Creative, Constructive, Collective Engagements

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas (The Freeman) - September 19, 2020 - 12:00am

Within the present pandemic, the complexity and enormity of challenges require united efforts to ensure the sustainable protection of people and our planet. While the containment of COVID-19 is a real, present preoccupation, there are, however, other pressing challenges that call for creative paradigms and united local/global action.

Recent fires as well as hurricanes and typhoons are timely but grim reminders of the ticking global warming that could destroy the planet we all live in by 2030 or earlier. While dealing with the pandemic, how can we stay vigilant, alert, and do our collective best to avert global warming?

How do we simultaneously cope, as one global community, now and later, with the pandemic, global warming AND other crises of hunger, homelessness, unemployment, income, gender inequality, and more?

We all need to start discussing, dialoguing, acting together as local and global partners to address our compounded crises soonest time we can. We need creative, constructive, collective ideas and practices for our present world and for our planet, within and beyond the pandemic.

One concrete predicament confronting us now is how to protect people against the virus. Many of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) is made of plastic which is harmful to our environment and contributes to global warming.

GMO seeds and technology are resorted to combat hunger, increase food supply and production amidst protests and studies that confirm adverse impacts of GMO on global warming.

We need to convince government to halt infrastructure projects like airports, road widening, tree cutting, others and instead prioritize health and welfare protective projects like building of hospitals with adequate facilities and well-compensated personnel.

The public has to vigilantly follow how public funds are appropriated and spent. Yes to more funds for people, health, welfare --no to unnecessary, unproductive defense, intelligence, entertainment budgets. No to salaries for the undeserving, unqualified, corrupt, and incompetent in government!

What types of new creative jobs and tasks can be provided that can revive the economy and restore people’s capacity to earn and live while protecting the earth as well?

With much demand and lack of local supply for PPEs and masks, for example, funds can be channeled to employ and support labor and companies to produce these urgent necessities.

Resumption of safe mass transport may take time so perhaps production of sturdy but inexpensive bicycles or those that can be pedaled by two or more bikers may be innovated? Design umbrellas for bikes for rainy days as well? And special, safe bike lanes provided soonest throughout the country?

Transport drivers may be trained to be waste segregators or collectors? Rather than spend millions for garbage truck gasoline, spare parts, and hauling, perhaps waste funds can be used instead as wages of jeepney and tricycle, trisikad, habal-habal drivers for alternative waste collection? This system can finally jumpstart a labor-intensive, employment-generating, alternative, sustainable waste collection scheme!

Hunger which is the most urgent need now can be alleviated with all encouraged to grow their own food, please with non-GMO seeds and technology? Households can group together, communities can join hands together to grow and produce more, sustainably. Natural seed growers can start a business as natural seed supply is still short. Households and communities that produce beyond their own needs can also start marketing their produce. Food processing and technology can also be prioritized especially among farmers and fisherfolks?

Can former market vendors and informal economy participants be tapped to sell the produce from households and communities like those tapped by certain local governments?

It’s time for creative ideas and actions to beat the pandemic and all other crises affecting all. It’s time to unite and act together to save ourselves, others, and our planet.

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