Friday, December 19, 2008

Let’s save our hearts

Saving the Earth: The Philippine Experience, 4th edition (ISBN 971-868-6134), edited by Cecile C.A. Balgos, published by PCIJ, available at the Filipinas Heritage Library’s bookshop Libros Filipinos for P170.

At the heart of the Philippines is Marinduque. This heart-shaped island located in the MIMAROPA region, famous for its Moriones Festival, made international news when 1.5 million cubic meters of toxic mine tailings spilled out of Marcopper’s Tapian Pit down to the rivers and into Laylay Bay. It was the worst mining disaster in the country. The toxic sludge brought flash floods smothering villages and killing livestock. It contaminated drinking water and caused long term environmental damage. The 27-kilometer Boac River, choked with mine tailings, ceased to give shelter to marine life and was eventually declared dead.

This is just one of the many environment reports published by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and compiled in the book Saving the Earth: The Philippine Experience. For the ancient Greeks, Gaia is Mother Earth, the goddess who gives and nurtures life. In this issue, we feature Filipino women climbers who are also ardent environmentalists; top women illustrators whose gentle hands breathes life to children’s books; and Get Caught Reading campaign endorser Miriam Quiambao.

We are honored to have penman Butch Dalisay encouraging young writers to see the fantastic in the ordinary; and science fiction and fantasy writer Neil Gaiman writing on the importance of imagination and creativity.

Indeed it will take a lot of creativity and imagination to attain development while maintaining environmental health. Let us do our part in saving Mother Earth for saving her means saving our hearts and, ultimately, our lives.

(First published in BOOKWATCH, January - March 2008.)

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