In recent years, human activity has been contributing to the degradation of the environment, which leads not only to the rapid depletion of our natural resources, but also to the onslaught of much more destructive natural calamities. These actions cause irreversible damages that affect all living beings on our planet. Oftentimes, the said actions are conducted by large corporations who work around laws that protect the environment to not be held liable for any repercussions that may result from their operations. Additionally, the government refuses to prioritize the enforcement of stricter environmental laws, entailing greater consequences for those who violate them, which only aggravates the issue further.
This then becomes a huge problem because as mentioned before, the degradation of the environment is extremely difficult to undo, which means that once our natural resources are gone, the health and safety of all species on this planet may be compromised. Some of the most recent and catastrophic natural calamities that have extensively affected the lives of Filipinos are Typhoon Rolly and Typhoon Ulysses, which are just two out of the twenty one tropical cyclones that hit the Philippines in 2020 alone (Aljazeera, 2020). There are numerous factors to consider when deliberating about the reason as to why they became even more ruinous, but some of the more notable ones include the underestimation of their strength due to feelings of complacency brought about by the sparing of Metro Manila during the onslaught of Typhoon Rolly, as well as the grave effects of deforestation in the country, which resulted in heavy flooding in a lot of affected areas. According to Buan (2020), “Because of the previous tropical cyclones that preceded Ulysses, mountain ranges were not able to absorb as much rainfall as they could have, resulting in a "direct runoff," meaning water directly flowed to the reservoir.” To add to this, unethical actions such illegal logging and bad mining practices contribute to the already-worsening state of the environment. The greenhouse gases produced by large corporations and industries directly conduces the rising of the planet’s temperature, which will cause typhoons to become even stronger and make landfall more often in the years to come.
By considering all these negative effects, we can realize that immediate action must be taken to hinder the rate at which climate change is occurring. In addition to this, we need to recognize the fact that cooperation from a lot of groups and individuals will be crucial in making this happen. The need to advocate towards taking action to get more people to realize that this problem affects all of us regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, and social class now becomes more evident. Even though a lot of people are aware of what is happening and have already experienced its repercussions, they are not doing enough to effectively address climate change. Mitigating the harsh effects of this problem requires large-scale efforts and cooperation from scientists, governments, corporations, and the masses.
The faster we can strive to make changes in our society, the more irreversible damages to the environment we can end up preventing. While it is true that one person can make a difference, no matter how small, the size of this issue is too large to tackle alone. Overall, the typhoons that have struck the Philippines this year, most notably Typhoon Ulysses, reveals the underlying truths about the direction that the state of our country is heading towards, especially with regards to environmental welfare. Taking immediate action, working with our leaders, and involving everyone in our quest to combat climate change then becomes our number one priority so that we can prevent more casualties and damages to infrastructure. Finally, we have to get people to realize that their contribution will be of the utmost importance, especially if we wish to hand over a greener and more peaceful world to the next generation of people who will eventually inherit our planet.
Something to reflect on: What can you promise to commit to for the betterment of the environment?
Aljazeera. (2020, November 11). Philippines orders thousands to evacuate ahead of Typhoon Vamco. https://www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2020/11/11/philippines-orders-thousands-to-evacuate-ahead-of-typhoon-vamco
Buan, L. (2020, November 16). What went wrong during Typhoon Ulysses? Rappler. https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in-depth/what-went-wrong-protocol-communication-leadership-typhoon-ulysses