By Ed Aurelio C. Reyes

Kamalaysayan Writers and Speakers

(April 1996)

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IX YEARS ago, on the occasion of Earth Day 1990, I came out with a book, titled, Biped On the Blue Ball [The Supposed-Sapiens Who Laughed at the Dodo]. Using what some readers have dubbed the "Little-Prince approach" to environmentalism, I tackled the history of accelerating destruction of the environment on the "Blue Ball Earth," and here are some very short excerpts:

"(Primitive) Community ownership was torn apart. This also destroyed basic equality and harmony. Neture was next in the line of fire, as wealth-amassing Bipeds raced to plunder her bounty. xxx The powerful Biped was operating under the concocted logic that one could claim as his property something that would definitely outlast him. He started owning, buying and selling Nature, which is what land unquestionably is. Good thing, no one (has) started claiming the 'right' to sell sunlight or rainfall... xxx The wealth-amassing Biped has come to be consumed by his own greed for more and more profit (generally recycled as additional capital), he is very much willing to sell Nature and destroy it in the process as long as there are are buyers, as long as there are other Bipeds, preferably desperate and destitute to labor on Nature for compensation way below the expected revenues. He would even try to sell Blue Ball Earth itself , if only there were buyers. The profit-greedy Bipeds can never be expected to stop the mad destruction of the Earth or even just to stop and think about it in earnest. And the rest of the Bipeds? Well, they're too busy trying to survive from day to day, so busy they can't afford to stop and think about their survival with the Blue Ball." 

It's suicide all around.

I'm glad there's one day each year, called Earth Day, where many of us could focus our attention on the alarming environmental destruction: "'Stupid Dodo,' laughs the Thinking Biped, as he slowly but surely commits destroying the Blue Ball."

Any intelligent approach to environmental conservation requires a keen sense of history. In the Philippines, for example, when the Filipino nation was being born in revolution 100 years ago, what was the condition of our natural environment? 

Lush forest covers that embraced our mountains in dark-green blankets, clear brooks, streams, and lakes and clean seas that teemed with life! Mineral deposits underneath all that. Fertile soil that enabled us to be self-sufficient in rice (and even be a top exporter). It was still something like that a quarter of a century ago. 

Our "kamalaysayan" or sense of history should tell us of what and how much we have lost, possibly permanently, what sort of illusions and decisions caused that loss, and what kind of environment we are passing on to our children if we do not do something drastic soon. Our sense of history is not only looking back to draw lessons for the present; our sense of history should enable us to fully recognize our responsibility for the future with what we do or what we do not do at present.

The theme set forth by the KAMALAYSAYAN (Kampanya para sa Kamalayan sa Kasaysayan or Campaign for Sense of History) for the environmentalist dimension of SENTENARYO 96 (centennial of the birth of our nation in the 1896 Philippine Revolution) is "Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa" or Love for the Land of our Birth. This embraces both our love for our Inang Bayan or Motherland and our love for Inang Kalikasan or Mother Nature. We cannot claim to love our country and then allow it to be transformed into a treeless archipelago of garbage heaps surrounded by toxic waters.

(Kamalaysayan Media Service)


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