By Alex P. Vidal
We are destroying our planet at an unprecedented rate and over-exploiting 2/3 of the ecological systems on which human life depends, discovered a study by 1,300 experts in 95 countries.
Thirty one million of hectares of rain forests are approximately destroyed all over the world each year, according to Leonarda Camacho of the Unesco Commission on Science and Technology who called the degradation of the environment as “economic suicide.”
Of the 15 million hectares classified as forest lands in the Philippines, 6.5 million hectares are still forested, with less than a million hectares of virgin forests. Some 8.5 hectares are denuded, said Camacho.
There are reportedly 28 bodies of water still polluted by mining operations and 22 abmine sitesinesites and an executive order that state “remediation and rehabilitation of abandoned mines shall be accorded top priority to address the negative impacts of past mining sites.”
Fishing is a battle between fisherfolk and industrial fishermen, and our fishing grounds were being rapidly depleted, mostly by foreign poachers, added Camacho. She feared that the industrial fishing fleet was rapidly outstripping our supply of fish.
It was learned that local subsistence fisherfolk were the worst-affected. They could not compete with destructive fishing methods such as dynamite, cyanide, purse-seine, “zipper” (blocks of cement dropped on corals). The Pacific Ocean and the China Sea are reportedly exploited by the industrial fishermen and coastal fishing communities are the hardest hit by this battle of fish.
“These activities are what humans call economic development or growth,” Camacho explained. “Economics is a subject taught in school without any consideration of its most fundamental component–the environment, which is the system of nature on which all economic life must ultimately depend.”
For example, she cited that economists measure the value of produce coming from a farm but does not subtract the amount of topsoil eroded in the process, the effect of toxic run-off from chemical fertilizers and insecticides, the health costs to the farmers.
“Economists do not regards deforestation soil degradation, air and water pollution as costs of economic activity,” she pointed out. “If monetized, the cost of environment degradation and public health could run to billions of pesos. Some economists consider environment concerns as obstacles to growth. Which is stupid. Actually, economic growth and sustainable development are very compatible. They can and should be harmonized. Environmental protection makes economic sense.”