Citing estimates by scientists that the world is losing plants and animals species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the normal rate, Senator Loren Legarda on Sunday joined calls to protect the species, which is the theme for this year’s Earth Day celebration today.
Reelectionist Senator Sonny Angara echoed the call and urged Filipinos to make a conscious effort to live a more environment-friendly lifestyle as the Philippines joins the rest of the world in celebrating Earth Day.
Angara said the annual event to spread awareness about the environment does not have to be limited to one single day, believing that “Earth Day must be observed every day of the year.”
“Raising awareness about the importance of protecting the only planet we have and the need to take action should be more than an annual activity,” said the lawmaker. “It doesn’t need to end after April 22. It should continue every day and become a regular part of our lifestyle.”
With a few easy lifestyle changes, Angara said people can help save the planet for future generations.
“We can start by eliminating the need for plastic bags and other single-use plastic products that end up in landfills or polluting our rivers and oceans,” he said.
Angara said it is high time to think positively about reducing plastics and take effective action to tackle plastic pollution, which has devastating effects on the environment and marine life.
For her part, Legarda cited the warning of the Earth Day Network that normally, between one and five species will go extinct annually.
The senator, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Climate Change and UNISDR Global Champion for Resilience, said that stronger biodiversity protection efforts must be put in place to prevent loss of species especially since thousands of species are becoming extinct every year.
She related that the biodiversity loss, which is mainly caused by habitat destruction and wildlife trade, is heightened because of climate change.
Studies indicate that 30 percent of species would be at risk of extinction due to the warming climate.
“We need to take greater action to protect the delicate ecological balance. It is incumbent upon us humans, who are the stewards of the Earth, to be more responsible as most of our actions are the very threats to other species,” said Legarda, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment.
She underscored the need for a stronger convergence among government agencies and local government units and collaboration with the private sector, civil society and all our citizens, to protect our species and conserve our biodiversity,” she stressed.
The government, Legarda said, must strictly enforce laws that protect biodiversity, such as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001, the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992, and the Expanded NIPAS of 2018, which she principally authored.
Angara said that apart from avoiding utilizing single-use plastic products, Angara said the public could help make the planet a little greener by using energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances, conserving water, taking public transport and carpooling to work, among others.