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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Let Us Debunk Dominant Development Paradigm

Kim’s Dream Orlan Ravanera
Never Sacrifice Nature & People for Greed & Profit

It is business as usual and the consequences are fatal because such is anchored on a wrong development paradigm that calls for increases in GNPs (Gross National Domestic Products) yet destroys life support systems. The culprit is Neo-Liberal Capitalism under the regime of One Percent controlling governments, propelled by world leaders who are promoting unbridled materialism and consumerism without let-up,. How powerful is the one percent whose total combined wealth is far greater compared to the total assets of the 99 percent of the world’s population? So powerful in fact that if a visionary President like the late US President John F. Kennedy decided to stop the Vietnam War in the Sixties, he was assassinated, not by Lee Harvey Oswald but by the FBI and the CIA in cohort with a powerful Corporation which was then earning some five hundred billion dollars annually from out of manufacturing lethal weapons which were being used in that war. No less than the ISIS brothers who were in the nineties scholars of Harvard University who found out that it was again a US Corporation manufacturing and supplying arms to two warring factions during the war in Iraq. The brothers did not finish their scholarship, went back to Iraq to form ISIS combatants, calling the US, the most evil empire in the world.

Through corporate globalization, these powerful corporation are wrecking havoc in the name of development. That kind of development can be likened to the workings of an auto-immune disease syndrome (AIDS), where no less than the body’s defense mechanisms are attacking vital organs. We decimate our forest, we pollute our rivers and bays, we produce food yet contaminate our water table following costly agricultural technologies tied up to the heavy use of toxic chemicals, modern living means adopting lifestyle that what makes of a throw- away-society – all done in the name of development.

That kind of development can only be described as ruthless and futureless which has made the impossible now possible, which is the end of life on earth.

Biodiversity embracing the billions of life forms has tremendously decreased as these life forms which have evolved on earth for billions of years are now extinct. As the earth warms and the oceans rise, we are now confronted on how to feed, clothe and house the exponentially growing earthlings that will reach the 9.3 billion mark in 2050.

That kind of development must now be debunked. There is now the increasing call to replace it with one that is sustainable, holistic and community- based that puts the people at the center and at the mainstream of development processes. This is what is called Sustainable Development which is defined as one that is responsive to the needs of the present generation without jeopardizing the capability of the future generations to meet their own needs.

In agriculture, we must now ask: WHO CONTROLS? WHO DECIDES? WHO PROFITS? The truth is, “cash-crop production and food processing divert land and water resources away from sustenance needs and exclude increasing numbes of people from their entitlement for food. The inexorable processes of agriculture – industrialization and internaliza5tions – are probably responsible for more hungry people then both cruel warns and unusual whims of nature”- to quote the world renowned environmentalist and a good friend, Dr. Vandana Shiva from Canada who visited me in the 90s at the height of the people’s direct actions against logging through human barricade.

We in the cooperative movement adhere to the United Nations’ definition as the full development of human potentials, the expansion of choices and opportunities. For development to be so, it must pass a three-way test. First, is it ecologically sustainable, meaning, it does not harm the environment but instead nurtures it. Second, does it benefit the people in whose name and for whose cause it is there for? And third, does it have people’s participation? We believe that unless people participate in development processes, all the outpourings of development programs will just be palliatives. All told, unless all these three criteria are satisfied, no development can take place, only mal-development.

Mahatma Gandhi had put it more succinctly when he said, “If man has to be saved from doom, development must be in harmony with nature and not at its own expense.” A Lumad leader was even more precise when he said, “when you have cut the last tree, when you have caught the last fish, when you have dried the last river, ONLY THEN will you realize that you cannot eat your money.”

In advancing sustainable development, let us reclaim back our lost indigenous culture that has given high reverence to nature and let us debunk a development paradigm which is based on growth-at-all-cost strategies that has consigned our country to be exporter of natural resources to satisfy the consumerist lifestyle in highly developed countries and dumping ground of imported goods and the non-essentials.

It has become imperative to democratize wealth and power in this highly skewed societal order. Indeed, “there is enough for everyone’s needs but not for everyone’s greed.” The empowerment if the poor and the oppressed is now gaining momentum as no less than PERA MPC is providing today some P600,000 to the coopertives of the Indigenous People to transform IPs’ thousands of hectares of their Ancestral Domain lands for food production and to counter climate change.

We salute PERA MPC for its passion and love to liberate the Indigenous People from the quagmire of hunger, poverty and oppression. Let us serve notice to one and all that we will be judged not on how much wealth, fame or power one has but on how we serve the least of our brethren!


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