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"Save Earth, Save Life: A Johnian's Advocacy"

Two hundred tons. TWO HUNDRED TONS!

Can you comprehend the enormity of 200 tons? That’s how much

garbage we collect in this city, every single day. Awesome, isn’t it?

Fellow Johnians I plead, saving the Earth to save lives demands we

account for our garbage. Evidence is clear and eerily familiar. The great

flood of Bacolod in December 2006, and Typhoon Ondoy in September

2009, offered proof beyond reasonable doubt that garbage recklessly

dumped and neglected in our waterways precipitated the deadly deluge.

Thousands of lives were interrupted. Millions of pesos worth of property

were obliterated.

The universal call to reduce, reuse, and recycle garbage is advocated

by Republic Act 9003, our country’s Solid Waste Management law. But 10

years after its signing, R.A. 9003 is far from fully enforced. Even now that

our city is finally building a sanitary landfill, I fear that our garbage problem

will linger, simply because government reneged on its duty to teach us how

to segregate waste, an obligation prescribed by law. Our ignorance will exact

a heavy price. Our ignorance will throw us right into the deathly path of

more and even mightier floods. Our ignorance will endure the unmitigated
build-up of methane gas until one day…BOOM!!! Let us not forget Glorietta

2. That was unmanaged methane gas. We want to save the Earth, we cannot

even save a shopping mall.

Our failure to segregate garbage will render the appeal to reuse and

recycle—pardon the pun—rubbish. Perhaps, this is the reason why, even

before we are called to reuse or recycle, we are urged to reduce. We are

urged to reduce consumption, for it is in over-consumption that waste

begins, and it is by the demand of over-consumption that more and more

products are manufactured, triggering more and more CO2 emission. More

than methane gas, the most widespread greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide.

CO2 is primarily responsible for global warming, a phenomenon with

perilous consequences. It melts polar ice caps, instigating catastrophic floods

in archipelagos, like the Philippines, and in low-lying coastal areas, like

southern Louisiana. Global warming heats the surface of oceans causing

colossal storms to brew. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the

surface temperature of the Gulf of Mexico had in fact risen, but by a mere

two degrees Fahrenheit. In human terms, that rise in temperature is like the

shift from feeling fine to feeling feverish. Global warming brings on climate

change. Many of you have farms. You know exactly what that means: very

little rain in one year, too much rain the next. The increased occurrence of El
Niño and La Niña weather spells is staring us down, and our poor brothers

can only stare back with dazed eyes and empty stomachs, their crops

withered or washed away.

To our dismay, we cannot even rely on world leaders to solve global

warming. The Kyoto Protocol, originally adopted in Japan in 1997, was a

compact between industrialized countries to reduce greenhouse gas

emissions by 2012. On the eve of that deadline, commitments remain unmet.

Even worse, to feign compliance, the same industrialized countries moved

manufacturing to China. Most everything today is “Made in China”, and

because of this, China today ranks second only to America in CO2

emissions.

But can we, in all conscience, put blame solely on these countries?

Our penchant for imported brands constrains the shipping industry to emit

more CO2 into the atmosphere. And so, en route to your loving arms, that

luxurious Louis Vuitton bag from Paris released more CO2. So did those

Gucci loafers from Florence. Your Levi’s from China. Your Nike shoes

from Vietnam. Your D&G sunglasses, whether from Milan or Bangkok.

My fellow Johnians, within each of us lies the capacity to save the

Earth and save lives. Within each of us lies the discipline to reduce
consumption, to reuse and recycle, to minimize CO2 emission, to keep waste

to a minimum, so we may save the Earth and save lives.

(PUT ON ECO BAG). Let us wear our eco-bag like a badge of honor.

Henceforth, let us not be ashamed of it, let us not be bothered by it. Let us

carry it the way Jesus carried his cross, with the highest purpose, with

gallant sacrifice, with unbroken dignity.

Save Earth, save lives. Dear Lord, if this be the Johnian advocacy, I

implore you, let this be our legacy.