I am calling on all Filipinos for a change in attitude and lifestyle in an effort to address the various environmental problems besetting the country, including global warming and climate change. Putting the blame on the government every time a calamity strikes the country will not help; what is needed is a change in our attitude towards the environment.
A change in attitude is what we need. The solution must start within ourselves. Throwing garbage anywhere and driving smoke-belching cars contribute in accelerating the destruction of the ozone layer and the human species.
It is high time that people, even without prodding from the government, start protecting the environment to avoid the adverse impacts of climate change. “Typhoon “Ondoy” is a clear example of what climate change and global warming can do to humanity if we continue to show indifference to nature.
Both the natural and man-made drainage systems did not work during the onslaught of “Ondoy” because of garbage blocking waterways that resulted in the flooding of the whole of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna.
If majority of our countrymen practice waste segregation and recycling, the number of dumpsites will be reduced, thereby cutting on methane gas emission. Methane gas is more potent than any other greenhouse gases that destroy the ozone layer.
I am also urging the public to plant more trees and conserve energy. Planting trees is one of the most effective mitigation efforts in combating climate change. A single tree can absorb 0.56MT of carbon dioxide in its lifetime.
During the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the DENR and the Philippine Rotary Districts and launching of The RotaTree Planting Project, I emphasized that the agreement with the Rotary Districts to plant more trees is very timely after “Ondoy”. The Rotarians have committed to plant a million trees nationwide in three years, even as they planted 30 seedlings of indigenous species such as ebony, balitbitan, molave, ipil, guijo, dao and kupang in the ceremonial tree planting at the grounds of Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Nature Center, launching RotaTREE Planting Project.
Under the MOA, the DENR will identify suitable areas for the tree planting project through global positioning systems (GPS) and assist in preparing the organization’s 3-year development plan, in accordance with DENR’s upland development program.
The DENR has also agreed to provide technical assistance and guidance in species-site matching, plantation establishment and proper maintenance of planted tree seedlings.
The Rotary Districts, on the other hand, will implement the project in the designated areas consistent with the approved development plan.
The Rotary Districts also agreed to provide counterpart resources intended for labor, materials and other contributions for the implementation of the program and conserve existing vegetation both man-made and natural and promote biodiversity conservation in the project areas.