Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Part 3: Tropical Rainforest's Last Stand

Dr Abe V Rotor

Tagaytay Ridge is fast losing its forest cover to land conversion and erosion.
Stricter land use policy and environmental protection are crucial and urgent.

A long list of vanished and vanishing species - even those that have not been discovered and named – haunts the human species, Homo sapiens, the most intelligent of all creatures. If this is not an evidence of the original sin which he continues to commit since his early ancestors were driven from Paradise, then we are merely being led to believe in something bound by deep faith, and in something supernatural.

Every time we destroy a forest, a coral reef, or grassland, we are repeating the fault of our ancestors. The biblical story is fiction if we fail to grasp its essence. True, exile comes in many ways. But definitely, if an ecosystem is destroyed, if it loses its capacity to provide the basic needs of its inhabitants, starvation, death, and other forms of deprivation follow. Does this not trigger exile – or exodus, which is the ultimate recourse for survival?

Here is a poem I wrote upon reaching Tagum. It is about the destruction of a forest I related in the first part of this article.

Lost Forest

Staccato of chirping meets the breeze and sunrise,
Waking the butterflies, unveiled by the rising mist;
Rush the stream where fishes play with the sunbeam
And the rainforest opens, a stage no one could miss,
With every creature in a role to play without cease.

John Milton wrote his masterpiece of Paradise,
While Beethoven composed sonata with ecstasy,
Jean Fabre and Edwin Teale with lens in hand
Discovered a world Jules Verne didn’t see,
And Aldo Leopold’s ecosystem's unity.

For how long to satiate man’s greed can nature sustain?
It was not long time ago since progress became a game,
Taking the streets, marching uphill to the mountain,
Where giant machines roar, ugly men at the helm -
Folly, ignorance and greed are one and same.

Philippine Dipterocarp forests occupied almost 14 million hectares in 1960 What is left today is only three million hectares. The average rate of decline is over 2 percent annually. What is more alarming is the decline in the volume of trees in the forest which around 6 percent in the last 40 years. All over the world, annual deforestation represents an area as large as Luxemburg. This means every tick of the clock is a hectare of rainforest permanently erased from the globe. ~

Living with Nature 3, AVR

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