Friday, August 13, 2010

My Beat on Environmental Security (Part II)

Blogger's Notes:
Commentary of an Academic 
(Copyright @ 2010 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved).

by Chester B. Cabalza

The introduction to environmental security re-introduced me on the impacts and repercussions that the environment as an object in the study of security is needed not only to individual’s survival, a country’s interests, but also to the world’s continued existence, since we share only one planet Earth.

From its context during the Cold War down to the clear and present danger brought by various environmental contagions due to massive effects it has caused to people of different walks of life, this non-traditional security has transnational effects that must be addressed by all nationalities and citizens of the world.

Constructivists would often believe that ecological issues can be construed through people that makes society and society that makes people. This is a continuous and two-way process. The third element contains rules which always link the two elements together. With a theorist’s reconstruction of the world, structures of human association are determined primarily by shared ideas than material forces. Constructivism accepts the unity of nature and society, as positivists do, and sees nature as irrevocably as social. Thus, interactions are governed not only by institutions but also by ideas, beliefs, and culture.

Hence, environmental security as perceived by military readiness can somewhat co-exist, or least become divisive mechanism, against Mother Nature. Just like in the blockbuster film Avatar, where in its plot, scientists and the military alike, would like to engage with Na’vi tribe community of blue-skinned species of sapient humanoids, who live in harmony with nature. However, it ended with a bloody destruction of nature because of people’s greed and disrespect to Mother Nature.

Ecological sustainable development must top the list of our priorities in saving mother Earth. We have many laws that need to be enforced and implemented. In my framework, air quality and renewable energy in the Philippines must be tackled conscientiously. Given the case, now that the Philippines have existing laws on the Clear Air Act and Renewable Energy Act, these newly-enacted laws must give teeth in protecting the environment.

The Clean Air Act of 1999 has the following features: identification and characterization of all airsheds in the country and establishment of multi-sectoral AQM Boards for each airshed; development of a national air quality management framework, and a fund to be earmarked for air quality management activities; imposition of air quality management charges; and improvement in quality of gasoline and diesel and promotion of alternative, cleaner fuels

On the other hand, the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 (Republic Act 9531) seeks to promote the development of renewable energy resources and its commercialization. It aims to achieve this by providing incentives to institutions that invest in the sector. Sources of renewable energy include the sun, wind, bodies of water, organic matter and the earth’s heat.

In this cyclic framework on the environment, the environmental principles must guide practitioners and nature lovers to save Mother Earth. Same as my intuition in previous paper on the Seven Environmental Principles, that these are very basic yet multifaceted, simple but striking, as well as meaningful and evocative. It’s like reading the book of Robert Fulghum on “All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten”. The theme seems so elementary, however, the essence and practice is universal, unfortunately, misguidedly followed by many of us.

For example, in order to combat on the issue of climate change, following the framework above, disciplinal approaches on environmental security must be taken seriously. Like theories that must be applied to prescribe such problem. Hence, case studies and statutes on renewable energy can become guiding forces on how to solve the ecological problems. Its implementing rules and regulations are important for incident command system and command responsibility to synchronize in adhering and implementing these environmental laws. Lastly, the environmental principles are used as universal teachings in caring our environment. These are like the golden rules that every person must learn to understand and obey.

In the end, based on the speech of Neil Ahrendt, I share with his thoughts that we must demand environmental protection from our leaders, our politicians, our friends, our families and ourselves. We must make a commitment to renew the spirit of innovation; we must lead by example in saying that we will protect this world so that our children and generations after them can exist in a sustainable society which does not inherently damage the ground it resides on. We must rebuild our society so that the air we breathe is clean, the sky we look upon is clear, and the waters which run throughout are free from pollution.

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