Storms in our midst

We all know some 20 tropical cyclones enter our country’s area of responsibility every year. In fact, the Philippines goes on record as “one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.”

Name it, we probably went through it — typhoons, earthquakes, floods, drought — and will go through the same.

Yet it wasn’t only until 2010 when, says reliefweb, “Philippine Congress enacted the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act… to establish a multilevel disaster risk management system.”

Granted, the weather was not as bad before as now, and that is putting it mildly.

Our latest super typhoon, known locally as typhoon “Karding (Nori),” intensified quite rapidly in a matter of hours — “arriving as a super typhoon at its peak of around 160 miles per hour (more than 250kph)” and “going from the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane to Category 5 in just six hours,” reports say.

In many places, careful preparations were practically rendered useless as the speed of the typhoon gave people “little, if any, time to prepare for the much stronger storm,” another report goes.

“Karding” is the strongest typhoon thus far, damaging some P141 million worth of agricultural property, taking eight lives, and leaving plenty of worry and distress in its wake.

Agricultural center Central Luzon suffered the most damage, but what really should affect all of us, at this point, is how scientists are warning us that things will only get from bad to worse.

It is a global concern that deserves immediate action from governments, on top of the health pandemic and human conflicts plaguing our planet right now.

The climate change problem is human-induced, and the answer to saving our planet should, naturally, also be human-induced.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., currently also our Agriculture chief, is correct in saying the clinate problem needs our collective efforts. It will not take one man, or central Manila, or any one great local government unit to solve the Earth’s rapidly rising temperatures and whacked weather patterns.

Yet the problem is as wide and deep as they come. It’s tied up with our government’s policies, priorities, and budgets. It’s right there with environment issues that some people may not yet imagine have anything to do with their grandchildren’s future world. It’s right up there in our homes, hanging in trash bags and disposable masks that are indiscriminately thrown away every day of the year.

The bigger solutions, including the rehabilitation and conservation of what is left of our natural resources, remain. Quick, efficient, and consistent actions are needed. Yet these changes in policies and strict enforcement are also tied up with mindset correction or adjustment, similar to the way the pandemic forced us to change our lifestyles or reset our priorities.

This is a call for government to make a firm decision against the practices destroying our environment — illegal logging, mining, and urban development.

The smaller activities that gather momentum are really in our hands and minds — what decisions we make each day that need to be done consciously and conscientiously.

There is no time to waste.

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