Advocating for Forest Protection and Green Energy

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By Art Tibaldo

Consumer Atbp.

Monday, March 30, 2015

SAVE Mother Earth! This has been the battle cry of many protesters since man started to cut trees for timber, raze mountains for minerals and drill lands for oil as necessary requisite in what we consider as industrial growth and community development. Telltale sign from ancient civilization reveals stories of how time changed throughout the ages. The extinction of flora and fauna species has long been noted and written about and scientists developed new breeds and genetically modified organisms. They say that it is now the age of the millennial and those who were babies after the Second World War like couples Bill and Hillary Clinton are now senior citizens and those of my age group above the forty-niners are frequenting their doctors more regularly with advices oh healthy living and restriction from processed food. Well, time has indeed changed. Caring and protecting the land, vegetation, water and air that provide food, shelter and sustenance to dear life must be one of the foremost duties of the thinking inhabitants of this planet. We have already suffered much to what educated people refer to as collateral damage or calculated risks. We all want to live in a clean environment, breathe fresh unpolluted air, drink clean water and eat food free of chemicals and genetic alterations.

Today, environmental advocates from all over the world has found social media and text messaging as an effective platform for information dissemination and knowledge sharing. Just over the weekend, we have attended our sixth or seventh Earth Hour activity that got a big push locally in 2009 when a tremendous increase of Facebook users joined the bandwagon for such advocacy. The Aquino administration particularly the Department of Energy and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources partnered with local government units and many corporations and big mall took this light switching off activity as part of their corporate social responsibility. At one time, the city’s biggest mall tapped me as a performer and I involved local musicians in that one hour program where I played my African Djembe drum and howled with my version of a caveman’s cry. The recent program that was held at the Baguio City Hall grounds missed the presence of Ramon Dacawi, the stalwart advocate and project manager of the world renowned Eco-Walk. Mondax was not around perhaps because the last of his three-in-a week dialysis prevented him from joining the Earth Hour program. Present during Baguio’s Earth Hour is DENR Sec. Ramon Paje who witnessed Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Congressman Nicasio Aliping and the city’s cultural group perform a ritual that invoke divine intervention for the protection of the environment. In his Earth Hour message seconds before the globally synchronized one hour electricity switch-off, the DENR Secretary said that the present administration of Aquino government is pushing all green energy power generations like the use of wind, solar, geothermal and hydro power systems that seeks to reduce fossil fuel consumption thereby saving the atmosphere with millions of tons of pollutants. With the one hour synchronized switch-off, the world collectively is saved from millions worth of fossil fuel Paje said before the switching-off with Domogan and Aliping. For our case, we also took advantage of a recent hardware sale at the big mall where we got price reduced LED lamps for a guaranteed cut in electric consumption. This time, it was my wife who convinced me to change all our compact fluorescent lamps into the more economical light emitting diode lamps.

Just a recall or blast from my early social media encounters, I appreciate for maintaining my 2005 account that still carry what I have posted about an activity that we pushed before and the very popular Facebook took over. In 2006, few days before the end of October, I sent text messages to several newsmen and few Baguio residents. The message goes in broken words: "Help drum up the need to protect our remaining forest on Saturday October 28 by taking part in the 24 Hours in Busol pictorial at the watershed. Come with your digital or film cameras and shoot what is happening at Baguio's source of water. Images of participants will be posted on a website about Busol".


As a result, a motley group of interested individuals showed up at the said forest and a website using the free portal by Tripod.Com was created. What started this and how did I came to be involved? It was back in the early 90s when we were still applying for radio accreditation and licenses by the National Telecommunication Commission for our two-way radios. Just a year after the killer earthquake shook and devastated Baguio, we organized a group of amateur and practicing photojournalists and documented the city in its state of reconstruction. Again in August 27-28, 1997 when the former American Air Base Camp John Hay was about to be redeveloped into what it is today, a similar project was again initiated following the "a-day-in-a-life" concept of photo documentation.

Following an alarming report presented during a regular Baguio Regreening Movement (BRM) meeting on the condition of the Busol forest when I was still an active member, I took upon myself to engage potential eco-warriors who can help drumbeat the protection of the city's remaining source of water. It is just sad that one of those who attended the 2006 Busol forest encounter and powwow has gone to the great pastureland up in the heavens. A fellow lover of photography and son of my godmother, the late Dr. Florita Garcia, Ces Garcia will always be in my memory as a true eco-warrior and earth angel.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 31, 2015.


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