HOW time flies! Soon it will be 2018 and so many things are happening now-a- days before you can even make a sense out of it. But while this may be so, yet, what is of substance is not just the unfolding of events as these may just be meaningless unless we subject them to some analyses and reflections. There were awesome and amazing happenings in the past worthy of our utmost reflection, more on transformation not only on the changing of the dates but on what really matters: which is on the shift of paradigms and mindset.
Some four-score years ago during the height of the people’s struggle against British colonial rule in India, Mahatma Gandi’s “Satyagraha” (Love Force) approach to liberate his people from the clutches of Imperialism had manifested a principle that was not given much attention then but is now reverberating through-out the world. Gandhi’s simple statement was, “If man has to be saved from doom, development must be in harmony with nature and not at its expense.”
In the Philippines, we have a more precise declaration from a Lumad leader foretelling of an impending disaster if we continue on sacrificing nature in the name of so-called progress, “Only when you have cut the last tree, only when you have caught the last fish, only when you have dried the last river, only then will you realize that you cannot eat your money.”
An environmentalist from Canada has even a more horrible prediction, “At the rate we are destroying the ozone layer and the world’s resource base and subjecting to extinction some 100 species of flora and fauna every day, what seems unimaginable may become possible, which is, the end of life on Earth.”
In the light of the present ecological disasters we are now experiencing, we should now do some reflections with reference to the above-mentioned warnings that have not been taken heed-of at all. Have the loggers not decimated our forests? Have industries not treated bays and rivers as their waste pits? Have costly agricultural technologies tied-up to the use of heavy toxic chemicals not continuously promoted and practiced though there are more ecologically sustainable ways? And isn’t it that all of these were done in the name of development?
It behooves upon us now to examine the dominant paradigm, in whose name and for whose cause, advancing the common good has been pursued but has only been successful in inflicting massive destruction to the ecosystems, our very means to life. That kind of “development” is anchored on growth-at-all-cost strategies; it is extractive as it is consumerist, based on the “money-must-grow” principle.
That paradigm is now described as a giant off-balance. So as not to fall, it must run. And in running, it destroys everything it finds in it path, i.e., rivers, bays, forests, agricultural lands, communities, indigenous cultures, etc. It continues building military arsenals capable of killing mankind forty times over. Because of it, we are now losing Mother Earth, that is, if we have not lost Her already.
That economic system oftentimes follows trickle-down approach described, that as if, we allow sparrows to pick on something that has already passed the digestive tracts of cattle.
We cannot continue on pursuing the unsustainable pattern of resource exploitation that only survives by whetting the consumerist appetite that has produced a throw-away materialistic, consumerist society. The message has always been, spend, buy this, buy that, so that you will be happy.
As you spend, the economy will prosper, then, you will have more money. And because you have now money, you can buy more and more. What to buy? All that the modern technologies can offer in efficiently exploiting our non-renewable resources from the bosom of Mother Earth. That is the meaning of extractive and consumerist. That is the meaning of the money-must-grow principle. It is “pacman-like” diabolical monster gulping-up everything it sees --the forest, mega-diversity, the ozone layer and even all life-forms on Earth.
And because we have allowed that at the expense of our spirituality and that of the Earth, nature’s fury is upon us now! That love-force of Gandhi, that pure spirituality of our Indigenous People that gives high adherence to the Laws of Nature, that ecological warning from a Canadian Environmentalist, must now change our mindset. Only then can we be saved from doom!
That kind of reflection of change not only on dates but on paradigm has indeed come of age.