Freeman Cebu Business

Politics, economics and the environment 

TRADE FORUM - Chris Malazarte -

I spent my previous weekend rather, and again, sedentarily. Sleep played most part of it and that little dash of humor from Wilson Ng's "eNGy" – a business cartoon in bantam size and soft cover, which I got for free from the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry some weeks ago (suggest you grab a copy too). Albeit belatedly, I'd like to sincerely thank Wilson and CCCI, anyhow for that piece of original Cebuano business wit and hilarity.  

I was supposed to get done the gobs and gobs of "to dos" for the next two days of my waking moments that weekend but the flesh was so weak (as it was in the beginning now and forever shall be world without end…) to even fix the bed! But it isn't really that bad when you delay burning those excess calories you've been keeping (don't take my word for it) for so long as you know the "cost benefit" behind wasting your time doing nothing – which by the way has no cost nor any benefit at all!

Levity aside, yes, that might have been a sedentary weekend but I can't thank well enough Warner Bros for providing me some thoughts for today's column. If you've seen Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," you will find the "The 11th Hour" equally compelling.  While An Inconvenient Truth presents a cogent account of what's happening in our biosphere, The 11th Hour sketches the self-destruct we are to ourselves than we are to the environment. The movie underlines the fact that the environment will be there to stay no matter how humans overuse or abuse it. But the question is -- will humans be there to stay in an overused or abused environment?

The movie had me also pondering how we have tethered the environment to become an unwilling servant in human affairs than we are or we should to the environment. All the while we thought that industry and egalitarian political structures can ably preserve in perpetuity and comforts of human existence. But we are actually mistaken. We are mistaken because they make us miserably forget that these structures that protect these comforts have become a discomfort to the environment and that the present comforts we have now are just as volatile as the fuel guzzled by our automobiles.

The rising cost of fuel that led to the spiraling prices of food worldwide, which by the way have increased by fifty percent for the last three years, are telltale signs that the sea of excessiveness also ebb as the tide itself. We have come to a point that fuel resources are not only nearing to its last drop or what experts call "Peak Oil," but we have come to a point that we have made a master out of it -- that we must fight and defend it to our graves; that we allow it to rule over the fate of human affairs (from energy generation to transport to food production) even the fate or at the cost of the very planet or the environment that keeps it. Never mind the irony just the stupidity of it all.

If you come to think of it, we are actually part of that environment. We are in fact our own environment - that we are actually not what we think we are. Philosophical as it sounds but it is literally true! Our body is comprised of trillions of cells that ninety percent of us are living organisms -- bacteria, fungi, and cells each with their own mind and physical properties independent of our own yet dependent also of our own existence. In the same token, humans are but like any other specie around that depend on the environment for existence. But unlike other species, which return the favor back to the food chain, our greed overrides the dictates of our instincts to return what we take. And because of our greed, we have the capacity and the will to destroy or alter the food chain itself.   Or so they say, there's more than enough for a man's need but not enough for a man's greed.

We should or we must, at this point, begin to reckon how greed is going to eat us alive sooner or later. Businessmen or industrialists no matter how persuasive the proposition of profit there is in each of their respective enterprise, it is important to know that profit is not to be dignified as a measure of success or another significant contribution to an economy, which are just merely statistics, but what matters is when businesses derive profit without resorting to profiting by overproduction, which has already caused undue stress to the environment's sustainability.  

Consumers must also play a critical role to provide that restraint to industries by spending only what is necessary and essential for our day to day survival, comfort and simple leisure than overindulge upon the pressures of vanity and style, luxury and gluttony.    

Government must now redirect its policies towards the more essential components like food production; restraint on over-industrialization; and above all place equal importance to preserving the environment and weigh the benefits of utilizing it without compromising its sustainability. 

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