OpinionsGender Bender10.10.10: ‘Global Day of Doing’ for 350

10.10.10: ‘Global Day of Doing’ for 350

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350” is a kind of code for human survival and that of other forms of life. It was probably esoteric until recently, but after Sunday’s (that’s the 10.10.10) day-tonight activities, people in Dumaguete, unless they were in a coma or glued to stupid-making TV shows, should have heard, and just maybe, understood, what 350 is about.

The figure “350” refers to the parts per million of carbon dioxide marked by scientists as the upper and safe limit of carbon concentration in the earth’s atmosphere.

We’ve gone beyond it! The current status is 392 ppm. But like people who’re over their ideal weight or blood sugar count, measures can be taken to reduce the problems.

However, time is of the essence and since our public officials have mostly been cataleptic on environment issues, it is left to civil society, to pesky NGOs, to young people whose future is at stake, and to a very few eminent advocates, to make noise, stir up the waters, take to the streets, occupy public space, anything on 10.10.10 to get the urgent message across.

Urgent because at the rate we’re going, adding about two ppm every year, the dangerous threshold of 450 ppm will be reached that may mark the tipping point to irreversible climate changes and great unknowns for living things on this planet.

This isn’t just titillating doomsday talk, the science is there for those who care to know. Already, arctic ice melt, loss of permafrost, shrinking of high altitude glaciers, warming of the oceans, coral distress, and other signs are measurable.

The British scientist James Lovelock fears future famine, disease, wars for water, climate, and other disasters will decimate the world population.

The 350 campaign is about all the things that can be done to avert that, at private and public levels.

Here’s what our own local officials have not worked on, and please don’t accept lame excuses of “lack of resources” because wastage of public funds is evident everyday, and resources are not short for the meaningless merrymaking of fiestas and festivals, to name but the obvious.

We need non-polluting public transportation, energy-efficient public and private buildings, the use of renewable energy, urban greening, namely trees, to counter the heat of cemented streets and to sequester CO2, and when there is shade, the promotion of biking, real (as opposed to pretend) waste reduction programs that include the phase-out of plastics (other places have done it but we can’t?) — shopping bags, advertising tarps, bunting. Clean water supply so that so-called “mineral water” becomes unnecessary (polluting bottles!)

But what does it take? Political leaders with vision for the long-term (in very short supply in immediate past local administrations), creative political action, leaders who educate and inspire their constituents towards sometimes difficult change, passion for the tasks they set themselves.

Here’s something P-Noy has probably understood: a world population that rises by 78 million per year (the Philippines alone contributes nearly two million to that rise) is also doing the planet in.

Each and every human being has a “carbon footprint” and the cumulative effect contributes to climate change that will hurt the poorest countries most because there won’t be resources to rescue, resettle, feed, heal the most vulnerable, reconfigure economies.

And women need compassionate policies and programs on family planning. Where’s our local population policy that strongly supports women and men’s ability to responsibly plan family size? That’s a “350” response as well.

So folks, don’t drive when you can bike or walk, don’t accept plastic bags, take your own cloth or other re-usable shopping bag, use energy-saving light bulbs, plant trees, use your own water bottles, turn off lights when you don’t need, don’t burn leaves or other rubbish, cut down on chemically-grown food and chemically-raised food animals (better still, leave the poor critters off your dining table.) Get together with other people for joint action and to pressure government to shape up.

All do-able and painless. Be part of the “350” movement; the earth is too beautiful to ruin, the lives you save may be those of your own children and
grandchildren.

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