Friday, July 3, 2015

The Rise of Naturalism (Part 1)

Challenges to naturalism  
Naturalism is a personal philosophy of life and everyday living.  It offers practical solutions to the many ills of excess capitalism being inflamed by consumerism.  Naturalism speaks of a healthy and harmonious relationship between man and his environment which is the key to the principle of sustainability. AVR
 Dr Abe V Rotor
  Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
Harvest Time, mural detail by the author. 
 Air pollution, Paris France 

All over the world people are "going back to Nature." They eat food grown without chemicals, wear   clothes made of plant fiber, live in homes designed with the landscape.

They have learned to avoid genetically modified food, cuisine of unknown ingredients, and vitamin capsules claiming panacea. They shun from drug dependent medical treatments.

They find more time with family, friends, hobbies and relaxation. They have become wiser to know the difference between necessity and want, affluent and austere living.  

Many are moving out of the city and settle down on homestead, or country home in various versions of our own Nipa Hut where simplicity and food sufficiency make living happy and healthy.  

These new breed of environment-friendly advocates are less dependent on the supermarket and the shopping mall. They have freed themselves in many respects from the burden of postmodern living, a kind of freedom from the clout of a materialistic culture, from the entrapment of corporate domination, from the artificiality of things made beautiful, and from the restlessness in living on the fast lane.  

Challenges to naturalism

1.  Kamachile tree killed to give way to a road.

Naturalism is not new to us, by human nature we love the environment, we are hurt if it is destroyed; a tree is akin to our well-being as it gives food, oxygen, and shade.  

It buffers strong wind and filters dusts.  It anchors the soil from erosion as it binds silt before it is washed away. 
 A half century old kamachile (Pithecolobium dulce) deliberately killed (see girdle) to give way to a barangay road. Bantay Ilocos Sur. 
It absorbs  carbon dioxide which we and animals exhale, and exhange it with life-sustaining oxygen. 

A tree is home of many organisms. The death of one big tree means the death of its tenants and symbionts, and displacement of transient organisms like birds, insects and reptiles. It's indeed a requiem to a small living world. 

2. Red sunset - indicator of dirty, poisonous air

It may be romantic, but sad.  The air we breath is a potpourri of gases spewed by cars, factories, and products of modern living from automizer to freon.  

Many of these substances do not settle down to earth but remain up in the sky visible as smog, a contraction of smoke and fog.  It is the invisible materials that destroy our health, affecting all eight systems in our body with our lungs the most vulnerable and the entry to various organs - heart to kidney to brain

When it rains these gases are carried down, funneled by the  watersheds down to rivers abnd lakes and ultimately to the sea. Even areas away of the path - farms and pastures decline in productivity. 
  Red sunset means foul air, MM

It's a long stretch of destruction that continues  and worsens as long as pollution is not checked. 

And what would be the long term consequences? Acid rain destroys the very base of production.  Dioxin, the most potent man-made poison, kills at very low dosage. Rain water is no longer potable, even as it feeds the wells and spring.      

3. Rising sea and tidal wave consequences of global warming

The sea is rising, the shoreline shrinking. 

Because many cities sit by the bay and on river banks, displacement of millions is expected to worsen. On low lying islands in the Pacific like Kiribati of the Micronesian group of islands residents are forced to leave their homes permanently. 
Seaside battered by tidal waves in Morong, Bataan
We can only imagine how difficult it is to leave home and never see it again.  We call forcible evacuation as ecological migration.    

Swamps are formed and spread out;  salt intrusion destroys farmlands, fishponds are submerged, salination changes the structure and composition of lakes and rivers. To what extent? We can only guess how our children and grandchildren will inherit the worst scenario. 

The Arctic has been reduced to one half, the edges of Antarctica are falling off, the glaciers are disappearing. Greenland is being watched closely - its melting is likely to cause a considerable increase in sea level enough to change the map of the world.

4. Floods, Floods - Modern Noah's curse

There is flood at any given time and place on earth.

Certain theories are down-to-earth occurences, like flood.  A fine day and suddenly a thunderstorm dumps water equivalent to a month's rainfall. 
Typical scene of flooding. Typhoon Sandy at the Eastern US 2012 
The pattern of rainfall has drastically changed.  Rain forming mechanism is now influenced by loss of green cover, sprawling settlements in magacities, swirling atmosphere stirred by air transportation.

Altered water course by reclamation and dams, pollution in air changing  its composition, abuses in land use policies - or no policies at all.  These among others bring Noah to memory. But didn't Noah - like us - helped cause flood by cutting down forest after forest to build superstructures like Noah's version of a "floating world?"
5. Garbage - by-product of affluence

Affluence has a bigger and worse by-product - poverty.

Cities make a Janus face, one happy, the other sad; one of high rise buildings, the other of shanties; one of high social standing, the other of marginal existence. 

And yet garbage is a "resource whose use is not being tapped, or yet to be tapped." "Garbage is ones waste, but another's need." These of course are but rhetoric, adages.

Payatas, Smokey Mountain, and similar sprawling dumpsites all over the world, speak of an antithesis of progress, a world of the poor and dejected, degenerated from the advances of civilization.

Payatas dumpsite in QC, a garbage community

Living with Nature on the Internet and Radio  
Living with Nature-School on Blog was initiated by the author in May 2010 as a conduit of Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School on Air), offering the website viewer and the radio broadcast audience a simulcast audio-visual session of a particular topic/s for the day. The website ( makes the lessons available jointly or independently open worldwide.       

To date (May 2910 ro July 2015), there are more than one million pageviews.  Topics of interests (top ten) are indicated, so with the participating countries, on daily, weekly and monthly basis other than the continuing total visitors record. PBH audience, other than blog viewers, are monitored by its sponsors (DZRB-PBS), which has 32 stations nationwide and worldwide access on the Internet. There are two satellite websites - Naturalism - The Eighth Sense and A Naturalist World of Dr Abe V Rotor. Selected articles from the Blog have been published in a series of books (Living with Nature Series), and in the author's column (Okeyka Apong) in Bannawag Weekly Magazine.  


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