Archive for the ‘global warming’ Category

Turning off the lights in defense of planet Earth

March 29, 2009

There’s a good feeling that can be derived from participating in the Earth Hour celebration—-a campaign by environmental groups to bring consciousness for the need to conserve our planet’s resources. More than 50 years ago, we have recognized the polluting influence of human activity on earth and only lately that we’re made aware of global warming—a concept of environmental change that divides scientists and laymen—those who believe it is real and those who don’t.

On March 28, 2009, between 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM non-essential lights on the Eiffel tower of Paris, the acropolis of Greece, the ancient Pyramids of Egypt, the Bird’s Nest Olympic stadium of China, Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Basilica, the Roman Colloseum of Italy and the Empire State building of New York City will be dimmed to bring the message of saving the planet.

More than 2,800 municipalities in 84 countries worldwide agree to shut down lights for 60 minutes to mark Earth Hour so that people can “internalize” the issue of caring for the environment. In the Philippines, the streets of Manila together with a hundred more towns and cities will be blackened in solidarity to the Earth Hour.

“The Earth Hour event is a message of hope and action,” Cebu Archbishop Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal said. “We will send this message to our world leaders, so that we can look forward to a meaningful action on their part — an action that can spell a big difference for our world… According to DENR regional secretary Antonio Principe, the country expects to save at least 560 megawatts of power during the one-hour lights off period, equivalent to cutting down roughly 330 tons on carbon dioxide emission.”—-Philstar (03/28/09/ Gatdula, D)

Whether global warming is just part of the normal cycle of the planet or a true man-made phenomenon, it is clear that humanity must work hard to lessen the pollution that foul our environment. The earth is now inhabited by about 7 billion people, a threefold rise in the last 300 years, capable of accelerating environmental damage on the irreplaceable lifeforms of the planet.(Photo Credits: dstueber; Wootang01; Ollik) =0=

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“Win or lose, after the election we go shopping.”

October 29, 2008

Except for the people of Georgia and the Philippines, CNN reveals, seventy-five percent (75%) of the world wants Sen. Barack Obama to be the next US president.

The Fil-Am Democrat (FLD,) who spoke of ethnic “ignorance” and cautioned her kababayans that “a nation of bigoted fools is hopeless” raged over the support for Sen. John McCain. As a continuation of my blog: “On Filipino’s support for McCain: This goes deeper than ignorance,” on October 24, 2008, I proceed to think more on the Filipino. See what we have and you decide.

The Georgians

The small East European country with 6 million people allied with the United States was recently invaded by Russia. Georgians probably wanted a candidate like Sen. McCain with experience to help them deal with their problem with Russia.

What do Filipinos want?

Pres. Bill Clinton’s popular catch words “It’s the economy, stupid!” helped him win over the republican Pres. George H. W.Bush Sr.

It’s the economy again, but this time, Filipinos seriously weigh in on homeland security, the war on terror, religious freedom, illegal aliens, foreign policy, social security, taxation, healthcare, education, abortion, same-sex marriage, global warming, and stem cell research. That’s hell of a lot to think about.

Everybody knows the future of American is at stake. Tied with their moral values, they face conflicting issues in their way of life which are difficult to reconcile. At the risk of losing hold of their American dream, they have to decide with their moral stand, relying on what they hear from family and friends, church, media and workplace. Like any voter, they are vulnerable to misread the election issues and decide against their own respective interests.

Religion & Tradition

There are those who think religion isn’t needed in America anymore. The liberal extremists assert tradition is blasé and counterproductive. They want to ban prayers in school. They protest the mention of God in government. They trash the Christmas tree, efface the “In God We Trust” in the US currency, and prohibit the Christ’s birthday scene display in public. To advance abortion and same-sex marriage, they push on redefining life and the meaning marriage, hoping to change the constitution.

Many Filipinos don’t agree. Families decry the assault of liberalism on morals and ethics. They worry on the effects of secularist relativism for themselves and their growing children. They recognize the contribution of religious believers in the building of America. Rejecting corruption and injustice, many quietly abide with Pope Benedict XVI, the Orthodox Christians, denominational Christian sects, and other faiths including the Muslims and Jews.

US & Philippine Politics

The US election reflects the politics in the Philippines. The ACORN voter registration fraud in USA is just as deplorable as the “Hello Garci” scandal of Gloria M. Arroyo and the Joc Joc Bolante election money diversion.

There is hypocrisy, corruption, and distortions hurled on both sides. The manipulation of public opinion through massive campaign spending and eloquent talk has made it hard to ascertain truth.

Filipinos find it hard to buy on promises of change without action. But surely there are those who put their trust on promises. In the crisis that damaged the credibility of the financial system, they have a schizophrenic view of the motives of leaders. They are disappointed and angered for even the retired economics guru Alan Greenspan admitted his mistake in handling the economy.

The financial bailout of $700 billion seems not enough to solve the economic meltdown which some say comes every hundred years. The economy continues to be volatile. Federal Reserves chairman Ben Shalom Bernanke and Treasury secretary Henry Paulson struggle to bring the economy on track. Yet, even with resiliency and optimism, Americans ask if the new president can deliver.

But Filipinos aren’t that politically engaged. They rather stay on the side to focus on their personal lives, work hard to recoup the lost time to advance their dream and that of their families. They are ambivalent to vote for a candidate with grandiose promises, questionable past, and unproven track record of service. Yet, they also worry about a president coming from the ranks of old politics.

“Redistribution of Wealth”

Counted among the successful migrants in America, Filipinos play by the rules. They work hard in the tradition of free enterprise. Many avoid the greed and corruption they see in their native land and they hurt when they see it happen in Washington and Wall Street.

They believe honest job gets rewarded better than being idle and lazy. They know competition is a force which drives people to advance in the social ladder; they frown on dole-outs which encourage indolence. Their friends and relatives who have not seen the gruelling work in America may not agree with them.

Unlike the 12 million aliens who gate-crashed USA, majority of Filipinos waited for years working legally to become integrated and become citizens. Taking the capitalist mindset to pursue the American dream, they look at government’s sudden interest in private property with suspicion.

The candidate who wants to intrude into private money by “spreading wealth” isn’t what successful Filipino migrants desire in spite of the fact that sharing wealth abides with their Christian beliefs. In some ways, they want other people to share America’s pie, but they want them to respect the law and work by the rules.

Filipinos are unwilling to be dictated by politicians on what to do with their health insurance, retirement money, savings, investments, and 401Ks. They desire to do charity in their own terms. Socialist liberals, riding on many cash-strapped Americans needing financial help are tempted to tap and give away money to “level the playing field.” Filipinos know the devil lies in the details of a drastic plan and they ask if an elected official(s) can have a blank check using tax-payers’ money to reprogram society.

Broken Promises & Taking Responsibility

Pres. Bill Clinton didn’t fulfill his promise on universal healthcare. Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda grew in strength and the stock market ballooned into a bubble which ruptured almost at the end of his term.

Clinton didn’t correct the warped and corrupt business practices of Wall Street in his time, paving the way for its collapse, damaging the finances of ordinary people in the Main Street.

The immorality in the Monica Lewinsky affair almost kicked Clinton by impeachment. In spite of approving reviews from democrats, he didn’t take enough responsibility as the people expected. The same frustration apply to Pres. George W. Bush and the “do nothing” warring officials of the senate and congress.

The credit card and mortgage debts are out of hand. Americans live beyond their means. The government has not exercised enough oversight and the moral guardians are losing sway over the people’s sense of right and wrong.

Greedy investors and financial managers have signed in borrowers worse than the loan scammers in the Philippines. Those who can’t pay for their homes dodge their complicity by leaving blame to mortgage lenders and the government. Responsible citizens don’t think this way.

With this mess, who then will the public vote? Those who are buried in debt and joblessness root for a promised savior-president, but Filipinos are more pragmatic. Maybe they heard of financier Bernard Baruch’s advice: “Vote for the man who promises least. He’ll be the least disappointing.”

Partisan Media

The media spread truth and lies. The public has become the captive of its bias and agenda. The media failed to vet on Obama’s background which citizens need to know. Instead, they drum up inanities which distract the focus of the electorate. By pounding on anti-American themes throughout the Bush administration, the media have succeeded in demonizing USA around the world. With huge latitude to control information, it’s easy for them to influence the thinking of the people here and abroad.

Against the majority, many take a detached and independent stand against the media’s excesses. There is lopsidedness in the information stream from the liberal New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, and CNN against the underdog conservative defenders in Fox News and the rightist talk radio announcers. Filipinos ask, “How sure are you that the media give you the right information?” Is it any wonder the US newspapers have suffered dropping readership and many Americans don’t turn on their TV anymore?

Movie Stars & Celebrity Politics

Hollywood has joined the political fray too. Filipinos have seen it happen in the Philippines. Talk show hosts like Jay Leno, movie star Barbra Streisand, TV darling Oprah Winfrey, singer Madonna, lesbian comediennes Ellen de Generes and Rosie O’ Donnell, atheist and anti-religion Richard Dawkins, and secularist anti-conservative movie director Michael Moore rein over liberalism while conservatism and traditional family values aren’t given a fair shake to express itself.

The culture these celebrities promote is not what Filipinos can easily take—bait, hook, and sinker. Many believe they can better rely on themselves about how they’ll conduct their lives than trust the movie stars.

The prospect of a USA rising under a liberal president seems dampened by a silent fear of an economically and culturally waning America whose moral moorings is fast fading. Conservative Americans and Filipinos are worried by the change in society (for the better or worse.) Even the academics from universities are viewed with distrust; in their erudition they have their own self interest to pursue.

Foreign Vote in the US Election

With Obama’s African ancestry, people abroad hope he will somehow think like his Kenyan forebears and have sympathies for the cause of the outside world. Those who harbor anti-American sentiments find Obama likeable against McCain for being an “extension” of Pres. Bush. Foreigners have generously donated money in Obama’s campaign chest counting that their interest will be served if he gets elected.

Race Issue

In the privacy of their homes and in the tone of their humor, there are as much racial undertones that Filipinos are willing to admit. It also goes true with the Americans, but perhaps lesser. Lacking multiracial exposure compared to those who have been in USA longer, Filipinos are still more likely to favor a white man to be president, but this can change. A combination of simple preference, ignorance, colonial mentality, and bigotry are to blame if they vote solely on the basis of race.

You Decide

Think seriously where you stand on the issues. Decide wisely. The economy is important as the questions on where the culture of America is going— the milieu in which our children will live in the future. Resilient and adaptable, I expect all of us will accept whoever wins. We must be prepared to enjoy or suffer the consequences which go with the decision. As Imelda Marcos said in her uncanny wry humor, “win or lose, after the election, we go shopping.”

Photo Credits: wwww.hamburg.mi.us; amobb; wishymom; mariozucca; Amm; leeKlement; j-walkblog; ahurey; chuckumentary) =0=

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1st Mayon Trail Run a Success

October 23, 2008


More than 150 runners answered the starting gun in the 1st Mayon Trail Run- a 5 kilometer fun run and an 18 kilometer foot race which had the runners negotiating man-made and natural obstacles including climbing a hill, fording a river and navigating sandy trails laden with volcanic debris.

The one of a kind race held last October 19, 2008 was organized by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Legazpi and North Face and is part of an ongoing awareness campaign against gobal warming. The runners who came from all over the archipelago from as far as Cotabato, Davao, Cebu, Laguna, Metro Manila and from the Bicol region competed for the honor of being the first Mayon Trail Run King aside from winning P30,000 for the Champion, P20,000 for second and P15,000 for third on top of North Face products as additional incentives. The highest placed woman runner earns an additional P5,000.

Eighty eight runners- 78 male and 10 female with a good number of them holders of national and international titles took part in the 18 km foot race and they admitted it was one of the most grueling and unusual race they had participated in. The race started from the Penaranda Park infront of the Albay Capitol Building then to the top of Lignon Hill, crossing the Yawa river towards the lava front via the Bonga gulley and made a u-turn back to the top of Lignon Hill.

In the end, Elmer Sabal of Cotabato City was crowned as the 1st Mayon Trail Run King with a time of 1:09:30 followed by SEA Games gold medalist Allan Ballester who came in second at 1:10:08. Elmer’s brother- Cresenciano Sabal salvaged third place with a time of 1:10:35.

In the distaff side, Leszl Lumindas Gitarueles came in first (1:32:26); Merlita Arias was second (1:45:07) and Ellen Tolentino was third (1:49:08). In an interview, Gitarueles, 34, said she is a fitness instructor from Cebu and said she participated in the Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) International Climatron and was fourth. She also placed fifth in the Hongkong Chartered Marathon. Merlita Arias, 34 also from Cebu said she’s a PE Teacher and is the first Filipina to represent the country in Sky Running where she finished 6th in the Multi-International Runner. She admitted she is no stranger to Albay having participated and won first in the 21 kilometer race during the 2005 Magayon Festival.

MTR Project Chairman and JCI Legazpi Vice-President Yves Eli Yu said that the Mayon Trail Run will now be a yearly event and took the opportunity to thank the City Government of Legazpi who is in-charge of the Legazpi Port Fiesta and the Ibalong Festival; the Provincial Government of Albay, CIRCA, Smart, Pacific Mall and councilor Cerilo “Celoy” Chan for their support and cooperation in making the inaugural Mayon Trail Run a resounding success.

He added that the Mayon Trail Run was conceptualized to promote awareness of Climate Change. The runners experienced first-hand the effects of global warming which had greatly affected Albay province with the two successive super typhoons that hit Albay and the Bicol region in 2006. He added that he was jubilant that the MTR took place a day after 10 lawmakers from Asia, Africa, Europe and South America signed the “Manila Declaration on Climate Change” which calls on rich nations to create a global fund to help lessen disaster risks brought about by rising sea temperatures. The 5 page document called “The Manila Call for Action of Parliamentarians on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation” was signed at the close of a two day meeting in Makati City.

Yves Yu concluded that events like the Mayon Trail Run (MTR) will be a big step toward Global Warming awareness. Provincial Tourism Officer Joe Briones, on the other hand said that the Mayon Trail Run could draw a new breed of tourists looking for ecotourism and adventure sports.

Mindanao War: "humanity hanging on the cross of iron"

September 2, 2008




Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”—Dwight Eisenhower (April 16, 1953.) Photo Credit: Joe Galvez.

The Bounty of Green River Formation: Hyping America’s Vast Oil Shale Reserve

July 20, 2008

We’ve bad mouthed the use of oil because it pollutes the environment. Yet for a time, in spite of our need to clean up the atmosphere and help lessen global warming, we’re still stuck with fossil-fuel based technologies. Until we perfect our cleaner alternatives of solar, electro-magnetic, nuclear, wind, hydroelectric, hydrogen, fuel cell etcetera versus the use of oil, there’s always this temptation to tap the bowels of the earth for precious combustible hydrocarbons to fuel the world economy.

The United States of America is ambivalent about drilling, but right at the heartland, the nation which owns 25% of the world’s wealth, has a vast reserve of shale oil that boggles the imagination of dreamers, prospectors, and entrepreneurs.

Oil shale is hard to unlock and stubborn to get. That’s the downside. But if this reserve is extracted and utilized (with utmost care to spare the environment,) the benefit will not only be for Americans, but for the world as well. The fast growing economies of China and India alone have astronomically raised the world’s need for oil and there is little indication that it’s abating.

While oil shale is found in many places worldwide, by far the largest deposits in the world are found in the United States in the Green River Formation, which covers portions of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.

The estimates of the oil resource in place within the Green River Formation range from 1.2 to 1.8 trillion barrels. Not all resources in place are recoverable; however, even a moderate estimate of 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil from oil shale in the Green River Formation is three times greater than the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia.

Present U.S. demand for petroleum products is about 20 million barrels per day. If oil shale could be used to meet a quarter of that demand, the estimated 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil from the Green River Formation would last for more than 400 years.” –Oil Shale Resources of USA, Source: ostseis.anl.gov/guide/oilshale/index.cfm =0=

Wow Words For Al Gore’s Climate Agenda

July 19, 2008

There is little argument against Al Gore’s call for a shift from fossil-fuel based energy sources to environmentally friendly fuel alternatives to preserve the planet. His ambitious target date for the next US president to accomplish this is 10 years. But those who know Gore and his gas-guzzling life-style know better. He isn’t immaculately in synch with his climate agenda making them suspect politics or hypocrisy to be partly behind his high-brow rhetoric.

As a famed leader of the environmental movement, the Nobel prize-winner Gore joins California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats, and Liberals to promote clean sources of energy by tapping on solar, wind, hydroelectric, and hydrogen power. Surely, this is good to the environmentalists’ and green planet-savers’ ears. However, for practical purposes, these energy sources aren’t well-developed to meet our present requirements. It will take sometime, most likely exceeding the timeline Gore has envisioned, before sanitized technologies will dominate our energy consumption.

Many experts believe the rational approach to the energy shortage is to do everything. We require all technologies and means: oil drilling, methane gas, coal, electro-magnetic, bio-fuels, and nuclear power (in addition to what the Democrats prefer) for us to be energy sufficient at this time. Others advocate to open USA’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves to ease up the price of gasoline.

Drilling oil in the vast continental USA, off-shore reefs, inland Utah-Wyoming-Colorado shales, and the Alaskan National Wilderness Reserve is basically what the majority of Americans want. They know these resources have to be tapped, sooner or later. They think it’s cost-saving and time-efficient to have them set up ahead, anytime we need them.

But the lawmakers, influenced by lobbyists and interest groups, have been indecisively slow. People complain why these authorities aren’t listening. There appears to be a big gap to bridge between them and what the government decision-makers plan to do.

Hampered by the fear of adding more damage to the environment, the Democrats like Gore who resisted oil exploration, are being blamed for having dilly-dallied since 10 years ago, against the proposal of Pres. George W. Bush and the Republicans. As the energy crisis comes full-blown to a level which hurts, we’re caught flat on our noses.

Many believe, had we started tapping America’s rich energy reserves earlier (as carefully as we can to avoid unduly adding to the destruction of the planet,) pipes could have been in place to gush oil needed to solve our present fuel problems. But excuses are commonplace in politics. The gamut of reasons why they can’t do the drilling now is as strong as our fear of global warming—as many as the bewildering explanations why oil prices continue to rise.

Overcoming political party squabbles and setting aside the environmental debacle, we must do everything to solve the present energy crisis. While we start cleaning up our planet of pollution and avert the deleterious effects C02 emissions in the environment, we can’t escape using oil for awhile. Without perfecting the technologies of other sources of energy, we can’t focus in tackling the issue of global warming right at the core.

We’ve been trying to tap energies from solar, wind, water, and nuclear to run our industries and light up our cities. When done in a large scale, this will surely rebalance the equation of energy supply and demand. Alternative sources of energy will lessen speculations in oil futures—one of main reasons which drive worldwide fuel prices sky-high.

We’ve made in-roads to replace our cars with the hybrids, the plug-ins, the bio-fuel driven, and the ethanol-powered. Yet it will take sometime before clean, efficient, and less costly hydrogen and fuel cells will be in wide use to free us from our dependence on gas. Al Gore’s audacious target is fine, but can we do it? When the private entrepreneurs and government doers ride the wagon, maybe we will.=0=