GPP – Green Party of the Philippines expresses its full support to “A Culture of Care for Nature: An Open Letter to Present and Future PH Leaders.” We are one with this change in perspective and a move towards a sustainable future for all of us.
April 21, 2020
On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we, the undersigned, call on the country’s present and future leaders to reflect on our responsibility to nature and humanity.
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, the conversion of natural ecosystems such as forests, mangrove forests, wetlands, seagrass beds, and coral reefs have resulted in many calamities. These have heavily impacted the lives of Filipinos through widespread flooding, landslides, destruction of farmlands and fishing grounds, and loss of property and lives. We have experienced water shortages and droughts due to extreme weather events as a result of the changing climate. Destroying wild habitats and wildlife trade also increase “virus spillover risk” from wildlife to humans, giving rise to deadly diseases such as COVID-19 .
This COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to grinding halt. It knows no borders, economic status or political and religious beliefs, and has exacerbated the suffering of the most vulnerable members of our society. It has and will forever change the way we think, work, and live as a species.
The survival of humans depends on nature. When we create an imbalance in natural systems, the ability of nature to repair itself and take care of us is compromised.
To prevent future pandemics and other threats to our survival, we urge present and future leaders of Philippine society to join us in addressing three emergencies underpinning the current crisis: biodiversity loss, climate change and ecological amnesia.
We suggest the following:
- LEADERSHIP THAT NURTURES NATURE – Present and future leaders of national and local governments must adopt a long-term and holistic perspective of progress: one that looks at a total quality of life through safeguarding the integrity of ecosystems while providing for the needs of the Filipino people. They must aggressively support the protection of remaining natural ecosystems and the restoration of destroyed ones, relentlessly enforce environmental laws and prosecute violators, empower and protect environmental defenders and frontliners, champion the effective management and sufficient funding of our protected, conserved and key biodiversity areas, and harmonize economic development with the sustainable management of our natural resources. In these efforts, leaders of key actors such as the DENR, CCC, and the Environment Committees of Congress must promote innovation and collaboration with different sectors of society to collectively address poverty, avert a water crisis, mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure food security for all.
- BUSINESS FOR PEOPLE AND PLANET: Businesses big and small can no longer operate on a business-as-usual scenario. Business leaders must consistently endeavor to make their company’s operations and supply chains greener and more socially equitable, and genuinely embrace a circular economy. They must give special attention to and invest in the use of renewable energy, more efficient technologies, reusable packaging, responsible waste disposal, sustainable agriculture and ethical trade and integrate them in corporate and enterprise blueprints, not just in Corporate Social Responsibility projects. Businesses must develop a deep understanding of the spaces and communities they operate in, strictly comply with and go beyond the requirements of environmental laws, and enjoin the government in addressing climate change and biodiversity loss within their business operations and spheres of influence.
- EDUCATION AND MEDIA TOWARDS A CULTURE OF CARE – In building a culture of care for nature, education leaders will need to create a radical new approach to produce a new generation of environmental stewards guided by science and conscience. Modern society and technology have made us detached from nature and led us to develop an “ecological amnesia.” It is time to put nature conservation education at the forefront of our education system. Media, journalists and storytellers of all kinds must also take a leading role in inspiring and educating Filipino society towards a culture of care for nature.
We, ordinary citizens, can also do our part by reflecting on our daily habits and consumption of food, water, energy and commodities, realizing that each individual choice can have compound effects on nature and our community. It is also our responsibility to choose our next set of leaders wisely based on the work they put into people and the planet, and not based on personality or popularity.
The current crisis has created a personal longing and a national imperative to repair our primal relationship with nature, while reminding us of the glaring gap between those who have more and less in life.
Our Earth is our collective home. She provides for our needs and keeps us safe and healthy. But for the Earth to continue taking care of us, we need to take care of her first.
Wishing you a happy and meaningful Earth Day!
GPP – Green Party of the Philippines is signed for by Rachel Baldonado, GPP Vice-Chairperson. For the original open letter and the full list of signatories visit carefornatureph.org.