Friday, March 31, 2017

Save the Trees this Palm Sunday. The Christian world loses millions and millions worth of palm trees every Palm Sunday.

This is a yearly appeal from this website addressed to the leaders of the Church, the faithfuls, and mankind as one. 
Let's plant trees instead and take good care of them. The  Christian world loses millions and millions worth of palm trees every Palm Sunday.  Coconut-based economy is the worse hit - the source of many domestic and export products, and the foundation of people's livelihood. The coconut is the most important tree in maintaining the balance of tropical ecosystems. 
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

Whatever happened to the sacredness of Palm Sunday!

Bundles of palm fronds (young leaves of coconut and other palm trees) attest to the  massive decimation of the palms in the Christian world.

Lavish observance of Lent while Nature suffers. 

Palm Sunday - the Day After

Let's join hands to save the trees  
  • Don't use young (bud) leaves of coconut for palaspas. You will kill the tree.
  • Conserve the Oliva or the Cycads. They are living fossils, older than the dinosaurs. They are now endangered.                                      Oliva or Cycad, a living fossil is now endangered. 
  • Don't strip the young leaves of buri and anahaw palms. They are now in the list of threatened species. 
  • Get only the mature leaves - never the young leaves or bud. Get only a small leaf or part of it. Don't be wasteful. 
  • There's no need for each faithful to carry palaspas. One for a whole family is enough.
  • Get substitute plants that are not ecologically endangered and economically threatened. (Examples: MacArthur's Palm, palmera, Areca or betel nut, bunga de Jolo, and 101 non-palm plants from bamboo to ground orchid). Use mature or older leaves - never the young leaves and buds.
  • Seek advice from your community and religious leaders, and environmentalists.

    Buri palm (Corypha) is now classified as threatened species
• Retreat and reflection is therapy, helps the mind and body release tension and do away with the effects of stress.

• Abstinence conserves animal population especially during the lean months, conserving breeding stocks - like seeds (binhi) – in order to multiply in the next season.

• To some religions pork is banned. Pork is a carrier of known parasites such as tapeworm, hookworm, and ascaris.

• On Palm Sunday trees are stripped off of their buds, leaves and stems. This is detrimental  to the environment especially in summer when plants face tight water regime. Millions of pesos worth of coconut trees, potential to provide nuts continuously for a period of up to 30 years, are simply sacrificed for a day's ritual. Endangered species such as the Cycad (Oliva), are pushed to the brink of extinction.

• Ancient religions regard certain places and trees sacred, thus enhancing their conservation. Such worship was replaced by later religions, thus losing their protection.

• The washing of feet is not only ritual, it is also sanitation, getting rid of germs and preventing their spread.

. Avoid dipping your fingers into the holy water bowl, and never wash your hands or face in it. Running holy water is best.

. Take communion on your palm, never with your tongue. Epidemic such as H1N1 (flu) can be spread this way.

Holding hands in prayer is discouraged also for health and sanitation, keeping ones privacy in reverence, notwithstanding. Kissing icons is likewise discouraged for the same reason. Wiping holy objects with handkerchief will only pick up germs.

. Paying last respect to the dead should be done with extreme care, especially if the cause of death is highly contagious like anthrax, Ebola and SARS. Remember the tragic death of some religious sisters who contacted Ebola from their dead colleague?

. Don't walk on your knees to the altar; kneeling in prayer is enough. Be kind to your knee tendon and kneecap; knee injury may incapacitate you permanently. "You re not growing younger," an elder advised me. Let's learn from athletes who retired early because of knee injury.

Removing shoes before entering a house of worship is an expression of respect and reverence, as well as for purposes of maintaining sanitation in the place. Any footwear carries dirt and germs, and may be teems with bacteria and fungi from long and intimate wear. This practice may not be as strict in Catholic churches as in Muslim mosques and Buddhist temples. Removing shoes in other places like prayer rooms, wakes, even homes, are becoming a popular practice.

. Many religious ceremonies are without the use of incense. Incense smoke and scent usually produce a pleasant and calming effect to the faithful. It is also an effective fumigant against flying and crawling insects. Its repellant effect helped keep down the spread of bubonic plague during the Middle Ages. The causal organism which killed a third of the population in the known world is carried by flea (Xenopsylla cheopis) that resides in rats. Incense comes in various preparations and offerings, candle sticks among the most common. Burning candles have similar but lesser effects. To get rid of flies around food, plant one or two burning candles to keep them at bay. Try it.

Sprinkling holy water with lotus flower before entering the Buddha Shrine. (Grand Palace, Bangkok)

Candle offering is often wasteful and dangerous. It also makes the place untidy. A lighted candle in an enclosed room reduces oxygen level while filling it with CO2 and the deadly Carbon Monoxide. (Our Lady of Manaoag Shrine, Manaoag Pangasinan.)

NOTE: I invite the readers to list down other religious practices - favorable and not - and send them through Comments. It will indeed enrich this article.

Proof of destruction on the altar of faith could be as evident as after a typhoon and other force majeure on the economy and environment. 

Coconut tops other coastal trees against the onslaught of tsunami and storm surge.  
(Acknowledgement: Internet and FAO photos)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Poster Making Contest Winners “Ating Pahalagahan, Sariling Likas na Yaman”

"Ating Pahalagahan, Sariling Likas na Yaman”
Lagro Elementary School, March 27, 2017
Ist Prize
“It’s a green world, a huge tree perched atop,
Symbolizing hope, strength  and stability;
Three in their youth on the guard beaming,  
Guardians of Nature’s bounty and beauty.”  avr
2nd Prize
“Whose hands these are, none other but Thee,
   Protector of the universe and man to be free.”   
3rd Prize
“What science and technology can do to humanity;
Two faces – good and bad – in dichotomy,
We would rather live in simplicity,
Once a choice and now duty.”  avr

 Other entries have significant messages as well, which can be summarized by the theme of the contest.
“Give me the sky and I'll keep it clean -
     the river, the lake and stream;
Give me the sky and I'll fly the biggest kite
     to lead a child to his dream
. “ avr
"Rainbow - likened to the cycle of life - its birth and death, glory and fall, its simplicity grandeur, its independence and attachment to all things, visible and invisible.” avr

 Sponsored by Miriam College
College of Business, Entrepreneurship and Accountancy
Conducted by students in BS Leisure and Tourism Management headed by Dr Ruby Alminar-Mutya, chairperson, and Miss Nikoliena DiƱo, ptrofessor-in- charge.  Dr Abercio V Rotor representing Lawin (Lagro Association of Writers and Artists Inc) served as one of the judges in the contest. Verses by Dr Abe V Rotor

Friday, March 24, 2017

Chronobiology: Take Heed of Your Biological Clock

The secret of the inner clock has led to the science of  chronobiology which provides a new approach to self analysis and therapy. 
"Living organisms take heed of their biological clock - except humans, in many cases." avr
Abercio V. Rotor, Ph.D.

Each one of us is governed by a built-in clock within. Everything we do is “timed;” it has a schedule. 

Author (left) and his students in the UST Graduate School

take time out in a field lecture. 

And this living clock controls our actions and behaviors. It is the key to survival; a tool in evolution ingrained in our genes. If that is so, are our biological clocks then synchronized?

Generally, yes. And that is why we all respond to common rules that society has set for us. We respond to the seasons of the year, each characterized by events we celebrate. We have standard working hours, and curfew. Weekends are set aside for rest and leisure. Summer means vacation. We observe three meals a day, coffee breaks, siestas, and the like.

Menstrual cycle, estrus periods, stages in growth and development – all these are controlled by inner rhythms dictated by that biological clock. So patterned are our laws and rules that we know well the best season to plant or to hunt, to plan weddings and inaugurations, to travel, to go to school, to have a date, to meditate, to be merry.
“There is a time for all things.” William Shakespeare
There’s time for everything.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to
every purpose under the heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant,
and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to
break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to
mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to
gather stones together; a time to embrace,
and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep,
and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep
silence, and time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war,
and a time of peace.
- Ecclesiastes

Chronobiologists classify this inner clock into five categories. However, the life span of a person should be viewed on this perspective* (AVR).

1. Ultradian - Less than a heartbeat

  • Fluctuation of energy
  • Attention span
  • Brain waves
2. Circadian (daily) day
  • Blood pressure level
  • Sleep wake cycle
  • Cell division
3. Circaseptan (weekly ) about a week
  • Rejection of kidney, heart, and pancreas transplants
4. Circatrigintan (monthly) about a month
  • Menstrual Cycle
5. Circannual (annual) about a year
  • Seasonal depression
  • Susceptibility to some diseases
*6. Vitae cyclum (life cycle)
  • Rapid development in Infancy to childhood 
  • Transformation to aadolescence 
  • Youthfulness - peak of vitae cyclum 
  • Physiologic decline into senility
Applied chronobiology. Let's take a look at these examples.  How do these apply to you?
1. Mental block. Memory lapses. Get focused, relax and free yourself of distractions.
2. Spark of genius. Learn from Archimedes (Eureka!), Handel (composer of Alleluia)
3. Surpassing ones record. What's your score? Athletes are keen at establishing new records of their own, such as in track and field, swimming, and shooting.
4. Compatibility. Formula of team work, applies to "love chemistry," too.
5. Topping a board examination. Or failing. Ride on life's high tide and low ebb.
6, Monday blues. Also morning blues, a sad feeling or just "lazy bones."
7. Glowing. Wow! You look specially pretty today. Beware of the opposite image.

8. Exceptional performance. The audience roars, Bravo, Encore. It's your show!
9. Carpe diem. Seize the moment. Opportunity knocks but once. Enjoy the day.
10. Not in the mood. Change to a favorable one. Have some respite. 
11. Accident prone. Be careful, be mindful always. It's Friday, the 13.
12. Postpone major decisions for better judgment.  Let a restful weekend pass.
13.  Hold your horses! Don't get emotional, specially on trivia matters. 
14. Misplaced your reading glass?  It's hanging on your forehead. Car key locked up?  It's in your other pocket.   
15. Incontinence is a sign of old age. But you must see your doctor.
16. What's your name again? Gina, Lolo. This is for you, Carol. Gina, Lolo.  
17. Sprained ankle,  dislocated finger bones, torn kneecap. Too much basketball, and you are not getting younger. Shift to golf, or just walking. 
18. Blurred vision and you're wearing 250 grade eyeglass. Hours of computer games. have worse consequences at old age. 
19. Tantrums are not unusual in childhood, not in adulthood. There's something wrong if this is not the case. 
20 Surprise, surprise. Things are changing fast. Be amazed, thrilled. Rejoice. 
Since ancient time human activities have been guided by a calendar based on a 365-day cycle with fractions adjusted to re-set its original reckoning. The Mayan calendar had 265.247 days, more accurate than the Gregorian calendar. The short lived French Revolution calendar gave way to the universally accepted calendar. A wall calendar today marks the months, weeks, seasons, relative length of day and night, phases of the moon, high tide and low tide. It carries important reminders of names and events, electronic timepiece, indicators of environmental conditions, other messages notwithstanding. All these have tremendous effects on our inner clock, which therefore make the calendar an important daily guide. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Moths - Masters of Camouflage and Mimicry (Part 1)

If I freeze your beauty and wear it on my heart,
I rob Nature, her grace apart; a star dies, so with art.

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog

Art of Camouflage 
Your artful disguise 
makes you invisible and free;  
Nature's given prize
of camouflage and mimicry.
Footprint Moth
If these two sets of footprints
lead to opposite directions, 
did you depart when  I needed you most?
What goodness did I lack?
"My child, you were alone 
and lost and I brought you back."
Kite Moth
It is not only that birds follow the sun
that the sky is filled with colors and laughter;
it is your body symmetry copied for fun,
that children believe they own the sky
and make imagination their best teacher,
even in their dreams to fly.
If your wings are for short takeoff and speed,
and your long antennae and infrared eyes 
defy the darkness of night, then I believe
someone has copied you in steel that flies. 
Jade Moth
If I freeze your beauty
and wear it on my heart,
I rob Nature, her grace apart; 
a star dies, so with art.
False Eyes
Whose eyes these are, real or just mask?
Why grotesque and cold, the children ask?
Unmoved, you simply sleep and wait 'til dawn,
and they ask again if they were your own.  
Stealth Moth
Man copied you but for another purpose;
peace and quiet you live, his intent is not,
but to rule the sky fiery by day and night; 
cheer up, for imitation will never be right.  
Falcon Moth
You are on the ceiling all alone
and the toad looking up
thinks of you a falcon;
in make-believe it's good to be up
with reverse role as predator;
everything's prey on the floor. 

Hidden Mirror on the Wall
No, it's not Paleolithic painting,
but hidden mirror on the wall:
Bless you creature in slumber waiting 
the light of the world to fall,
then seek a beacon in the night
where a pen draws its might.
Atlas Moth
Thought you could put one on Hercules,*
from the burden of the world you're free; 
so thought too, the dinosaurs in spree;
bigness is no guarantee no less;

birds fly on wings and hollow bones,
flies need not four wings but two,
none but the water strider glides best - 
be humble, bigness is weakness, too.  

* In Greek mythology, Atlas played trick on Hercules to take 
over him carry the globe; but Hercules was smarter, 
and the task fell back on poor Atlas.  
Ghost Moth
From visibility to invincibility;
first, keep low like ice in thaw; 
then, keep shape with the scape, 
wear some spots, add many dots;
last, you're ghost to any host.

Chameleon Moth 
Where comes the trigger I know 
are hormones by signal flow, 
masking colors, painting a view, 
to match a perfect scenario.
Lion Moth
You look like a lion without mane,
and that's why you look tame;
how in the world can you scare 
with your lonely, friendly stare. 
Prominent Moth
(How can you be prominent?)
Who would like you a frass lying still on crust,
feigning inanimate to pass the day in fast. 
Vesper Moth
You, who keep the faithful in vigil,
wearing a white stole over a holy robe - 
would being pious save you long?
Beaks and jaws simply don't care,
much less the order you belong
Tiger Moth
It is the tiger look that you seem respected,
else the mourning signal you send;
but whose view but the cruel beak instead
whose judgment lies your fateful end.  
Tapestry Moth
What you designed, man now claims his own,
yet it was your ancestors' pride before his dawn;
conditionally you gave, for a prize you crave,
by copying his art you may be saved. 
Poison Eater Moth
Moth feeding on the nectar of Lantana (Lantana camara
a poisonous and obnoxious plant
What secret have you on hemlock you thrive,
which once robbed the world of a great mind?
Come to where there's li'l left of faith and pride;
bless you little moth, a messenger divine.
Battered Moth
Wings chipped, scales rubbed,
antennae curled, finish scrubbed;
eggs laid, leg cut, coat creased,
grounded, mission accomplished. 
Wood Moth
You look beaten like an old wood,
weathered by rain and tear and sun,
yet full of life and in good mood
like a seasoned timber's stand.
Klan Moth
With robe and hood you come and pause
in dignity, a racist you hide;
reminder of the Fuhrer's cause,
the ignoble Ku Klux Khan's pride;
but if you're a true ambassador,
please bring tidings to every door.

Continued to Part II