Help Mother Nature…Save Our Habitat
By Apolinario Villalobos
The footages on TV about floods, mountains of garbage, beaches littered with refuse, bald mountains mercilessly destroyed by loggers, rivers and city sewers clogged with plastic wastes and even carcasses of animals, can give chills down the spine of even an emotionally-strong person. To ask what’s wrong is no longer relevant. Everybody knows the what and why, even the who of this issue. But despite the worldwide movement to salvage Mother Nature, majority of the humanity is far from cooperating.
Businesses involving manufacture of gadgets, equipment, home appliances, and other enhancements of a “comfortable” life are flourishing at a fantastic alacrity. New inventions are coming out every year. Despite the call to minimize the use of nature and climate-damaging materials, those coming out of factory assembly lines are with even more notoriously destructive components.
The call to recycle seems to fall on deaf ears – mostly. If ever, countries do not have encompassing legislations on this. In the Philippines for instance, the response comes in clusters…few cities and towns with their respective local laws prohibiting the use of plastic bags when shopping in the wet market. On the other hand, the national agency, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is running out of ideas on how to eliminate or at least minimize the indiscriminate disposal of waste materials that are blamed for the perennial city flood.
Some of us have the instinct of immediately throwing away, anything that we can’t put to immediate use. Fortunately, there are some sectors which are initiating moves in recycling what for others are useless scraps – cloths, cans, old shopping bags, rice sacks. These are transformed into bags, flower pots, vases, tote bags, etc. Such commendable effort, however, constitute just an insignificant percentage of what is expected.
To give a semblance of respectability to the recycling effort, the junks are now called pre-owned. I have come across an inspiring blog about a pretty multi-awarded American actress who claim to prefer pre-owned dresses and accessories, and in the accompanying photo she looks glamorous in one of the dresses with less than five dollars price tag.
Why be ashamed of pre-owned things? In the case of garments, it is how you fit in them neatly that counts, and in the case of other things, such as tools and household furnishing, it is your practical perception of their use that should matter . During my college days, three sisters, all of them popular campus personalities earned such recognition because of their pretty faces and the way they carried themselves in dresses tailored from pre-owned oversized skirts, dresses, and Hawaiian shirts that were transformed into elegant mini-skirts and blouses. The eldest among them, did the transformation by dint of her basic knowledge in sewing.
A friend has the habit of framing things that others should have thrown, such as old keys, buttons, bottle crowns, etc. Another friend stacked several old car tires, topped them with a junked table top, and presto!, he now has a lanai table in the center of which are found objects clumped together with strips of bronze electric wires.
A well-to-do acquaintance’s home is filled with eclectic assemblage of furnishing he salvaged from junk shops. He could well afford to buy brand new things for his home, but he prefers to rummage in the junk shops for things that he could tinkle with to come up with new contraptions that even surprise him at the end. Sometimes I would join him in rummages and eventually, came up with my own collection of recycled items.
Going to the simpler things, recycling is not limited to plastics, rubbers, metals, cloths. It is also about how we treat water and leftover foods. Some of us have the habit of washing utensils under the open faucet or brushing our teeth while water copiously gushes out of it. This habit is beyond comprehension. When doing the laundry, even clear water is thrown away instead of being used to flush the toilet and clean the garage. Leftover foods are left to the elements on the table so that there will be an excuse to throw them away for being spoiled, when they can be re-cooked with flavor enhancers to transform their delectability. Cold rice is thrown away instead of being fried. And the worst of all habits is leaving morsels of food on the plate!… which of course, will definitely be thrown away or fed to the pets. This worst habit is very evident in fast food joints and restaurants, with the culprits even showing proud expressions on their faces, as if saying that they can afford to do it.
Mother Nature is terribly sick, our habitat is dying, but despite all these, we just shrug our shoulders with indifference.