Note: This post was lost with the others when this blog was hacked a couple of times. Luckily, I chanced upon it when I was organizing the files in my laptop. This is one of the very few blog posts I wrote offline. I don’t know what images I posted with this, but I decided to post some recent striking pictures circulating on facebook. This blog post was dated January 28, 2012.
The Manila Bay coughed out tons of garbage in the aftermath of Typhoon Gener. Photo by Thor Diaz on Facebook.
We live with all sorts of insecurities in our lives, most of them petty things that do not hold water anywhere outside of our minds. Whether it’s lack of self-esteem or being plagued with anxiety, we live with these insecurities unaware that they would die off if simply ignored.
But there are insecurities that are far more severe and have deeper and wider implications. Insecurity means lacking stability, certainty and protection from risk or harm. But I found that defining something is easier by defining what it’s not. I found this on Wikipedia: “Security as a national condition was defined in a United Nations study, so that countries can develop and progress safely. Security has to be compared to related concepts: safety, continuity, reliability. The key difference between security and reliability is that security must take into account the actions of people attempting to cause destruction.”
So we defined security and found that it’s more than protecting borders and going into wars. Lack of peace, food, work and opportunities for genuine development are just some of the insecurities our society is being faced today. These are persistent insecurities that would not die down no matter how we ignore them. These are often called non-traditional security concerns.
I have been thinking about insecurities for some time, especially when a mom trended on the net when she gave her seven-year old daughter a liposuction voucher for Christmas. My mind got provoked again when June Marie Dosdos posted a link on Facebook saying only 4% of the Philippine coral reefs are in excellent condition. She followed the link with this: “Only four (4) percent, FOUR!!! Shouldn’t this set off the loudest alarm bells for everyone who cares about our Philippine oceans, our country, our people??”
My quick reaction keys immediately auto-typed, “this should be a national security concern! dapat red alert ang navy at marines sa pag babantay sa mga nagpo-pollute ng water bodies! ang presidente dapat mag-declare na ng national calamity in philippine seas!”
I felt June. We were on the same boat. We understood the gravity of the situation and we had every right to rant about it, albeit on Facebook. I hoped that it would spark an Occupy-like movement or at least a rally like Save the Trees in Baguio. But our rant was followed by a deep disturbing silence.
A 600 kg giant sea turtle found dead with a couple of plactic bags in its stomach. Photo from Austin Don Perez on Facebook
Robert Redford once said “I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend?” It was articulated in the same vein by my former boss, Magsaysay Awardee Atty. Antonio Oposa Jr. when he launched the 10Million Movement in 2009: “Environmental Security is the highest form of national security.” Yes, it is neither Secretary Paje nor President Noynoy Aquino who popularized the quotation. If it were not an empty statement coming from them, I would have left them on their own.
It is interesting to note that we as a nation hold our breath on Kris Aquino’s new anti hair ageing shampoo and be interested in Jinky Pacquiao’s new cosmetic procedure while keeping mum about 4% or coral reefs remaining in good condition. We could look the other way when faced with concerns that could shake the very core of our motherland.
People who ring the bells are often called alarmists, doomsayer or fear-monger. I can live with that. What I can’t live with is to sit around in silence thinking our worst insecurities would simply go away. Remember Sendong and how three years ago a tragedy could have been averted? So what do we do now about our dying coral reefs and the unabated pollution wreaking havoc to our climate?
They say that everything in life is a choice. Society views things in a certain perspective but we can change our own. We can be bothered by petty things or be concerned about things that really matter. We can choose to be insecured about the fine lines that are starting to appear on our forehead or speak against the rape of our coral reefs. We can check out the latest slimming trends or act against irresponsible mining. We can ignore little things or ignite about crucial ones.
We can choose. What are we going to worry about and act on today?