Building green walls against climate change

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

The president planted bamboos on his last birthday as a strong signal to the city and to the world that the BBM administration is committed to focus on caring for whatever remains of our natural environment. When he met US president Joe Biden, the American leader expressed his appreciation for the windmills in Ilocos. That was also a signal of global leaders' support for renewable energy as a strategic component of our common duty to fight climate change and global warming.

The whole world is now facing the onslaught of nature's fury in the form of strong and deadly hurricanes, floods that kill thousands, destroy billions worth of agricultural crops, devastate cities, towns and communities, destroying homes and livelihoods, disrupting supply chains, and therefore exacerbating the far-reaching impact of the impending global famine and food crisis. The tremendous consequences of glacial meltdowns that disturb marine lives and destroy maritime biodiversity are bound to make the coming worldwide food shortage even more frightening. Millions in highly vulnerable countries in Africa and Asia are expected to suffer the most. The irony is that the small nations are not the main destroyers of nature while the major causes of global warming emanate from the superpowers and the world's richest economies.

Nature is hitting back at humanity and the poor are often the victims of huge tsunamis and highly destructive hurricanes. The ever shifting shorelines, the unusual rise of water levels, the sudden emergence of giant sinkholes, strong earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are some manifestations of nature's fury. Productivity levels of agricultural farms are all sliding down to unprecedented low levels, availability of potable water and extreme drought in many areas are further complicating this emerging phenomenon. Forest fires are destroying thousands of acres of natural habitat of flora and fauna in California, in South American countries and even in cold countries like Australia and New Zealand.

And so, what is the draconian and strategic response of the Philippine government, given these major challenges? Apart from symbolic tree planting and admiring windmills, what is the overall strategic plan? Is there any directive from the president for all governors in 82 provinces to plant a million fruit trees at least every quarter or requiring provinces to plant four million trees every year. Every city mayor, every municipal mayor should plant at least ten thousand trees every quarter in their respective constituency. Every barangay should plant a hundred thousand tree every quarter or four hundred thousand trees every year. Multiply that by six for the entire term of the president and that shall constitute our green wall against global warming.

We should plant fruit trues so that while we are able to make use of their positive impact into our ecosystem, we are also able to produce food for our people. We may not live long enough to harvest the fruits of mangoes, avocados, pomelos, star apples and other tropical fruits, but at the very least, we shall have prepared the future generation against global warming and famine alike. If we require all recipients of Pantawid DSWD dole outs or ayuda to plant at least ten trees every month each, then we shall have a greener city and a more livable human settlement. It is also good for the dignity and self-respect of the recipients. They would shed off their image of mendicancy and be proud of being an active builder of a new environment.

We just need our leaders to be more serious with the problem of global warming. Beyond a symbolic planting of bamboo and extolling windmills, there should be a concrete plan, and a purposive, coherent, continuing and massive movement to fight global warming with positive action. It takes the whole nation of 112 million Filipinos to plant a billion trees in our 7,107 islands. And the time to start was a long time ago. Better late than later though.


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