Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Heroes for Mother Earth

Today, rather than defending himself against nature, man has realized that he needed to defend nature against himself.
Dr Abe V Rotor
 Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
August 31 heroes day Philippines 

Man throughout evolution struggled to survive the harsh environment. This reminds us of the gargantuan task of building of the Panama and Suez canals where man was pitted against wilderness. Remember the days of the pioneers, the travails of Albert Schweitzer in penetrating the heart of Africa. Three thousand years ago, Alexander the Great died of malaria on the banks of Tigris-Euphrates rivers.
Endangered Earth in acrylic by the author
Then in the past century man began to dominate nature and soon attempted to overrun the planet. It was a 360 degrees turn. Today, rather than defending himself against nature, he has realized that he needed to defend nature against himself.

This is the beginning of a new environmental movement. Leaders of this movement are acclaimed protectors of our home – our only home, Planet Earth. They are regarded as the new breed of heroes. Now, who are these heroes? As we go through these names and analyze their contributions we hope to be able to understand this new concept of heroism.

Theodore Roosevelt, often referred to as Teddy or TR, was an American statesman, author, explorer, soldier, naturalist, and reformer who served as the 26th President of the United States, from 1901 to 1909.

  • Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) was the first president to make conservation as a national policy.
  • Ernest Schumacher (1911-1977) did not believe in endless growth, mega-companies and endless consumption, His book Small is Beautiful became a best seller. 

Ernst Friedrich "Fritz" Schumacher was an internationally influential economic thinker, statistician and economist in Britain, serving as Chief Economic Advisor to the UK National Coal Board for two decades. Wikipedia
  • Barbara Ward (1914-1981) is the author of Only One Earth which shaped the UN environmental conference.
  • E.O. Wilson (1929- ) founded sociobiology in the 70s, saying that such human behvior as sexuality, aggression and altruism had a genetic basis. Recently he articulated the importance of bio-diversity in keeping the Earth healthy.

Edward Osborne "E. O." Wilson FMLS is an American biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist and author. His biological specialty is myrmecology, the study of ants, on which he is considered to be the world's leading expert. Wikipedia
  • Paul Crutzen (1933- ), F. Sherwood Rowland (1927- ) and Mario Molina (1943- ) showed that man-made chemicals, the major culprit chloro-fluoro-carbons or CFC, destroys the ozone layer. The 1987 Montreal Protocol phased out CFC. Nobel prizes were given to the three scientists.
  • Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1910-1995? ) Oceanographer and showman, espoused the need to arrest the declining health of the oceans.
  • Rachel Carson (1009-1964) Mother of modern environmentalism, wrote Silent Spring documenting the deadly carnage of wrought by pesticides.
Rachel Louise Carson was an American marine biologist and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.
  • Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) advocated the total protection of certain wilderness areas, established the land ethic which is summed up, “anything that harms an ecosystem is ethically and aesthetically wrong.”
  • Barry Commoner (1917- ) Paul Revere in ecology, one of the first scientist to worry about the deteriorating environment, organized the eco-based Citizens’ Party ticket which paved a new political movement.
    Barry Commoner was an American biologist, college professor, and politician. He was a leading ecologist and among the founders of the modern environmental movement.
  • Wangari Muta Maathai was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. She was educated in the United States at Mount St. Scholastica and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as the University of Nairobi in Kenya.
  • Wangari Maathai (1940- ) activist, organized the Green Belt Movement against reckless development in Kenya, stopped construction of a 69-storey office tower in a vital public space.
  •  Robert Hunter (1941- ) and Paul Watson (1950- ) pioneers of Greenpeace, then founder a more radical eco-organization, Sea Shepherd Conservation, and latest, Greenspeak and Frankenfood which are against genetically modified foods.
  • Medha Patkar (1954- ) activist, forced WB to withdraw support Sardar Sarovar Dam along India’s Narmada River, saving half a million villagers from being displaced.
  • Chico Mendes (1944-1988) Brazil environmental conscience, formed human barriers whenever chain saws and bulldozers threatened the rainforest, cut down by ranchers’ bullets.
There are many other Heroes for the Planet Earth, unknown and unsung. On the part of the church, St. Francis of Assisi is regarded as the patron saint of ecology. In ancient times, Aristotle was the first naturalist of global significance, and whose works are still relevant today.

Among the philosophers, Henry David Thoreau is known for his discourse on human liberty and survival in “Walden Pond” which still stirs imagination on how one man can live alone in the wilderness yet retains his rationality. 

When Mac-liing was gunned down by unknown assailants for openly protesting the government’s Upper Chico River dam project his image was that of a rebel rather than one who was fighting for the preservation of the ancestral lands of the Kalingas. Thousands of hectares were to disappear under water when the dam is completed, a case similar to Pantabangan dam which forever submerged a whole town, vast farmlands and forests.

We have our own national hero Dr. Jose Rizal as an environmentalist in exile at Dapitan, and a naturalist even when he was a boy.
Philippine national hero Jose Rizal as a student

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