Another ending year, a new one coming in two days from now.
For all that happened this fast-ending year right in our own midst, there’s much to look back for us to have a surer footing in our journey into the next. Everything worse has taken place — deadly landslides in our mountain communities two months back, our own city flooded in just a day’s time of relentless rains, just to cite some of the more surprising weather events in recent memory.
Holding our collective breathe, there’s another weather disturbance Usman coming in through the Visayas, placing much of our Visayan compatriots very much on the storm’s path clearly on tenterhooks two days into 2019. By and large, our fate seems to have abided by what occurred in 2017, auguring not much hope that 2019 will abide by the same environmental script. Tough times indeed, with challenges from our changing climate becoming even tougher, much harder to meet, or even cope up with.
Well, it has been that way in the last five years, a tougher road ahead, a roller-coaster of 365 days marked more by further damage to the environment. Even our climate savants, they who have been on vigilant shepherding all these years, have not been reassuring, given scientifically collated data from all over the world. Gravely disappointed, they all have been, that not much progress has been achieved these last two years in global efforts to bring down polluting gas emissions. The bombardment of toxic fumes into the atmosphere has gone merrily on, as if tomorrow can well take care by itself. As a result, ocean temperatures have been on exceedingly merciless ascent, enough to breed the weather aberrations we’ve been having, enough to cause lethal tragedies simply because people were in the wrong place at the wrong time, despite being there for the right reason. Super-hurricanes unparalleled in strength, mighty earthquakes of greater ferocity, weather disturbances that pack fierce winds and heavily cascading torrents of rainwater — all these have been relentlessly taking place even in the unlikeliest places.
Hapless our geographical circumstance may be, our archipelagic country has had its share of environmental events without peer in recent memory. December 2018 for instance has become a somewhat subdued merry-making month if only for the anguish over what may well be the final storm to hit us this year. Call it a disrespect to a reverend mood, a surprising twist to an otherwise predictable revelry, we just aren’t used to weather aberrations blitzing through our hapless populace still swirling in mirth. Despite the turbulence’s Visayan path, we’re still mindful of what happens there. Any one man’s tragedy is every man’s after all. One man’s ill destiny is one too many.
Isn’t it just sad, very sad that compatriots would lose kin and possessions in an instant of suddenness brought about by a disrespecting environmental fury? Past disasters, Yolanda and Ondoy and lately Ompong and Rosita have shown in large measure our helplessness when maladies take place, even as government officials, national and local, just take turns blaming each other for nature’s outburst as if lives would be restored and properties regained when somebody else gets the comeuppance. It’s clearly Mother Earth simply reacting the way it’s been behaving all because mankind has not been resolute enough, determined enough, assertive enough, active enough to halt the continued depredation running across centuries.
Another year gone by, another getting in. Just like last time, we’d be welcoming the new one with fresh resolve, again more hopeful that environmental issues would be forcefully addressed this time, as we’ve done so last time. But, we must never forget that time is clearly not on our side this time. Not if we remain obstinate about going our wicked ways without minding what happens next. We’ve been told by scientists around the world to be more heedful of natural events and learn from their aberrant ways. Time and again, we’ve been warned, hard-headed as we are, that global solutions start with local efforts done collectively and in harmony with each other. Climate change is not just a household word but a real, genuine, honest-to-goodness happening that has been taking place out of our collective inaction, insensitivity, or plain greed, these many, many years.
To reiterate: not much progress has been attained to arrest greenhouse gas emissions to safe, livable levels. Since the Paris global accord has been forged two years ago, purposely for global efforts to bring down emission levels, not much success had been accomplished, from country to country, despite iron-clad pledges to abate the bombardment of the earth’s atmosphere of gases burned from fossil fuels. We just went on our greedy and wicked ways, simply because the business of gassing up is good for everybody’s business.
If we are to be faithful to our collective destiny as one global community, 2019 must be the year when we ought to be casting aside from activities that worsen the continuing folly of our everyday activities, from the machines that we hum to the engine that we rev up on the road. All that we need to do is to go and use clean energy and get to manage life in the only way possible — the right way. All that we must do is to get going with our life freed from the clutches of dirty energy, especially at this time when alternative energy sources a lot more needed for the environment are just waiting to be utilized. All that those of us with affordable resources should be doing is to plough more money into these new energy sources, and begin an honest-to-goodness dis-investment from traditional coal-sourced fuels. Walking the talk should be our first order for the first day of the year.
At year’s end, it is time to ring out the wicked ways of life. At year’s start, it is time to ring in fresh initiatives to give Mother Earth the overdue reprieve from the global havoc we have been inflicting all these merry-making years of our life.
It is time to believe that we all have a chance to if we’re convinced that for Mankind, time’s up.