The Philippines, like many of the world’s poor countries, will be among the most vulnerable to the impacts of global warming because of its limited resources. Among the many effects include:
- A continuing rise in average global sea level would flood parts of many heavily populated river deltas and cities near them, making them uninhabitable, and would destroy many beaches in the country. From an analysis made by the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) Climate Change Program, a mere one meter rise in sea level will be devastating to the country. It is estimated that 40% of the city’s total population will be forced to evacuate to higher areas. Businesses will have to be relocated. Sea level rise will also endanger the drinking water quality and agricultural productivity.
- Extreme weather conditions brought about by climate change is already being experienced. The disaster trend is shifting to those areas that were previously not affected by devastating natural calamities. The Mindanao region, for instance, is not normally in the path of typhoons. However, in recent years, the region has been shattered by extreme natural events that destroyed major infrastructures and claimed the lives of many.
- The country’s vulnerability to natural disasters is closed linked to poverty and environmental degradation. It is mostly the poor who are disaster-prone and environmentally fragile areas. At the same time, it contribute to further degradation and poverty, thus creating a vicious cycle of poverty, environmental degradation, and vulnerability to natural disasters.
- Human health is also a concern. The growing number of typhoons visiting the country also means increased incidences of diseases and illness such as insect and rodent-borne diseases, water-borne diseases, food-borne diseases, various respiratory diseases, and heat-related illnesses.
- Finally, biodiversity is also affected. There are already reported impacts in the ecosystem such as changes in species distribution and timing of biological events, changes in morphology, physiology and behavior of many birds, insects and plants, increased incidence of pest and disease outbreak, coral bleaching, changes in marine fish population, and large fluctuations in the abundance of marine birds and mammals.
One of the greatest contributors to the declining health of our environment is various large Companies. They are the one who produce large amount of greenhouse gases which caused the climate change. Manufacturing & chemical processing plants and electric power generating plants are the examples of some large contributors to the greenhouse gas emissions. The things we get from these plants are important in our daily lives. Over the coming decades, populations and living standards for many will rise – and so will the need for these products. To help meet tomorrow’s needs, these should maintain in working responsibly. Their approach to sustainability starts with running a safe, efficient, responsible and profitable business. They should also work to share benefits with the communities where they operate which starts by ensuring the safety and cleanliness among the surrounding residents and environment. And another way is in helping to shape a more sustainable future, the Company should consider in investing in low-carbon technologies and collaborating with others on global energy challenges. This might be an expensive investment but its benefits will cover a longer period. Companies needs to take ‘green’ initiatives seriously because among all else, money is easier to earn as compared to when the world will be destroyed; it is harder to rebuild it back to its original state. Also, being a Company with strong environmental advocacies will contribute to a good reputation. Consumers will patronize the Company more that is why costs to be incurred to implement this initiative are already irrelevant in the decision making. On the other hand, government plays an important role in the protection of our environment. They must be firm in the decision they make and avoid choosing economic benefits over environmental destruction. They must make appropriate laws and ensure strict enforcement of such laws.
As an individual, we can contribute in our own ways to save our world. Simple ways such as conserving energy, buying recyclable materials and throwing trashes into proper containers will truly help. Discipline among selves is important in order for it to be a habit. At the same time, we can be an instrument in spreading the environmental awareness to others.
We should always remember that with proper discipline, innovation and determination, virtually everything in this planet can be recycled… except, of course, the planet. Once it’s gone, it’s forever gone. Whenever, we throw away our wastes, let us look beyond that trash can, let us look in the generations to come who might still be picking up that trash just to survive.