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Monday, May 20, 2024

Protecting Mother Earth

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Trees absorb carbon, a major driver for global warming, which is converted into nutrients needed by trees

Filipinos whacked by El Nino understandably welcome the advisory by PAGASA-DOST this month – which noted the weather phenomenon has shown signs of weakening.

While it may last until May, it will transition to ENSO-neutral conditions from April until June. There is a 55 percent chance for La Niña to develop from June to August.

In our country, indicators of the El Nino phenomenon include delayed onset and early termination of the rainy season, and fewer tropical cyclones entering the Philippine Area of Responsibility.

The dry spell and drought experienced are associated with El Nino, which has caused P1.23 billion in agricultural damage from 26,731.4 hectares.

The government has since formulated a National Action Plan to address El Nino’s challenges and increase community resilience.

On Jan. 19, 2024, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. reactivated and reconstituted the Task Force El Nino, chaired by Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, to implement solutions “to ensure food, water and energy security, safeguard livelihoods, and improve the country’s disaster and climate resilience.”

Past experiences remind us that heavy rains usually result in inundation that damages agricultural crops, affects energy supply, destroys infrastructure including residential structures, and even loss of lives.

Extreme heat, droughts and floods are unfavorable outcomes of climate change, which can initially be addressed by reforestation.

Trees help prevent soil erosion, as habitat for wildlife, play an important role in the water cycle, provide livelihood, and check climate change.

Trees absorb carbon, a major driver for global warming, which is converted into nutrients needed by trees.

It is our duty to leave behind a healthy and livable global home to future generations. As former US President Lyndon B. Johnson stated, “If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology.

“We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through it.”

That resonates with the idea behind the Million Trees Foundation, Inc, primarily established to support the Annual Million Tree Challenge of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, a commitment to help address global warming and climate change with its tree-planting activities.

AMTC has now planted and grown more than 7 million trees since 2017.

Last year, MTFI tree planting activities at the La Mesa were conducted with Alpha Commerce Corporation, ATOS Information Technology, Inc., Balitang A2Z, BDO-TBG CMS, Bulacan Bulk Water, Century City Estates Association, Inc., Christian Dior, ClockworX, Dashcarr Pro, Flying Future Services, Inc., Fonterra Brand Philippines, Inc.;

Green Media Events Company, Grundfos, Hino Motors, Hitachi Solutions, Philippines, Howden Insurance & Reinsurance Brokers (Phils), ICA Alumnae Association, ING Hubs Ph, Isuzu Inteco, Jardine Schindler Philippines, Kilos Ko Youth,Kiwanis International Philippine Luzon District Division 4A-2;

MCVO, MEAD Johnson Nutrition Philippines, Inc., MNL City Run, Nestle Philippines, Inc., Netflix, New World Makati Hotel, NFWC, Pambayang Dalubhasaan ng Marilao Teachers, Philippine College of Chest Physicians, Philippine College of Physicians, Philippine Veterans Bank, PICC, RI District 3800, Rotaract Club of Manila Metro,Rotary Club Makati Gems;

Rotary Club of Manila-Claro M. Recto, Rotary Club of Metro Escolta, Rotary Club Metro East Taytay District 3800, Rotary Club Pasay,RTI International, Task Us Ph, The Raya School, and Union Bank of the Philippines.

Nearing completion is the QBE Park, a project MTFI is undertaking with QBE Insurance Group, another step toward achieving the goal to bring people closer to nature.

MTFI, with its Million Trees Eco Learning Center, has forged partnerships with different organizations and stakeholders not only for tree-planting and tree-growing activities but also to raise awareness on the importance of environment protection.

On behalf of MTFI Chairman Emeritus Gen. Reynaldo V . Velasco and MWSS Administrator Leonor Cleofas, we thank San Miguel Corporation through SMC President and CEO Ramon S. Ang for its annual endowment of P5-million to the foundation and the two MWSS concessionaires — Maynilad and Manila Water — for their continuing institutional support.

As a Native American proverb and an Amish saying goes, “we don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

(The author, president and executive director of the Million Trees Foundation Inc., a non-profit group advocating tree planting and watershed protection, is a book writer and publisher of biographical and coffee table books.)

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