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April 22 is Earth Day


One of the world's long running conservation events is the Earth Day that is being commemorated every April 22.

It originated almost half a century ago in the US when Americans began to observe the deterioration of their environment due to pollution. From then on, various countries participated in the annual commemoration, to remind everyone on the importance of protecting the planet Earth. The event became even more popular in the 90s, especially after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

In the Philippines, the observance of Earth Day every April 22 was officially adopted when Proclamation 1481 was issued in 2008, although prior to that, various groups were already initiating activities commemorating this global event. Most of the initiatives centered on educating the public on the present state of our environment and what are the necessary actions that can be done individually and collectively to save Mother Earth from further deterioration.

The theme for this year's celebration in the Philippines is “Earth Day Everyday, Everywhere, for Everyone”. However, some groups are also adopting local themes, like the Earth Day Network in Bacolod City, that is bannering a message of “Kalibutan, Amligan, Akon Suguran”. The Earth Day activities in Bacolod include synchronized clean up drive, Earth walk and Earth jam.

To say the least, the Earth is already in bad state and some damages inflicted to it are already irreversible. The natural mechanisms of the Earth to cope with environmental changes are tremendously altered, such that we are now facing various extreme conditions, particularly the dramatic change in the global climatic pattern, which is now getting dangerous.

The temperature of the Earth has increased in recent years and may tend to increase further, according to experts. This would ultimately result to the melting of iced-covered regions that will further cause the increase of sea water level. On the other hand, the occurrence of natural hazards, such as typhoons, storm surges, tsunamis and hurricanes, among others, tends to be a new normal phenomenon of our times.

The atmosphere is heavily polluted, to the extent of permanently damaging the ozone layer of the Earth. The ozone layer supposedly shields us from the direct impact of the sunlight. Emissions from numerous sources could no longer be absorbed by various vegetations, simply because most of the natural land vegetative cover has already been wiped out, especially the various types of forest, from coastal to upland ecosystems.

A large track of forests in many countries has been converted into other purposes, and this is particularly true in the Philippines, including in Negros Island.

As we celebrate this year's Earth Day, it is very necessary to reflect on what we can do as an individual, as a community and as a nation in making a difference in saving our very own home.

While it is true that it is the responsibility of the state to ensure our safety and wellbeing, it is also very important that we do our share.

By simply reducing our consumption and waste, and using environment-friendly products and services, we are contributing in saving the Earth.

Of course, there are many others things that we can do, given the enormous environmental issues and challenges we are facing today.

Think about it, Earth Day is every day.*

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