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NO, THIS ISN’T ABOUT the kind of extremism that’s bringing peoples and governments on tenterhooks these days, ever since global terrorism has caught us feeling fearful, anxious, and on edge. Fact is, we can only wish that the extremism we’re seeing swirling all over this dear planet of ours, courtesy of the changing climes, would also give leaders everywhere else the same aggressive stance. Yes, it’s all about Mother Nature’s extreme weather behavior, and what we’re all taking for granted all these years.
Right here and now, the Philippines has been experiencing nature’s fight-back in utterly extreme conditions. When it’s hot, it’s very hot and deadly; on rainy days, floods recur in a matter of minutes, inundating everything on its lethal path. Archipelagic as our country is, coastal areas are shedding portions of shorelines. Elsewhere, erratic weather patterns have been taking place: expanding subtropical deserts, down-melting arctic glaciers.
Even our dear beloved city of Baguio has not been spared of the changing climes. At the slightest downpour, mountain soil loosens up; estero banks get whiplashed; erosion takes place in alarming regularity. In recent years, the rainy months have changed course, from the July-August sked to an October-November timeline.
Why has Mother Earth gone extreme? How did all these weather mis-behavior, if we can call it, develop? We are grimly reminded that we are where we are now due to our own mis-behaving ways, repeatedly done since four centuries ago. Scientists the world over have warned us that beginning 1750, human activities have relentlessly produced a 40% increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, resulting from combustion of fossil fuel principally coal, oil, natural gas, along with deforestation, soil erosion and animal agriculture.
In short, since that far back in the mid-18th century, we’ve been abusing our fragile environment, wreaking havoc on our precious ecosystem that has been our lifeline into the future. Experts are now saying that by 2047, the earth’s surface temperature would have drastically altered, enough to ignite mankind’s own ill-fated annihilation and extinction.
Doomsday will materialize for sure. Unless, we bring down the level of massive pollution now afflicting the planet. Unless we reduce dramatically the greenhouse gas emissions into the earth’s atmosphere. Unless the world’s leading polluters that the United States and China have become in just 50 years of wanton mis-behavior are brought to heel for their extremely errant ways. Unless individually and collectively, peoples and leaders take it as their supreme legacy to do today what should have been done many yesteryears ago to secure a future of responsible stewardship of the only planet we can pass on to the next inhabitants.
Governments may have a Paris accord to guide their ways. Leaders may demonstrate resolve in ensuring that nations will abide by iron-clad agreements. But, in the end, it is people — yes, you and I and the rest of all us — who must do its share, even the most extreme of sacrifices to keep Planet Earth a worthy hand-over liberated from the clutches of fossil fuel, free enough to act locally as our global response beyond the borders of our self-serving attitudes.