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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Doomsday Clock:  “One Minute Before Midnight

Kim’s Dream  Orlan Ravanera

Restoring Our Ancient Bond with the Natural World

The increasing incidence of global poverty, the unprecedented rising of inequities and the emergency state of the environment, should now be known by everyone.  Unless we are informed of the gravity of the problems, no counter measures can be trailblazed to stop humanity’s falling down into the precipice of its 6th extinction, as thousands of concerned scientists world-wide have set the doomsday clock to “one minute before midnight.”  The 5th extinction happened 63 million years ago when asteroids hit the earth causing the extinction of the dinosaurs. This time, it will be Anthropocene (man-made) as the species called homo-sapiens, the most flawed of all of God’s creation, is sacrificing Mother Earth to the altar of Satanic Greed through corporate globalization.   

As declared by the people-powered movement in the United States that is now rapidly spreading world-wide, to quote the amazing environmentalist Karen Armstrong,  “Perhaps we should make ourselves feel more disturbed, spending some time each day to reflect on the pain being inflicted on both our fellow humans and the environment, considering the broken lives in war-torn Yemen or Somalia, the widespread poverty in Africa, and the desperate plight of the Rohingya Muslims and People in Ukraine.  Nearly every day, migrants risk death by crossing the English Channel in inadequate boats, hoping to find refuge in the United Kingdom, and some are drowning in the attempt. Why are we not more distressed by the shameful inequity of some of our rich cities?  London is one of the richest in the world, yet it is estimated that a quarter of its population live in poverty.  In the United States, there is a wider disparity between the rich and poor than in any other developed nation, and over the last few decades, this wealth gap has more than doubled. These questions should not only trouble us but impel us to thoughtful and dedicated actions.”  

It is the contention of the fast-growing movement worldwide that the culprit is capitalism, the reason why they are shouting, “We don’t want capitalism! We don’t want corporate globalization!” Although those in the movement have been subject to widespread surveillance, infiltration and  mass arrests, as some 7,762 have already been arrested in 122 cities, they have no fear.  As pointed-out by the movement’s leader, Dr. Noam Chomsky who is described as the number one intellectual in the world, “one of the movement’s greatest successes was to put the inequalities of everyday life on the national agenda, influencing reporting, public awareness and language itself.”

Hearing the above narration of some of the problems worldwide, what came to my mind, what is happening in our country, especially in Mindanao which is even worse.  It is so puzzling to note that while millions globally are now standing against the onslaught of neo-liberal capitalism being pursued through corporate globalization, the people in Mindanao are still in deep slumber socially, economically, politically, and more so, ecologically. Haven’t we  lost our ecological security?  Where have all our forest gone, our 17 million hectares of dipterocarp forest that have been logged illegally for 5 decades? Where have all our mineral gone as Mindanao is oozing with some 72 kinds of top quality minerals? Why are we allowing Chinese who are only visa-holders to commit “theft of minerals” and when arrested, are just imprisoned for a week and allowed to go back to China? Why have we allowed our 200,000 hectares of choicest of lands in Mindanao to be transformed into massive plantations for high value fruits to satisfy the consumer needs of the people in advanced countries while we cannot even have enough basic staples (rice & milk) for our hungry people?  Don’t you know that the Philippines is the biggest rice importer country in the world?  We are importing  2.5 million metric tons of rice annually  with a population of only 110 million, while China with a population of some 1.5 billion people is just importing 2 million metric tons annually. What is so puzzling is why we have allowed Mindanao to be bombarded daily with toxic chemicals as fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides which are already banned abroad, the reason why many are dying od cancer. 

What is so painful is that corporate globalization in Mindanao is based on “new enclosures of the commons, enclosures which imply exclusions and are based on violence.  Instead of a culture of abundance, profit-driven globalization creates culture of exclusion, dispossession and scarcity.” Are you not aware of what is happening now in Bukidnon, that ownership of the rich is based on the dispossession of the poor Indigenous Peoples—it is the ancestral domain of the IPs that are transformed into massive plantations and when their chieftains would stand against such horrible social injustice, they are being killed.  Some 101 Chieftains and Lady Chieftains have already been killed, including a 5-yr. old boy and a pregnant woman.  Massive land-grabbing are continuing without let-up in Butong, Quezon, in Mirayon, Talakag, In Tikalaan, in Kibaritan, Malinao, Kalilangan and  in San Vicente Sumilao – all in the province of Bukidnon. WALA BA TAYONG MALASAKIT SA KAPWA FILIPINO? Two kinds of people in the world: Those who are using their skills and talents to serve the least of their brethren and those who are using their intelligence to make more money.  Of the two, the latter wins hands down.  Because if you are using your intelligence to liberate the poor and the oppressed, you will be “red-tagged,” arrested, isolated and ridiculed. If you use your talent to serve the corporations or to make more money or to be a politician, you will have fame, wealth and power. GANOON BA TALAGA ANG MGA FILIPINO? NASAAN NA ANG SABI NIG PANGINOON NA MAHALIN ANG KAPWA? DI BA SABI NI KING SOLOMON SA ECCLESIASTES, “Wealth, fame and power are meaningless, utterly meaningless?” What is important is how we have served the poor and how we have stand for sacred nature? Indeed, “what would profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffer the loss of his soul?” 

So much pain has been inflicted upon our people.  How about on our environment? Even worse.  Don’t you know that our country is the 4th hardest hit country in the world by climate change?  More than hundreds of thousands have already  died out of environmental catastrophe or out of hunger.  Don’t you know that of the 13 major bays in the country, 10 are already dead biologically?  Hundreds of thousands of families in coastal communities are now living in extreme poverty and hunger.  Such is a great paradox because the Philippines had been described before by no less than the UN-FAO as “the center of the center of marine life on earth.”  But we have allowed “muro-ami” done by Japanese computerized fishing vessels to rake our seas and the fish when canned,  sold to us.  We are treated like dogs whose tails are cut, then cook to be eaten by the dogs.  We are also allowing Chinese to exploit the West Philippine Sea despite the fact that the UN-International Court of Justice has decided that the West Philippine Sea is an integral part of the Philippine Archipelago. We have allowed surrounding industries along the bays to treat the bays as their “waste pits.” We have allowed toxic chemicals to be  used by surrounding plantations that is killing fishery and marine life. We have allowed mining to continue as massive siltation by thousands if not millions of tons have killed the coral reefs and the mangroves, the spawning ground of fish. Our inaction has led to the death of our ecosystems.

Some 1,000 hectares of the 386-meter high iceberg are melting everyday in the Arctic and the Antarctic;  the Himalayan glaciers (the 3rd pole) is increasingly melting;  the sea level of the  oceans is now rising;    100 species of flora and fauna are becoming extinct every day;  the ozone layer is fast depleting and as climate change is now worsening that is creating so much havoc to life on earth, the unimaginable is now becoming imaginable:  the end of life on earth,  It has become imperative therefore to restore our ancient bond with the natural world.  Let us now stand for GAIA (Mother Earth).  We should be the countervailing force against the EGO, against the neo-liberal capitalism, against corporate globalization and against the enclosure of the commons that has put to mockery the constitutional declaration that “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty and property without due process of law.” Let us stand for the constitutional right and the Universal Human Rights of our Indigenous Peoples, now the most oppressed and living in extreme poverty because we Filipinos are still in deep slumber.  Let us spread a different way of living, not on maximizing wealth, on maximizing capacity to buy, on maximizing consumer goods BUT ON MAXIMIZING OUR VALUES for a better life.  Debunk the capriciousness of the mundane, GO TO THE SUBLIME – for God’s greater glory!


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