I feel so blessed that I live in the Philippines. You can have the best of everything — cities whose skylines are filled with skycrapers, mountains that make you feel closer to God, beaches that are comparable to the ones in the Caribbean, and people with ready smiles for tourists.
But beneath this pretty tourism pictures lies an undeniable truth — we’re poor carers of our natural environment. Our recent struggles with floods are a proof to our negligence. We have let go of our forests and it came to bite us back in the ass — towns wiped off the map, millions of properties damaged or lost, thousands of lives claimed.
We cannot go on living the way we did before, doing business the way we did before. We need to wisen up and begin listening to Mother Nature. She wants us to take better care of her one step at a time. You can take that first step by joining the Million-Hectare Challenge, a race to raise pledges and help restore 1M hectares of Philippine forests. This project by the Haribon Foundation was held last Sunday, November 21 but you can still make pledges. You can also help spread the word about the need to restore Philippine forests in your blogs and social networks.
Why do we need to restore 1M hectares of Philippine forests? Here are my reasons.
I don’t want towns to be flooded out of the face of the Earth because of storms as it happened after Typhoon Ondoy.
I want my daughter to hold a Philippine tarsier in her hands, which she cannot do if she these cute little animals continue to lose their homes — our forests.
I don’t want to lose any more friends to landslides that could have been avoided if we only replanted the forests we logged.
I want to eat rice from produced by Filipino farmers. That wouldn’t be possible if forests are not there to hold off the water from flooding rice fields.
I want my daughter to be able to climb Philippine mountains like Mount Apo, Banahaw, etc.
I want to see Philippine orchids in mountains and forests, not in pictures and nurseries.
Lastly, I want Gabby to experience feeding animals in the wild, not only in the zoo. If we restore our forests, out children will experience this and more.