Friday, May 12, 2017

LAWIN* Lecture Series 2 - "Managing the environment starts with us."

LAWIN Lecture Series 2 - In observance of the 2017 UN International Day of Biological Diversity, May 22; Earth Day, April 22; and Environment Day, June 5, 2017 
      The environment, more than anything else, is us. Managing the environment therefore starts with us. 
(* Lagro Association of Writers and Artists, QC)
Dr Abe V Rotor

  1. The NATURAL ENVIRONMENT is governed by Homeostasis, based on the principle of dynamic balance. “Nature knows best when left alone with her own laws and rules.”

2. The ENVIRONMENT is a steady state of Matter and Energy Interrelationship (through biochemical and geophysical interactions, and the flow and transformation of energy in the living and non-living world.)

3. ENVIRONMENT is gauged by its Carrying Capacity (productivity) and Biological Diversity (adaptability)

4. ENVIRONMENT is the cradle and bastion of Natural History and Culture.

Mackie 4, author's grand daugther before a wall mural of nature painted by the author, QC 
5. ENVIRONMENT is the center of worships, festivities and beliefs – and Reverence for Life.

6. ENVIRONMENT offers challenges and joy through discovery, serendipity and adventure.

7. BUILT ENVIRONMENT refers to constructed surroundings -infrastructures and settlements, modified by culture and society.

8. SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT enshrines the institutions built through time, beginning with the family and expanding to global cooperation.

9. ENVIRONMENT offers the ultimate in Aesthetics, which encompasses the Humanities and the Arts
. Photos: Marikina Valley, a dying ecosystem. Millions of trees and palms are sacrificed every Palm Sunday. Potential loss in coconut alone is immeasurably high, affecting farmers and the industry.

10. ENVIRONMENT and Ecology (Greek οίκος, "household"; and logos, "knowledge"). Ecology is the scientific study of the environment.

We are destroying the Earth - our only ship in space.
1. Changing Environment, influenced by man, breeds a variety of ailments and diseases. Nature-Man Balance, the key to good health is being threatened.
2. What and Where is the so-called Good Life? The Good Life is shifting with the transformation of agricultural to industrial economy.

3. The Good Life is synonymous to Affluence. People want goods and services beyond what they actually need. Want leads to luxury - to waste.

4. The world’s population is 7 billion. Another billion will be added in less than 10 years. Runaway population is the mother of human miseries

5. The proliferation of cities, growth of cities to metropolises and megapolises, each with 10 to 20 million people ensconced in cramped condition. Cities breed Marginal communities

6. Loss of Natural Environment – loss of productivity, loss of farmlands, and wildlife. Destruction of ecosystems - lakes, rivers, forests, coral reefs, grasslands, etc. Destruction of ecosystems is irreversible.
7. Species are threatened, many are now extinct, narrowing down the range of biodiversity. Human health depends largely on a complex interrelationship of the living world. No place on earth is safe from human abuse. Coral Reef – bastion of terrestrial and marine life, is now in distress.(Photo: Reflection of deer in a fountain, UST Manila

On-the-spot drawing of Nature at author's residence, San Vicente, Ilocos Sur 
8. Wildlife shares with our homes, backyards and farms, transmitting deadly diseases like SARS, HIV-AIDS, Mad-Cow, FMD, Ebola, and Bird Flu which can now infect humans, allergies notwithstanding.

9. “Good Life” cradles and nurses obesity and other overweight conditions. Millions of people around the world are obese, with 34% of Americans in the US obese.

10. Global warming stirs climatic disturbance, changes the face of the earth.

11. Globalization packages the major aspects of human activity – trade, commerce, industry, agriculture, the arts, education, science and technology, politics, religion and the like.

12. Mélange of races - pooling of genes through inter-racial and inter-cultural marriages produces various mixed lines or “mestizos” - Eurasian, Afro-Asian, Afro-American, Amerasian, and the like. Native genes provide resistance to diseases, adverse conditions of the environment. But will this advantage hold on even as the native gene pools are thinned out?

13. Modern medicine is responsible in reducing mortality and increasing longevity. It has also preserved genetically linked abnormalities; it cradles senility related ailments. It made possible the exchange of organs and tissues through transplantation, and soon tissue cloning. It has changed Evolution that is supposed to cull out the unfit and misfits. Man has Darwinism in his hands.

14. The first scientific breakthrough is the splitting of the atom that led to the development of the atomic bomb as the most potent tool of war as evidenced by its destruction at Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and the nuclear reactor which still holds the promise of providing incessant energy to mankind. The second scientific breakthrough – Microchip led to the development of the Internet which “shrunk the world into a village.”

16. The third breakthrough in science, Genetic Engineering, changed our concept of life - and life forms. It has enabled man to tinker with life itself. Revolutionary industries Examples: In vitro fertilization, surrogate motherhood, Human Genome Project (HGP or gene mapping), multiple childbirth, post-menopausal childbirth, DNA mapping, etc. Birth of the prototype human robot – pampered, he lives a very dependent life.

17. Genetic Engineering gave rise to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and Gene Therapy. It has also primed Biological Warfare into a more terrifying threat to mankind and the environment. On the other hand Gene Therapy aims at preventing gene-link diseases even before they are expressed; it has actually revolutionized medicine. More and more countries are banning GMO crops and animals through legislative measures and conservation programs, including protection against “biopiracy”

18. Today’s Green Revolution opened up non-conventional frontiers of production – mariculture, desalination, desert farming, swamp reclamation, aerophonics (rooftop farming), hydroponics, urban farming, organic farming, Green Revolution adapts genetic engineering to produce GMOs and Frankenfoods. We may not be aware, but many of us are eating genetically modified food (GMF or Frankenfood) everyday – meat, milk, chicken, corn, potato and soya products, and the like mainly from the US. Many food additives and adjuncts are harmful, from salitre in longganiza to pesticide residue in fruits and vegetables, aspartame in fruit juice to MSG in noodles, formalin in fish to dioxin in plastics, bromate in bread to sulfite in sugar, antibiotic residue in meat to radiation in milk.

• Hydroponics or soiless culture makes farming feasible in cramped quarters, and it increases effective area of farming.
. Aeroponics or Multi-storey farming Vertical Farming - farming in the city on high rise buildings 
• Post Harvest Technology. is critical to Food Production. PHT bridges production and consumption, farm and market, thus the proliferation of processed goods, supermarket, fast food chains, food irradiation, ready-to-eat packs, etc.

19. Exploration into the depth of the sea and expanse of the Solar System - and beyond. We probe the hadal depth of the ocean. We build cities in space - the Skylab. Soon we will live outside of the confines of our planet earth. Now we aim at conquering another planet, another Solar System to assure continuity of mankind after the demise of the earth.

20. Regional and International Cooperation is key to global cooperation: EU, ASEAN, APEC, CGIAR, ICRISAT, WTO, WHO, UNEP, WFO, FAO, like fighting pandemic diseases – HIV-AIDS, SARS, Dengue, Hepatitis, Bird Flu, etc.

Apostles for the Environment

1. When spring comes without stir, “don't go gentle into the night,” rise and find out where have all the birds gone to herald the new season, the new beginning of life. 

2. When the monsoon ends too soon, summer sets early, the land scorched, the rivers and ponds dried up, warn of the coming of a severe El Niño phenomenon.

3. When algal bloom in make-believe proportion spreads in lakes, sound the alarm of fish kill coming to avert losses and hunger, and save the ecosystem. 

4. When people move to cities in exodus, convince them, advise government, it is a tender trap that takes them away from the real Good Life on the countryside. 
5. When clouds simply pass over the landscape, take the lead to reforest the hills and mountains, restore the watershed with a million and one trees.

6. When flood sweeps the land taking with it lives and properties, and eroding soil fertility, be part of rehabilitation and planning; believe that flood can be tamed. 

7. When you find an abundance of lichens of different types on trees and rocks, assure residents of the pristine condition of their environment, and help them to preserve it. 

8. When and where wildlife areas are shrinking, backyards and idle lots can be developed as alternative wildlife sanctuary, initiate this as a community project.

9. When asked what vegetables are safe from pesticide residues and chemicals from fertilizers, promote native species like malunggay, kamote tops, gabi, saluyot, and the like, they are also more nutritious and easy to grow.

10. When asked of Nature's way of maintaining the ecosystem, explain the role of nitrogen-fixing microorganisms, composting, symbiosis, among other natural processes  and cycles.

11. When additives are found in food - MSG, Nutrasweet or any artificial sugar, salitre in sausage, sulfite in white sugar, melamin in milk, formalin in fish, warn the public against taking these, initiate through legislation and campaign to ban these additives.

12. When children spend too much time before the TV, on computers, and other gadgets, offer alternatives more favorable to their upbringing and well-being by getting close to nature like camping, gardening and other outdoor activities.

13. When old folks talk about traditional wisdom and values, demonstrate native skills, listen and translate them into useful applications, disseminate these in school and through extension.

14. When animals are restless, reptiles and rodents coming out of their burrows and dens, fish attempting to escape, fowls noisy, suspect the coming of a force majeure such as  earthquake, and be alert to face possible consequences.
15. When epidemic threatens an area, say bird flu, initiate community cooperation with health and other institutions to prevent further spread of the disease.

16. When a child has little concern about the environment, teach him, guide him to explore the beautiful world of nature, and make him realize his importance and his role.
17. When there is a worthy movement to save the environment, such as Clean and GreenPiso sa Pasig, or any local campaign, lead and extend your full support.
18. When there are farms and fishponds neglected or abandoned, find out how these are put back to their productive conditions, or converted into a wildlife sanctuary. 

19. When at rest or in confinement for health reason, explore natural remedies with plants, pet therapy, and other proven remedies 
The Holy Father plants a tree
20. When on a fine Sunday morning you hear birds in the trees, fish splashing in a pond, and plants bloom, say a prayer of praise and thanksgiving in music and poetry, painting, or simply a reflection of the magnificence o f creation. 

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