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Can sustainable development work in the Philippines today?

by Nimfa Estrellado
Opinion: Straight Talk
August 10, 2019

Two years into his term, the Duterte Administration falls short of our expectations as its mantra of Malasakit, Pagbabago at Kaunlaran has not been translated into green and sustainable development, with its continued support for coal projects and unsustainable practices.

In summer we face water crisis. In rainy season water logging and floods. Philippines is full of pollution. Where all tax money goes that is spent to avoid this crisis. We are not moving ahead for sustainable development rather momentary development.

Indigenous peoples can teach us a lot about preserving natural resources, producing food in sustainable ways and living in harmony with nature. Their traditional agricultural practices are better adapted to a changing climate. They conserve and restore forests and natural resources. Their foods and traditions can help expand and diversify diets. They cultivate indigenous crops that are more resilient to climate change. They oversee a large part of the world’s biodiversity.

In Nov 21, 2018, the Philippines and the United Nations commits to strong collaborative partnership towards the achievement of global and national development goals, with the signing of the Partnership Framework for Sustainable Development 2019-2023. Sustainable development has been defined in many ways, but the most frequently quoted definition is from Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”


Can sustainable development work? What then will be the impact on business and what will be the impact on the environment? This question is more complex than it seems. A simple yes or no answer does not apply to this question due to all of the factors involved, which must be considered and evaluated. On the one hand you would have to say no. The reasons you would have to say no are, because of the opposition you would receive from changing human habits, which have been set for thousands of years. Structure and cost to big businesses and trying to control other countries and governments and the economical impacts such major changes could have on any societies economy. It would be impossible for the Philippines to order or police all of the regions and possibly unethical to force them into our ideas and ways of life. Yet, if given more power could possibly perform this task of policing and regulating without resulting in war if all of the regions of the Philippines joined hand in hand, but at what cost.

You have human nature, which resist change especially when it comes to giving up something that makes life easier or that is the economical source of their survival. If people survive or derive their income or livelihoods from these natural sources it will be almost impossible to get them to change their habits of destruction to the natural environment. Then you have the anti-environmental groups, which work hard to confuse the issues or hide the facts with extra facts or manipulate the data with the help of big business and skeptical scientist they hire. All of these factors and more would be reason to say that sustainable development would not work. The impact on the environment would be devastating and our world would eventually be unable to sustain any life and we would have to move or perish with it. When all the resource started disappearing businesses would run out of materials and be forced to eventually close forever.

Not all corporations are dirty. Well, we’re talking about their sustainable habits anyway. There are many companies that are clean when it comes to the energy that they use, how they dispose and reuse their waste, and more. These companies have showed the people the importance of doing everyone’s share in the environment. With a vision of a better future that hails them befitting the title of leaders of their field.

Now, onto the idea that sustainable development can work for this environment and the entire planet. You have many people all ready starting to see the impacts we have on the environment. There are many groups and businesses and governments, which are working towards this goal. The groups are working to get the politicians to bring about more regulations and laws to help protect the natural environment and the entire planet. By starting with smaller portions of the human population such as communities and cities, we can slowly work towards sustainable states and countries and eventually the entire planet. Some businesses are helping by means of recycling, using less resources, cutting pollution and a host of other environmentally sound practices.

More and more environmental leaders are stepping up to the plate and doing their part to bring about positive change. Sound scientist are stepping up and reporting on sound scientific facts about environmental issues such as greenhouse gases, pollution, El Nino and any other environmental conditions, that are destroying our natural environment, which in turn will lead to the destruction of our entire planet.

As more people are educated to what is happening to the natural environment and learn that we the humans of this planet are the ones responsible for the depletion and destruction of the natural environment, then that is the more people who will help in the struggle to maintain and fix what has happened and sustainable development will become a complete reality.

One of the main concepts of sustainable development that must be understood and practiced by every human is stewardship, because like it or not we are the stewards of the entire planets environment. The impact of sustainable development working is that the businesses will continue to function and grow and they will have customers to buy their products and the resources to produce them. The impact of sustainable development working for the environment is obvious. If we the inhabitants of this natural environment take care of it, the natural environment will continue to take care of us and we will not perish or have to move to another planet. Instead of asking if sustainable development will work or not we need to look at the facts of do we need it to work or not. I believe that it has been shown that we have no choice in this matter we either make sustainable development work or we will perish from our own lack of effort and humanity will be no more.


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