, CDC president and chief executive officer.  CDC, tasked by law to convert Clark, a former United States military air base, into civilian use, owns the property where Kalangitan landfill operates.  Yap offered to pay P1 million in a letter to Tugade on July 22.  Tugade said Tarlac officials and residents need not worry about further dumping of Canadian trash because MCWMC had installed additional duplicate locks on eight container vans that BOC delivered on July 15.  BOC had not sent more containers.  Rufo Colayco, MCWMC president and chief executive officer, said Yap’s offer was unnecessary.  “Maraming salamat ho (Thank you).  We are not after the money.  What is important is we do what is right and that means agreeing to the request of BOC to dispose of the garbage and disinfect the container [vans],” he said.  “We respect the decision of Tarlac officials not to accept wastes of foreign origin,” he added.  Cojuangco disagreed with paying MCWMC.  “I think it’s wrong to be paying them when we should be suing parties involved.  The Senate should investigate the incident [because] the violations [are] greater than the realm of local government scope,” he said. ---

“Ningas cogon” is the pervasive rot that weakens Filipino resolve.  “Ningas cogon” is defined as the attitude when something is started with interest and enthusiasm, then after a very short time, interest is suddenly lost leaving things incomplete or unfinished; like a cogon grass fire burning out quickly.  I just hope and pray that this will not be the fate of the Canadian garbage mess.

Just my little thoughts…

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Philippine Electoral Stupidity

by Anton Antonio
July 28, 2015

It was shocking for me to see this item on my Facebook newsfeed at first.  It was “shared” by a netizen, perhaps, unwittingly.  (To read the entire article, please click on this link:  But “critical thinking” (the mindset of a true Iskolar ng Bayan) automatically kicked-in and a deeper analysis of things was the next order of business.  Further research brought me to another link ( that bared the truth.

The internet, together with other social media platforms, has provided too much latitude for free expression of ideas and a venue to spread news.  There really nothing wrong with this.  However, social media, in unique instances like this, can also be used and manipulated by some people to pursue their own selfish agenda.  In this case, perhaps a political agenda that ended up to be nothing less than an insult to the Filipino people.  There are also some people who have mastered the art of misdirection.  I may agree or disagree with the contents of the article but it would no longer matter since the message was pathetically lost simply because of the deceptive methodology used.  More importantly though this practice of black propaganda should stop.

Sen. Nancy Binay should be respected because she was legitimately elected… she is now a senator and that’s just about it.  But please don’t get me wrong.  I used to be the Committee Secretary for the Philippine Senate Committee for Government Corporations and Public Enterprises and had extensive working relationships with some former Senators of our Republic… so I fairly know what it takes to be an ideal senator.  After rubbing elbows with honorable and noble senators in the past, I must say that I am not particularly impressed by Sen. Binay.  But I must, as a loyal citizen of this republic, respect the will of the Filipino people in electing her as such.  And, lastly, I detest this mockery of my race in a hoaxical article that talked about Philippine electoral stupidity.

Just my little thoughts…

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REFERENCES:, (2013).  Retrieved on July 28, 2015 from

Note:  I have decided to re-print the contents of these links below for your convenience.


Philippines Named ‘Most Stupid Country to Elect a 20-Year OJT as a Senator’ by Time Magazine
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has been named as Time’s “Most STUPID Country to Elect a 20-Year OJT as a Senator”.  “The overwhelming victory of a self-professed on-the-job trainee-cum-Senator in the recently held election in the Philippines cemented the country’s fate,” wrote Time’s news director Marilou C. Martin.  She added, “Falling for the diversionary tactics of an inexperienced candidate that saw her steer the issue away from her credibility to her skin complexion to make herself look like the underdog; gave us no choice but to bestow such title to a country, who was destined for greatness before the elections.”  “And yes, we intentionally all-capped the word stupid for added emphasis,” according to Martin.  Time gave special attention to the country’s 11,789,643 registered voters (as of press time) who voted for Nancy Binay, as contributing to the country’s “overall stupidity rating index”.  “These are probably the same 11,289,648 people who had no access to the internet to witness the criticism their bet received for her lack political background or experience.”  The magazine didn’t wait for Comelec’s final and official number of votes Binay received before coming out with the latest issue saying that, “The amount of gullibility and the unprecedented level of idiocy forced us to go to press immediately.”  The article also noted that the country’s saving grace, namely its recent credit rating upgrade, Manny PacquiaoJessica Sanchez orJada Pinkett-Smith asking for a copy of Jerico Rosales’ film did not help one bit.  “Those are only minor achievements as compared to the repercussions the sheer amount of stupidity the recent actions of the Filipino people entails.”  “It’s these kind of situations that not even Lou Diamond Philips winning the Oscars  or the Philippines winning the next Miss Universe can help with your country’s image,” said Martin.  All is not lost however, according to political analyst Mak Jendoza.  Ladies and gentlemen, your future Mayor, Vice Mayor, President, First Lady, Pope and Vice President.  “Andyan na yan eh, ano pa magagawa natin (She’s already there, what else can we do)?” said Jendoza.  “Siguraduhin nalang natin na hindi na mauulit ito pagdating ng 2016 (We just have to make sure that we shall not repeat this same mistake come 2016).”  “Abe eh kung maging presidente ang tatay nyan at madagdagan pa ng isang kapatid sa Senado sa 2016, baka pati ang United Nations hirangin na din tayong mga inutil (If ever her dad became president and another one of her sibling became a senator in 2016, even the United Nations shall name us stupid),” warned Jendoza.  “I can’t say that I’m proud of this recent ‘achievement’ of our country,” said Johnny Manuel Ebola after learning about the magazine cover. “But at least I’m proud to say that I’m not one of those 11,789,643 nincompoops!”


Pranksters call PHL ‘most stupid country’

Posted on June 4, 2013   // 2 Comments  

Hoaxes come in many ways, but a recent hoax about the Philippines came via the Internet. The hoax is a supposed Time Magazine report that branded our homeland as “the most STUPID country to elect an OJT (on-the-job training) as senator.”  I was seething with anger when I first read the “report”, which was emailed to me from Qatar by my nephew Julian Basamot, Jr. Imagine Time, a well respected international magazine, calling our nation a “most stupid country.” I believe any self-respecting Filipino would have also reacted the way I did.
When I told my son Percy about it, he said the report could be a hoax. This prompted me to verify. It was supposedly the cover story of latest Time issue. The Philippine flag was even made the front-cover background.  I found out later that the cover of the current Time issue was totally different from the one emailed to me. And there was no article about the Philippines in the current issue. It’s clear that the report was the handiwork of pranksters or black propagandists who wanted to make the Philippines a laughing stock.  In my investigation, I also found out that the Philippine Daily Inquirer had fallen victim of a similar hoax: A picture of President Noynoy Aquino with his mouth agape was the supposed cover photo of Time Magazine. The Inquirer wrote a news report about it and even printed the ugly picture. Inquirer editor-in-chief Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc had to issue a public apology after the editors found out that they were taken for a ride.  In the recent prank that I almost swallowed hook, line and sinker, the supposed article slammed the 11 million Filipinos who voted Nancy Binay, who was the OJT referred to in the Time article, for senator. The same fake article stated that the Time editors tagged the Philippines the “most stupid country” after an evaluation of derogatory reports on our country and other countries.  Finding that the supposed Time article was a fake, I felt relieved.
At the same time, though, I was concerned about the impression it caused on people who had read the bogus article. If they did not know it was false, they might have taken it as an accurate Time report. And they might have perceived the Philippines as it was portrayed — “the most stupid country.”

Monday, July 27, 2015

Plastic Roads

by Anton Antonio
July 23, 2015

The “X” and “Y” Generations may no longer be aware of this seemingly trivial fact but bottled soda cases and pallets used to be made of wood.  Now, like so many other usable items, they are made of plastic.

“Plastic is a material consisting of any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organics that are malleable and can be molded into solid objects of diverse shapes.  Plastics are typically organic polymers of high molecular mass, but they often contain substances,  They are usually synthetic, most commonly derived from petrochemicals, but many are partially natural.  Plasticity is the general property of all materials that are able to irreversibly deform without breaking, but this occurs to such a degree with this class of moldable polymers that their name is an emphasis on this ability.  Due to their relatively low cost, ease of manufacture, versatility, and imperviousness to water, plastics are used in an enormous and expanding range of products, from paper clips to spaceships.  They have already displaced many traditional materials, such as wood, stone, horn and bone, leather, paper, metal, glass, and ceramic, in most of their former uses.  The success and dominance of plastics starting in the early 20th century led to environmental concerns regarding its slow decomposition rate after being discarded as trash due to its composition of very large molecules.  Toward the end of the century, one approach to this problem was met with wide efforts toward recycling.”  (Wikipedia)

The City of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, will be the first city to use plastic roads.  These roads are made from 100% recycled plastic and can withstand extreme temperatures between -40 to 80 degrees Centigrade and are supposed to last three times longer than normal roads using traditional materials like cement and asphalt.  Best of all, the actual time to construct plastic roads is a lot shorter than traditional methods of road construction.

The biggest opposition to plastic products is their biodegradability since it takes more than 50 years for plastic to dissolve.  For roads, however, biodegradability is not an issue… in fact, it is an application that needs to last as long as possible.

Collecting discarded plastic waste products and processing them into inputs for road construction application may yet be a plausible solution to our solid waste management woes.  Thanks to the invention of plastic roads.

Just my little thoughts…

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Wikipedia. “Plastic”.  Retrieved on July 23, 2015 from

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Upland Resources Valuation Criteria

by Anton Antonio
July 8, 2015

There are many unique and peculiar characteristics of the different upland resources which make them relatively hard to valuate.  Identifying a single valuation method to use will most likely result to accuracy in one specific resource but erroneous results for the rest.  It should also be noted that upland resources could also be in the form of intangible services from nature making valuation more challenging.  To minimize the margin of error, the following criteria may be used:
  1. Must be based on economic principles;
  2.  Must be easily solved by mathematical computation;
  3.  Must easily understood by the average decision maker;
  4. Must result to monetary terms or easily measurable units;
  5.  Must be readily available and in measurable data input;
  6.  Must have clear and definite assumptions; and,
  7.  Must have general application.

Upland resources valuation, as already mentioned, is a very tough and tedious process.  This process, however, can be simplified by using these upland resources valuation criteria.

Just my little thoughts…

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Cruz, C. A. and Calderon, M. M. (2000). “Economics of Upland Resources”. University of the Philippines Open University, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Climate Talks

by Anton Antonio
July 19, 2015

Climate change is real and hopefully the world realizes this.  The “world”, however, should not only be composed of “First World” (or developed) countries but also “Second World” (or developing countries) and “Third World” (or underdeveloped) countries as well.  It seems, however, that only the Third World countries are overly concerned about climate change and global warming.  This is for good reason though because Third World countries, mostly from Africa and Asia, are the ones experiencing the ill-effects of climate change at present.  Climate change, for First World countries, is such a hard fact to admit because it is the more advanced economies that contributed and still are contributing to climate change causes.

Scientists and global warming experts are insisting that there should be a unified action to really come up with significant mitigation or adaptive measures against climate change.  They warned that 2014 was a record year for rise in sea level, land temperatures and greenhouse gas emissions that drives dangerous global warming to more worrisome levels.  It is now imperative that global warming reduction initiatives must be taken or average world temperature will progressively increase in the years to come.  Sadly, however, the warning and red flag calls from scientists and experts have not translated to a sense of urgency among concerned officials of UNFCCC-member nations.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has embraced a goal of limiting average global warming to 2 degrees Celsius over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.  The UNFCCC is composed of 195 countries but only the underdeveloped and developing countries have shown genuine concerned over this target and are insisting that this is not enough… apparently, only the rich and developed economies seem to be biting into this target.  Small island nations and poor countries say 2 degrees Celsius is not ambitious enough and favor a 1.5 degrees Celsius target.

The UNFCCC is scheduled to meet on November 30 to December 11, 2015 in Paris France.  In this meeting, it is expected that an agreement will be signed fixing the global warming reduction target.  Meanwhile, foreign and environmental ministers and other high-level officials from member countries are mired in technical details and political squabbling and seemingly cannot put their acts together.  The gap between First, Second and Third Worlds is becoming clearer and has become a critical point of concern in harmonizing the purpose, objective and direction of the planned Paris agreement.  With all the talking going on, nothing substantial is being accomplished.  Someone should (perhaps) tell them that “talk”, “talk” and more “talk” does not necessarily translate to “Climate Talk.”

Just my little thoughts…

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Friday, July 24, 2015

The Pitfall of the NIMBY Syndrome

by Anton Antonio
July 23, 2015

When I published a series of blogs about the Canadian garbage mess, a lot of social media netizens, particularly on Facebook, reacted positively… they all agreed that transboundary dumping of garbage is not right.  The chorus of repulsion (meaning: a feeling of intense distaste and disgust) could easily translate to a NIMBY Syndrome. 

“Sometimes we come across words that we don’t understand, don’t make sense or even strange to us.  One such word is “nimby”.  Well… the term “nimby” is actually not a word but an acronym which stands for “Not In My Back Yard”.  As it progressed in usage, NIMBY became a descriptive term to express acceptance of the need for something but this something is something one doesn’t want near one’s home… therefore, not in my back yard!  Nimbies are persons who would normally say:  “You could have or do anything you like so long as it’s nowhere near me.  Environmental advocates and activists are often called “nimbies” simply because they oppose infrastructure projects that violate environmental laws and principles… especially land use-related ones.  This term is really a misnomer for an environmentalist because a true pro-environment person will never say he “approves of something, an activity or event so long as it’s nowhere near him”… a genuine environmentalist will categorically say he disapproves of something… here, there or anywhere on planet Earth.  NIMBY also applies to a group of people with common aspirations typically living within the same vicinity.  It is a term to describe a social phenomenon that occurs when a significant number of people in a social, geographical or political group are opposing a future or an on-going event.  The term has negative connotation typically applied to an opposing group by the approving group of such event.  It is often called the NIMBY syndrome.” (Antonio, 2014)

“On June 2013, fifty (50) forty-foot container vans of used heterogeneous (meaning: diverse in character and content) waste materials began to arrive in Manila, Philippines.  The container vans from Canada actually included used plastic bags, bottles, newspaper, household garbage and used Canadian adult diapers.  This month (July 2015), some of the container vans were transported to a landfill in Capas, Tarlac for disposition.  Although some of the Canadian garbage has already been dumped, the Local Government Units (Provincial Government and Municipality of Capas) in Tarlac were successful in stopping the dumping of the remaining trash.  And now, the Philippine government is looking for alternative landfills in Luzon to bury the Canadian garbage.” (Antonio, 2015)

Can the pro-environment advocates and activists, on-line rebels from social media, government officials from Tarlac LGUs, and concerned citizen who openly opposed the dumping of Canadian garbage in Capas be called “nimbies”?  Yes, they can.  It is important to note, however, that the term NIMBY also has negative and selfish connotations… a dire pitfall.  It could mean that these “nimbies” oppose the dumping of the Canadian garbage only if it were to be dumped in their backyard… but will welcome the idea of dumping it elsewhere in the country.  The ideal mindset should be NO DUMPING OF GARBAGE IN THE PHILIPPINES with the remedy of DUMPING THE GARBAGE BACK TO CANADA… it’s their garbage anyway.  If we, Filipinos, cannot embrace this mindset, we will condemn ourselves to the pitfall of the NIMBY syndrome.

Just my little thoughts…

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Antonio, A. C. (2014).  “The NIMBY Syndrome”. Retrieved on July 23, 2015 from

Antonio, A. C. (2015). “Who are to Blame for the Canadian Garbage Mess?” Retrieved on July 23, 2015 from

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cultural Adaptation and Language

by Anton Antonio
July 7, 2015

Cultural adaptation is the process of ensuring your message, whether translated into another language or not, is presented using cultural references and role models that your intended audience will identify with.  Does this sound too technical?  Well… here’s something less technical:  Cultural adaptation is the revolutionary process by which an individual modifies his personal habits to fit in to a particular culture.  It can also refer to gradual changes within a culture or society that occur as people from different backgrounds participate in the culture and share their perspectives and practices.

If things are not yet too clear, let’s simplify cultural adaptation further.  Cultural adaptation is nothing more that adaptations by which human beings cope with or adjust to.  In this context, adjustments are characteristically made with the existing and developing elements in his environment.  Adaptation refers to accommodation, change and evolution.  Culture embraces the areas of language, history, dress, food, holiday, traditions, religion, music and other forms of art.  Culture is simply the way we do life and adapting our culture, we change our way of life in subtle or more drastic ways.

The most significant driver of cultural adaptation is language.  Languages can also undergo cultural adaptation.  The coinage and use of words like “selfie”, “dabarkads”, “meme”, “peg”, “netizens”, “pabebe”, etc. is part of the evolution of language.  These seemingly colloquial (meaning: used in ordinary or familiar conversation but not formal or literary) words, unknown and misunderstood at first, eventually develop to be part of the conversational and communications language.  Even older folks, who find it uncomfortable at first, eventually speak it too.

Cultural adaptation and language are concepts and important elements in the study of environmental science for the reason that these enrich our culture… and culture is an integral part of our environment.  This is very evident in the Generation “Y” or “millenials” who are competent at social media communications.  Although cultural purists argue that this could lead to the loss of cultural identity, adding new words/language will eventually prove to be good in enhancing traditional and indigenous language.  This is the function of cultural adaptation and language.

Just my little thoughts…

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Who are to Blame for the Canadian Garbage Mess?

by Anton Antonio
July 22, 2015

On June 2013, fifty (50) forty-foot container vans of used heterogeneous (meaning: diverse in character and content) waste materials began to arrive in Manila, Philippines.  The container vans from Canada actually included used plastic bags, bottles, newspaper, household garbage and used Canadian adult diapers.  This month (July 2015), some of the container vans were transported to a landfill in Capas, Tarlac for disposition.  Although some of the Canadian garbage has already been dumped, the Local Government Units (Provincial Government and Municipality of Capas) in Tarlac were successful stopping the dumping of remaining trash.  And now, the Philippine government is looking for alternative landfills in Luzon to bury the Canadian garbage.

This common question persists… “Who is or are to blame for this Canadian garbage mess?  You may want to consider the following answers to this question:
  1. The Government of Canada for allowing the shipment in spite of the fact that it is a signatory to the Basel Convention together with the Philippines.  The Basel Convention, enforced in March 22, 1988, is an international agreement “to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations and specifically prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries”.  The agreement’s primary objective is “to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of hazardous waste”.
  2. The consignee/importer (Chronic Plastics, Inc. in the Philippines; and, the shipper/exported, Chronic, Inc. of Canada) for trading with banned items per the Basel Convention.
  3. The Philippine Bureau of Customs that declared the importation as unlawful pursuant to Philippine Republic Act No. 6969 otherwise known as the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Act of 1990 but failed (or at the very least was not aggressive enough) to implement this particular law.  This Bureau could have prevented the off-loading of this shipment on Philippine Ports and immediately recommending that the same be returned.
  4. The Philippine Department of Health – Bureau of Quarantine which opened the container vans in March 13, 2014 (nine months after the shipment arrived) and decided to simply disinfect them at the expense of the Philippine Government.  This Department should have taken a pro-active stance in returning the shipment to Canada on the grounds that it may affect human health.  The disinfection was made since the waste materials in the container vans began to leak and was already posting a serious risk to the health of the community living and working at the Port Area and also the environment particularly Manila Bay.
  5. The Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources for flip-flopping on their declaration… on June 2013, the Department reported the presence of toxic and hazardous waste while reporting the absence of such on July 2015.  The Department’s July 2015 recommendation to transport and dispose of the Canadian garbage in Capas, Tarlac is contrary to its initial report.  The Department should have also strictly enforced Republic Act No. 6969.
  6. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs for simply sweeping the Canadian garbage problem under the rug and in the name of diplomacy.  This Department sacrificed Philippine “national pride” on the altar of international relations.

Lastly, the Filipino People are also largely to blame for the Canadian garbage mess because of their apathy (meaning: lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern) for important national and environmental issues.  Sadly, even when the writing is clearly on the wall that the Canadian and Philippine governments are to blame, there are but a few who openly reacted to this environmental injustice… a handful of pro-environmental advocates and activists, a token number of on-line rebels from social media, a limited number of government officials (mostly LGUs from Tarlac), and a few concerned citizens. Filipinos seem to be… too tolerant for greed, graft and corruption in government, too ignorant of the dire consequences of environmental neglect, and too shy to display nationalism.  These are all the misplaced and dysfunctional senses of our kind.  Still, a lot of them obliviously (meaning: not aware of or not concerned about what is happening around them) ask, “Who is to blame for the Canadian garbage mess?”

Just my little thoughts…

(Please visit, like and share Pro EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tropical Rainforest Ecosystems

by Anton Antonio
July 5, 2015

What is a tropical rainforest ecosystem?  To effectively answer this question, two elements have to be described or explained: (a) the tropical rainforest; and, (b) the ecosystem.  Let’s begin by stating that these terms are closely related.

A tropical rainforest is an ecosystem type that occurs more or less within the latitudes of 28 degrees north or south of the equator.  This is the equatorial zone between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.  The tropical rainforest ecosystem experiences high average temperatures and a significant amount of rainfall.  Tropical rainforests are warm (24 to 31 degrees centigrade throughout the year) simply because they are near the equator and they receive at least 2,000 to 2,500 millimeters of rain per year.  They have a distinct dry season from the end of December until early April.  During this period, they still receive about 300 millimeters of rain.  Tropical forests are a type of forest found in areas with high regular rainfall and no more than two months of low rainfall; and consisting of a completely closed canopy of trees that prevents the penetration of sunlight to the ground and discourages ground-cover growth.

Rainforests cover less than 7 percent of the Earth’s surface, but they are estimated to contain about half of the plant and animal species on the planet. Since the rainforest is home to so many plant and animal species, the level of biodiversity may be higher in rainforests than in any other place on Earth.  A tropical forest is dominated by hardwood species belonging to Family Dipterocarpaceae, Leguminosae.  Tropical forest can be found in three continents: (a) Southeast Asia including the Philippines; (b) Tropical Africa; and, (c) Central and South America particularly the basis of the Amazon River.

On the other hand, an ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the non-living components of their environment.  These biotic and abiotic (meaning: living and non-living) components are regarded as linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows.  Ecosystems are defined by the network of interactions among organisms, and between organisms and their environment.  This is but one of the many unique life dynamics of tropical rainforest ecosystems.

Just my little thoughts…

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Antonio, A. C., (2015).  “Keywords in the Study of Ecology”.  Retrieved on July 5, 2015 from

Monday, July 20, 2015

Political Will

by Anton Antonio
July 1, 2015

If we simply listen to the captains of the energy industry, we can all be swayed by their narratives that circle along the following lines:  (1) That they would like to get out of fossil fuels; (2) That alternative sources of energy are still too expensive and more research and development is needed; (3) That the most cost-efficient energy source is coal; and, (4) That government does not have the funds to support green energy initiatives.  To the community of environmental advocates and activists, however, this is a very defeatist attitude and mindset.

The Philippines is a democracy and power emanates from the people.  It’s just so frustrating when public policies, especially those that are proposed and supposed to mitigate the ill effects of anthropogenic activities towards the environment, are not given due course simply because there is not enough funding support for them.  Frustrations becomes annoying when government prioritize the utilization of funds to: (a) support the lavish lifestyle of politicians and personalities in government; (b) support developmental projects to favor friends, relatives and political allies of those in power; (c) support a political agenda; and, (d) provide opportunities for graft and corrupt practices.  The multi-billion pesos lost in inefficiency and corruption in all levels and branches of government will be more than enough to pursue all the pro-environmental initiatives.  This could be done only with “political will”.

“Political will” refers to the fact that when passing any law there may be some political costs as the law may upset some people and please others.  “Political will” refers to that collective amount of political benefits and costs that would result from the passage of any given law. 

Let’s take Costa Rica for example.  Costa Rica has been running without having to burn fossil fuel for sometime now.  Their hydropower plants alone are generating nearly enough power for the entire country.  The additional power generated from their geothermal, solar and wind energy sources initiatives are more than enough to account for their total energy requirement.

If Costa Rica has proven that green energy is possible, why can’t other developing countries, including the Philippines, do the same?  All it takes is “political will”.

Just my little thoughts…

(Please visit, like and share Pro EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and

REFERENCE:, (2015).  “Costa Rica is Now Running Completely on Renewable Energy”.  Retrieved on July 1, 2015 from

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Valuating the Ecosystems

by Anton Antonio
July 18, 2015

I saw a poster on Facebook, posted on my wall by one of my netizen friends, which really got my attention.  It is an infomercial created by the University of Michigan on “The Value of a Tree”.  It said that a tree is worth US$ 193,250 according to Professor T. M. Das of the University of Calcutta.  A tree living for 50 years will generate US$ 31,250 worth of oxygen, provide US$ 62,000 worth of air pollution control, control soil erosion and increase soil fertility to the tune of US$ 31,250, recycle US$ 37,500 worth of water and provide a home for animals worth US$ 31,250.  These figures do not include the value of fruits, lumber and beauty derived from trees.  An annual income of US$ 193,250 for one forest alone is mind boggling when compared to the average annual income of US$ 5,100 for an average Filipino family.

Wanting to dig deeper into this tree-valuation thing, the question came to me: “How much is the value of the world’s ecosystem?”  Yes… how much is the US dollar value of Mother Earth?  So I did a quick research to first identify the goods and services derived from the ecosystem in general --- tangible goods such as food and natural resources, land, etc; and, intangible services such as clean air, aesthetic beauty, recreational activities, cultural development, etc. 

From this quick research I discovered that 50 years ago the value of the world’s ecosystems was estimated to be around US$ 33 trillion (or US$ 48.7 trillion in today’s dollars).  The most recent valuation, however, came up with a new and updated amount: US$ 142.7 trillion.  Unthinkable, isn’t it?  This re-valuation included new parameters in valuation for the world’s ecosystems.

The new environmental worldview which I often repeat --- Let us help Mother Earth save us. --- is again proven right even in the context of man’s materialistic tendency; man always attaches value (especially monetary value) to everything and anything.  So now that the worth of our ecosystems has been estimated, isn’t it reason enough for us to protect and preserve the environment and our natural resources?  This is humankind’s treasure that should not only be enjoyed by the present generation… but the future generations as well.  Thanks to the environment scientists out there who tirelessly seek novel ways in valuating the ecosystems.

Just my little thoughts…

(Please visit, like and share Pro EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and

REFERENCE:, (2014).  “How much are the World’s Ecosystems Worth?”.  Retrieved on July 18, 2015 from

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Preferences and Tendencies

by Anton Antonio
July 10, 2015

An environmental advocacy using the I.E.C. (or Information Education Communication) Approach remains to be largely challenging.  (For details on the IEC Approach, please click on this link:  It takes a never-ending chain of artistic and out-of-the-box initiatives to keep people interested in whatever needs to be said or whatever new stuff that needs to be communicated.  Oftentimes, there is a continuing conflict on which strategy to use --- visuals or text.  But what would really work better between the two?... or should it be a combination of both?

Yesterday, I posted an infomercial on my Facebook wall and several Facebook groups where I am a member.  The poster has photos of potential presidential candidates in 2016 (Vice President Jojo Binay, Senator Grace Poe, Mayor Digong Duterte and Secretary Mar Roxas) on the left side and text on the right side saying: “A good president talks to his people.  A better president listens to his people.  The best president listens to his people with his heart. (Antonio, 2015)”  Obviously, the photos and the text on this poster are not related.  While the text pertains to a “best practice” a president can adopt, the photos are just a layout of possible presidential candidates… still to become a possible president.  A silhouette-image of a man with a question mark was strategically placed at the center of the photos.  This should represent another candidate in case the four “presidentiables” are not in the viewers’ preferential list. 

Notwithstanding the inconsistency between the photos and the accompanying text, my netizen friends were quick to organize their own thoughts and opinion about the poster.  As a result, they came up with comments that are very interesting.  It was quite amazing, however, that no one commented on the silhouette… as if it did not even exist. 

Anyway, here are my simple reflections based on their reactions, comments and narratives:
  1. People have a tendency to get attracted to photos or visuals than text --- a very natural reaction to poster posts on Facebook.
  2. People will only brush over a poster --- therefore focus on the photos and unmindful of the accompanying text --- and not analyze the message of the poster in its totality.
  3. People will create their own thoughts --- therefore assume that it is a political infomercial --- without considering the message of the creator of the poster.
  4. People often miss the message because they do not take time to analyze the context by which a poster (both photo-visual and text) was made.
  5. People prefer to be identified with real people (meaning: no one wanted to comment on the existence of the silhouette) and not with imaginary people.

These reflections, gathered from a simple experimental exercise on Facebook, could provide valuable insights (especially for environmental advocates like me) on people’s preferences and tendencies.

Just my little thoughts…

(Please visit, like and share Pro EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and


Antonio, A. C. (2014).  “The IEC Approach”. Retrieved on July 10, 2015 from

Friday, July 17, 2015

From Capas Death March to Capas Death Trash

by Anton Antonio
July 17, 2015

The accompanying photo shows a convoy of Canadian garbage-bearing trailer trucks going into the Capas landfill with an insert showing Filipino and American POWs in the infamous Bataan-Capas Death March.

The Capas Death March…

“A death march is a forced march of prisoners of war or other captives or deportees with the intent to kill, brutalize, weaken and/or demoralize as many of the captives as possible along the way.  It is distinguished in this way from simple prisoner transport via foot march.  Death marches usually feature harsh physical labor and abuse, neglect of prisoner injury and illness, deliberate starvation and dehydration, humiliation and torture, and execution of those unable to keep up the marching pace.  The march may end at a prisoner of war camp or internment camp, or it may continue until all the prisoners are dead (a form of “execution by labor, as seen in the Armenian genocide among other examples).  The signing of the Fourth Geneva Convention made death marches a form of war crime.”  (

“The Bataan or Capas Death March was the forcible transfer from Mariveles, Bataan to Camp O’Donnell, Capas, Tarlac by the Imperial Japanese Army of 60,000 to 80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war which began on April 9, 1942, after the three-month Battle of Bataan during World War II.  About 2,500 to 10,000 Filipino and 100 to 650 American prisoners of war died before they could reach their destination.  The reported death tolls vary, especially among Filipino POWs, because historians cannot determine how many prisoners blended in with the civilian population and escaped.  The march went from Mariveles, Bataan to San Fernando, Pampanga.  From San Fernando, survivors were loaded to a box train and were brought to Camp O’Donnell in Capas, Tarlac.  The 97-kilometer march was characterized by occasional severe physical abuse and resulted in some fatalities inflicted upon prisoners and civilian alike by the Japanese Army.  It was later judged by an Allied military commission to be a Japanese war crime.” (

The Capas Death Trash…

73 years after Filipino and American POWs marched into Capas, Tarlac, a convoy of trailer trucks also marched into Capas, Tarlac bringing garbage imported from Canada.  Around 20 container vans of this deadly cargo has already been dumped in the Capas landfill.  In June 2013, when the Canadian garbage arrived in the Port of Manila, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources declared that the shipment included toxic and hazardous materials.  What happened from that time to the day that some of the Canadian garbage was unloaded in the Capas landfill is something only the cockroaches hiding in the offices of high government officials probably know.

In this case, the “death march” and “death trash” in Capas can be taken in the same context…they are both forgettable and regrettable chapters in our history.  However, while the number of dead in the Death March of 1942 can immediately be accounted, the eventual death toll that the Death Trash of 2015 can only be known in the future.  The toxic and hazardous substances in the Capas landfill can eventually find its way to the shallow water table of Capas… the rest of Tarlac Province…and  the rest of Central Luzon.  This will have dire consequences in the quality of food products from Central Luzon… rice, vegetable, fruits, fish, etc.  Think of a scenario wherein food products in Central Luzon are being consumed not only in the region but also in other food-demand centers like Metro Manila.  This Canadian garbage could effectively compromise the health of a great number of Filipinos.

I really am not in the habit of being overly negative nor do I take special pleasure in doomsday prophesies… I could only hope and pray that this insignificant statement now doesn’t become a reality in the future:  “From Capas Death March to Capas Death Trash”.

Just my little thoughts…

(Please visit, like and share Pro EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and

Environment or Politics

by Anton Antonio
July 17, 2015

Can environmental concerns and politics work together?

With the 2016 elections just around the corner, people are so fixated (meaning: to acquire an obsessive attachment to someone or something) by it.  It’s indeed the season when other issues, environment included, will always be viewed with a political eye and mind.  This is the reason why we always come up with bad decisions since our objectivity (meaning: a lack of bias, judgment, or prejudice) on the real issue is more likely clouded by politics.

Let’s take this little case as an example.  In June 2013, fifty (or more) container vans of garbage arrived at the Manila port.  At first, everyone, including government, wanted this unacceptable cargo shipped back to Canada where it came from.  Two years passed and this shipment of trash is now acceptable as deemed by government.  Ergo, the Canadian garbage is now being transported to a landfill in Capas, Tarlac.  Environmentalist groups were up in arms over this decision and Tarlac Local Government Units (LGUs) joined the protest.

I have published several blogs about this problem for over a year now plus Facebook articles and infomercials to create awareness on social media about this Canadian garbage mess… the last one of which is also posted with this blog.  So what happened? My last post was “shared” by a fellow netizen with the statement: “Tarlac politics feeding on Canadian waste.  Why not go to media also so that the issue can be milked for the elections?”.  The following Facebook comments and narratives will give you a clear picture of what ensued…

ME:  “Thank you, (name deleted), for sharing this post.”

FACEBOOK FRIEND:  “Got my goat!  Happy day, Anton Antonio.”

ME:  Hi, (name deleted)… I am just a little environmental advocate and activist who doesn’t care much about the “politics” of politicians.  I believe that politics and concern for the environment should never be intertwined… but there’s nothing we can do if the politicians grab the limelight because they run things around here as they have duties to fulfil.  So, we just have to work within that system… until a better system is institutionalized.  Things (perhaps) will always depend on the influence of our viewpoints… if we view the environment within the ambit of politics, then we will eventually be in trouble because the environment can never be a subject of compromise which is what politics is all about.  But if we view environment by itself and not shroud it with the trimmings of politics, then we can better serve the present and future generations of this country.  Thank you for supporting our environmental efforts and initiatives.  God bless you.  Stay well… (smile emoticon)”

Going back to the basic question: “Can environmental concerns and politics work together?  I must say, based on experience, that they COULD… but they SHOULD NOT.  These are fairly different realms (meaning: fields or domain of activity or interest) that, more often, result to environmental degradation when combined.  Please… Let’s not mix environment and politics.

Just my little thoughts…

(Please visit, like and share Pro EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Photosynthesis and Solar Energy

by Anton Antonio
June 25, 2015

One of the challenges confronting solar energy development is the system of storage.  In a lot of instances, nature itself has provided man with solutions to their day-to-day problems.  Here is a researched material on how scientists from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) were inspired by plants and the process of photosynthesis to invent solar cells for energy storage:

“A new technology developed by scientists at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) can store solar energy for up to several weeks; an advance that could change the way scientists think about designing solar cells.  The materials in most of today's residential rooftop solar panels can store energy from the sun for only a few microseconds at a time. 

The new design is inspired by the way that plants generate energy through photosynthesis.
  "In photosynthesis, plants that are exposed to sunlight use carefully organised nanoscale structures within their cells to rapidly separate charges, pulling electrons away from the positively charged molecule that is left behind, and keeping positive and negative charges separated," said senior study author Sarah Tolbert.  "That separation is the key to making the process so efficient," Tolbert said. 

To capture energy from sunlight, conventional rooftop solar cells use silicon, a fairly expensive material.
  On the other hand, plastic solar cells which are cheaper - are relatively inefficient, because the separated positive and negative electric charges often recombine before they can become electrical energy.  "Modern plastic solar cells don't have well-defined structures like plants do.  But this new system pulls charges apart and keeps them separated for days, or even weeks," Tolbert said.  "Once you make the right structure, you can vastly improve the retention of energy," she added. 

The two components that make the UCLA developed system work are a polymer donor and a nano-scale fullerene acceptor.
  The polymer donor absorbs sunlight and passes electrons to the fullerene acceptor. The process generates electrical energy. 

The plastic materials, called organic photovoltaics, are typically organised like a plate of cooked pasta a disorganised mass of long, skinny polymer 'spaghetti' with random fullerene 'meatballs.'
   But this arrangement makes it difficult to get current out of the cell because the electrons sometimes hop back to the polymer spaghetti and are lost.  The UCLA technology arranges the elements more neatly like small bundles of uncooked spaghetti with precisely placed meatballs. 

Some fullerene meatballs are designed to sit inside the spaghetti bundles, but others are forced to stay on the outside.
  The fullerenes inside the structure take electrons from the polymers and toss them to the outside fullerene, which can effectively keep the electrons away from the polymer for weeks.  "When the charges never come back together, the system works far better," another senior author Benjamin Schwartz said. 

In the new system, the materials self-assemble just by being placed in close proximity.  The new design is also more environment-friendly than current technology, because the materials can assemble in water instead of more toxic organic solutions that are widely used today, the researchers said.

The findings were published in the journal Science.”

There really is a changing worldview on the environment that states: “While man thinks he should do what he could to SAVE MOTHER EARTH, man should realize that he can only HELP MOTHER EARTH SAVE MANKIND.”  The new findings at the UCLA could only prove this worldview right… ergo, the man-initiated application of the synergistic relationship between photosynthesis and solar energy.

Just my little thoughts…

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