The past ten days have been full of tragedy, terror and tears for the people of Japan who were touched in one way or another by the catastrophic earthquake and resulting tsunami that destroyed whole villages and piled high debris and mud along the coastline and for kilometers of inland farmland. Plus the uncertainty of possible nuclear meltdown in their nuclear power plants. As we watched the TV coverage and read the FB stories, our tears flowed and our hearts bled for those affected while at the same time we offered prayers for the souls of those so suddenly taken from life.
What is the message here? Media commentators are still surmising, wondering, blaming, and putting forth both informed and uninformed opinions for us to believe or not to believe. The sanest comments that I have read were those of Sara Soliven de Guzman in her March 4 column in the Philippine Star. After citing facts and figures about the Ring of Fire, volcanoes, earthquake zones, environmental awareness projects and the present culture of materialism and selfishness, she opines that these times of crisis should be viewed as a wake-up call, an awakening of the spirit.
She says that we cannot just be content to think about ourselves: “This is about global human consciousness – to save the earth, to save humanity.” She continues, “I don’t think the cataclysmic events are signs that the end of the world is coming, rather I believe they are all signals for us to awaken our consciousness of taking good care of the Earth. We must transform our human culture to be in harmony with each other and with nature.” And, I would like to add, “with God.”
This last weekend Jun and I flew to Laoag, Ilocos Norte, to give talks to the BCBP (Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals) outreach there. We were toured around the area on Friday. I was disturbed to see that the wide majestic river where Spanish ships once sailed was reduced to a small easily fordable river due to loss of forest cover, excessive denudation of the hills, and the resulting erosion of the dry land in the area. In my mind’s eye the area was slowly becoming a desert.
This view of one of the provinces in northern Philippines is just one example of our not taking good care of the natural resources that God has so graciously gifted this country with. In many provinces we still have rivers, forests, waterfalls, arable farmlands and lush landscapes. This is a wake-up call for all of us. Let’s not wait for others to act; let’s do what we can, whether little or much, to take care of our natural environment so that our children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy God’s natural creation as much as we are now enjoying it. As Sara Soliven de Guzman says: “We must transform our human culture (from a culture of materialism and selfishness) to be in harmony with each other and with nature.” And, I add, “in harmony with God!”
It is true that what we are doing to our environment specially our forests is but a reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to our countrymen.
Environmental crime is a sin against humanity and against God who created all these things.