Earth Day 2020: PH scientists, conservationists call on gov’t to prioritize nature
In line with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a letter with 330 signatories urges present and future leaders to prevent future pandemics and other threats to survival
Apr 22, 2020
For the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, 200 scientists and conservationists from the Philippines have penned and signed an open letter calling on the country’s present and future leaders to reflect on our responsibility to nature and humanity.
The letter, which was published yesterday (Apr. 21), a day before the annual Earth Day, urges current leaders to take necessary measures to prevent future pandemics and other threats to survival. Though it acknowledges that natural disasters have constantly occurred even before the COVID-19 crisis, the rise of deadly diseases resulted from the destruction and exploitation of wild habitats and animals.
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It further lays out three issues underpinning the current crisis, namely: biodiversity loss, climate change and ecological amnesia or forgetting what nature truly means.
The letter then suggests “leadership that nurtures nature,” prompting both local and national officials to adopt a long-term and holistic perspective of progress when it comes to attending to the needs of Filipinos. The letter calls on these officials to “aggressively support the protection of remaining natural ecosystems and the restoration of destroyed ones” by implementing laws that will hold people accountable of the destruction and wastage they’ve caused to our natural resources. Now, the DENR, along with the different sectors of the government, must collectively address environmental issues which, among others, plague our nation.
For the signatories of the letter, businesses can’t go back to their old ways after all of this. As they put forward “business for people and planet,” businesses both big and small should take into account their means of production by strictly complying with environmental laws and directives as well as seek more sustainable practices. In line with this, business leaders should also constantly address their endeavors’ environmental impact.
Lastly, to combat ecological amnesia, the letter encourages “education and media towards a culture of care,” urging educators, journalists, media and storytellers of all kinds and from different organizations to put conservation education as a subject matter to tackle more actively.
The signatories also called on ordinary citizens to do their part by reflecting on the collective impact of their actions, emphasizing that we should “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.”
“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,” the letter ends.
As of writing, the open letter has 330 undersigned persons, including executive directors of The SEA Institute, founders of organizations like the Philippine Animal Welfare Society, Kids for Kids, Bambike, as well as chairmen and deans of college universities, biologists and TV hosts.
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