Tornado and our environment A tornado in Cebu?
PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas (The Freeman) - June 20, 2013 - 12:00am

One passed through Minglanilla and Talisay last Tuesday and thank God, it was not deadly. It was strong enough, though, to injure one and destroy houses. From now on, will thunderstorms be given more serious attention - with tornado warnings hopefully given promptly to our people?

Strong, howling winds are now being experienced this Wednesday cloudy morning in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan. Elsewhere, preparations have already started for the arrival of Typhoon Emong from the Philippines.

Climate change is certainly clearly evident and the question still remains, what are we doing about it where we are. Until disaster strikes and until the damage is assessed, the whole world still proceeds as if nothing has changed, many still proceed as if climate change were non-existent.

With Emong in town and flood and all the damage the strong winds and rains will bring or are bringing at present, awareness about the need for measures to avert climate change and for effective disaster prevention and management will, once again, rise but for how long?

Awareness surges to a very high level in the midst of a disaster but plunges as soon as the disaster has passed.

Sustainable measures to keep awareness high and effective prevention and management always ready are urgently needed. One life is too precious to lose just because of lack of sustained awareness and preparation.

The scheduled Cebu City clean-up is a positive step for effective environmental management but this should not be done only for a day. The clean-up program should be regularly conducted, as simply and as inexpensively as possible.

Political will and citizen participation are necessary for environmental protection and management. Measures to sustain partnerships to avert climate change and to ensure environmental protection in order to protect people and nature should be prioritized.

The whole world also has to rethink the present system of production and distribution which is not only wrecking havoc on our environment and causing climate change but also continues an unacceptable system of inequality that favors a few wealthy over millions of impoverished people.

The ethic and system to produce profit for a few will have to urgently give way to a world where production is geared for people's welfare and needs, for immediate use, for immediate response to people's basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

The present profit-oriented system will have to change as well to protect and preserve nature and our earth. Why must a few be allowed to continue to create poverty among people and destruction of our earth?

On top of disasters, our country continues to be plagued with so many social and economic problems. How to meet these challenges with what we have remains a challenge all of us together have to face, confront, and act upon.

How and where to start? Shall we pause and unite together to urgently proceed with what we need to do to sustainably take care of our people and our environment given our present resources and capabilities?

Have you realized how rich our resources are?

Consider our seas, for example. The continuing entry of Chinese and other foreign fishing vessels in our territory should serve as a clear reminder to us Filipinos about the wealth in our seas.

Yet, with abundant marine resources, our people in the coastal areas remain poor. With vast fertile soil, our farmers remain hungry. And sadly, with the fast depletion of our rich natural resources due to greed, corruption, misguided profit-oriented rather than welfare-oriented policy and management, our present and future generations of Filipinos may no longer be able to reap the benefits of a bountiful environment.

What do you think?

What can we do now to protect our people and our environment?



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