Only a few of us here might be aware of the fact that we just joined more than 1 billion people around the globe in celebrating Earth Day. What started by the thousands in America in 1970 to increase public awareness for environmental protection, Earth Day has now spread to more than 190 countries that banners the fight for a clean environment against the backdrop of the ravages of climate change that threatens us all.
Each one of us here is now part of that growing movement to give back to Mother Earth, the only planet we call home.
Today, I was made aware that a simultaneous clean-up activity was conducted involving all barangays of Tabango, Leyte. That is one laudable effort that should be replicated on a daily basis in our homes and wherever we may be. Maintaining a clean environment and being mindful of the proper management of our solid wastes, is a step towards heeding the call to RESTORE THE EARTH. Observant of the wastes you collected earlier, let it be a reminder that there is yet much to be done to achieve the objectives envisioned by Republic Act 9003 or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act. Much is to be done in terms of proper waste segregation. Much more is yet to be done in terms of attitudinal change of shunning away from the use of single-use plastics and of the need to put to heart the call to REDUCE, REUSE, and RECYCLE.
While I say that much is yet to be done, I am confident that we have made some strides forward. The challenge is to sustain whatever breakthrough we may have in our solid waste management effort and continue to push ourselves to do more.
Today, we join the global community in celebrating Earth Day anchored on the theme RESTORE OUR EARTH. Let us take a moment to look deep inside us and reflect on how we treat Mother Earth and the countless benefits she provides us. And in doing so, let us endeavor to restore our forests; restore pollution-free air and restore the pristine condition of our waters.
As one popular song goes, “Ang lahat ng bagay ay magkaugnay.” The trees not only ensure that our water bodies do not dry up but also help reduce pollution through the sequestration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Our forests are are home to rich biodiversity resources which provides for some of man’s essential needs. And so, it is incumbent upon us not only to protect the remaining forests but to restore the earth not just by planting trees but by growing them. Add to that a conversion in our way of life that promotes practices towards clean air and clean water.
Today, our youth will be competing in a kayak race. More than the competition itself, it is an opportunity for the participants and spectators alike to enjoy nature – appreciate a clean and fit for swimming body of water. The same is true with your Yoga by the Beach later. Imagine doing it in a litter-filled beach and polluted air. Surely, you will not have a healthy and relaxing yoga experience.
May our celebration of Earth Day today be the start of a greater appreciation of our only livable planet. May this signal the start of many more collective efforts to restore the Earth - an act that she truly deserves. We are in this together – hindi lang ang DENR, hindi lang ang LGU kundi tayo – tayong lahat dahil IKAW, AKO, TAYO ANG KALIKASAN.