THE small plane touched down the short runway. We are back in this island of peace, our hideaway — Amanpulo on Pamilacan Island — to enjoy the silence and solitude.
It is here that my mind travels and thinks of countless things.
The waters, the white sand beach and island are sustained and preserved by an environmental conservation culture management, the influx of people controlled. Even the herbs on this 89-hectare island are organically grown.
How I wish the entire country is like this.
Today, the 26th of September, 2020, we witnessed the release of 80 of the 96 green turtles in their hatchery, a sign of sincere conservation albeit only one percent may survive the ordeal of the wild ocean.
Irene Meca, the resident marine biologist, also told us about Project PEACE, where volunteers collect over 65 kilos of plastics from the shore daily.
The initiative delighted us, because our greatest threats include climate change, depleting water resources, plastic pollution.
As we strolled along the beach yesterday, we saw plastic bottles in this protected area. One cannot stop the tide to wash plastics ashore. They will find their way ashore — any shore.
But we can stop throwing plastics.
Researchers have acknowledged that every cubic meter of the ocean contains 7,000 microplastic particles in the surface.
Just last week in Tasmania, 200 whales beached themselves to die for reasons we can only surmise as climate change-related: warmer waters, lower oxygen content or just too much microplastics.
This is not the first time it has happened but the veracity of it is incredibly high.
The book, The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells, tells us of the negative cognitive effects of direct heat and air pollution. That a 13-degree Celsius economy has a higher rate of productivity.
Today, the US hovers around 13.4 degrees, which translates to one percent of GDP loss.
Climate change is an enveloping crisis that touches every aspect of our lives. Wallace continues that should the planet warm 3.7 degrees, it will translate to $551 trillion, which is nearly twice as much wealth that exists in the world today.
The UK will be affected the least and the Democratic Republic of Congo the most. Not to mention climate refugees of over 200 million by 2050. Economically challenged countries will collapse and poverty and hunger will prevail.
Not to mention the effects of this COVID-19 pandemic that has collapsed and destroyed the world economies. Whether it has slowed down carbon emissions is yet to be seen.
But species and habitats will die. Water resources will dwindle as barely more than two percent of it is fresh and one percent is trapped in glaciers and melting.
What bothers me the most is that bankers, especially those from the ADB and some other institutions, are still lending to finance fossil fuel. I realize how little they know about the environment and the possibilities of an ecological disaster.
In this day and age, one would think that environmental concerns would be paramount in the agenda of man. It will be the end of our civilization as we know it.
Sadly, it is a far cry to that. We are at a tipping point. Don’t they feel and see it? They need to change their mindset and reshape their thinking as well as all of us. Imagine a world of seven billion guardians of Mother Earth instead of destroyers of the planet.
Antonio M. Claparols is the president of the Ecological Society of the Philippines