The Need for Environmental Consciousness in the E-Era

By Jamorabo-Ruiz, Adela | Manila Bulletin, December 10, 2000 | Go to article overview

The Need for Environmental Consciousness in the E-Era


Jamorabo-Ruiz, Adela, Manila Bulletin


IT is said that political will is needed. Political will involves not only the enactment of laws and budgetary allocations, but also the will to enforce laws, however influential the violators may be.

Business and industry. Some large, medium and small corporations are the major "adoptors" of environment-friendly measures. For example a computer firm urges recycling through a promo on environment-friendly toner return and disposal program to reduce landfill waste. Others, however, continue to be the biggest violators of environmental protection laws through such acts as dumping of industrial wastes in waterways and fields, emitting of poisonous smoke that pollute the air even in residential areas, and cutting of immature trees by those with logging permits, etc.

The foodservice industry is also guilty of "sins" against the environment such as using "disposables" whose disposal has become an ecological nightmare, not only because they add to the voluminous solid waste that must be disposed of, but also because they are non-biodegradable.

Some foodservice operators have "mended" their practices by returning to reusable utensils. Others in developed countries have gone further. They do not use meat produced in rangelands that were formerly forests, or vegetables grown with chemical fertilizers.

The educators. Teachers of the social sciences, from the primary to the tertiary levels, can raise the students' awareness of environmental issues, stressing to them that each one has a stake in protecting the environment. In the nutrition course, teachers can emphasize how the process of environmental degradation can be one of the causes of malnutrition.

Media are a powerful educator and shaper of values. It is heartening to note that environmental protection groups are conveying their messages through media, even using popular personalities.

The people. In addition to adopting environmentalfriendly practices, individuals can support organizations that lobby for the needed economic policy changes towards developing a country like ours. Private citizens can join, advocate and work for organizations concerned with environmental education, biodiversity conservation, environmental management and rehabilitation, energy conservation, water resources management, sustainable agriculture, food security, fisheries and marine resources management, pollution control and waste management. They can join demonstrations against illegal loggers and companies that pollute our air, water and land.

Sustainable agriculture and technological advances in food production

All in all then, environmental problems are reducing the world's ability to feed its people. With fish yields and rangelands decreasing, can advances in agricultural production compensate for the losses caused by environmental degradation? In the past, agriculture improved yields by making greater investments in irrigation, fertilizer, and improved genetic strains. Today, however, the contributions these measures can make are reaching limits and the improvements are leveling off.

Meanwhile, the world's population is rising at the rate of at least 2% per year. More people means more mouths to feed, which worsens poverty, hunger and environmental problems. Poverty, hunger and degraded environment, in turn, prompt parents to have more children. Breaking this cycle requires improving the economic status of the people and providing them with health care, education and family planning.

The country's population is one of the fastest growing in the world. Population growth rate was 2.4% in 1995. Population control has become one of the most pressing needs of this time in history. Until the nations of the world resolve the population problem, they can neither support the lives of people already born nor remedy global trends towards environmental deterioration.

The link between improved economic status and slowed population has been demonstrated in country after country. …

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