Circular ecology and linkage economics

IF YOU have doubts whether climate change is real or not, that is up to you to decide, but it should not be too difficult that the prospect of a water crisis happening in Metro Manila is very real, whether you believe it or not.

You may not be good in science, but all you need is a basic knowledge of mathematics in order to understand that the demand for water in Metro Manila is increasing, while the supply is decreasing. How I wish I could say that the supply of water is increasing, but that is not true, at least for now.

I said that because it is really truly possible to increase our supply of water if only we would do our part in producing water. Yes, Virginia, water could be produced, and you need not be good in science to understand that.

Just to be clear, trees could produce oxygen that could neutralize the production of carbon dioxide, but trees could not produce water per se. It may just be a matter of semantics, but it would be correct to say that trees could create the right conditions in order for water to be produced, or shall we say, in order for water to be collected and retained in the soils.

Just to give credit where credit is due, we could correctly say that the clouds are the ones that produce the rain that is actually the water that falls on the soils and waterways. As it actually happens, rains would come and go, but the water in the soils would also come and go not unless these are retained with the help of the trees.

I should apologize for giving you that lecture about rains and trees, because anyone and everyone would know that already. Despite knowing that however, most people would not seem to know that we really need to restore the trees in the mountains, so that we could again have forests that would have trees that could retain the water in its roots, so that these supplies of water could flow down to our watersheds, thus increasing our supply of water.

With just a little knowledge of math, it should not be too difficult for us to compute how many trees we have to plant and grow per hectare, and how many hectares of mountain land we have to replant in order to grow back the forests that we have lost.

Armed with some basic knowledge of English, it should also not be too difficult for us to understand that we should not only plant the trees, we should also make them grow into mature trees so that they could do what they are supposed to do, and that is to be able to retain the water in its roots.

Again, it may just be a matter of semantics, but we have heard of so many tree planting projects without seeing these seedlings grow into mature trees. Yes Virginia, it is not enough to plant these seedlings and just leave them to the elements, we also need to care for and nourish them so that they could grow into mature trees. Growing these trees should be done with the use of science, meaning that we should not leave it to guesswork.

As it is supposed to be, the National Government Agencies (NGAs) are supposed to be responsible for producing the policies and programs, whereas the Local Government Units (LGUs) are supposed to be responsible for producing the plans and projects.

This division of labor should not only apply to the objective of reforestation, it should apply to each and every objective of the government as a whole. Having said that, I will no longer hesitate to say that reforestation at the level of local plans and projects should be delegated to the LGUs. In reality, the LGUs would be in the best position to know where the denuded mountains are in their respective local jurisdictions.

As I see it, circular ecology should be defined in terms of being able to clean the waste water before these are flowed back into the soils and waterways. While this might take some advanced science to make it happen, all it takes is simple math to be able to understand that the more cleaned water that we could return to the environment, the more supply of clean water we would have.

Moreover, it would only take a basic knowledge of economics to understand that if we have water, we could produce not only food, but also electricity. In essence, we could actually refer to that as linkage economics, because the positive effect of one good environmental action would result in other good economic outcomes.

Of course, it should be obvious that the restoration of our forests would not only create more economic value as it creates more products, it would also prevent or minimize the incidents of floods and landslides that are now costing us so much in terms of the loss of lives and properties.

Even if it could be said that the availability of consumer products have increased the quality of life in our country, it also creates post consumer wastes that are causing the floods that are in turn causing the loss of lives and properties. On a broader scale, the lack of a circular ecology aggravates the destruction of the ozone layer that in turn causes climate change.

Yes Virginia, climate change is as real as the post-consumer waste that we produce./PN


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