Mother Earth Foundation’s (MEF) Organics Fair & the 3R (Refill, Reuse, Repair) Revolution Program Launch

January 27, 2023

Mother Earth Foundation’s (MEF) Organics Fair & the 3R (Refill, Reuse, Repair) Revolution Program Launch

Inspirational Message of
Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda
26 January 2023

My dear friends, I am honored to be in the presence once again of like-minded environmentalists. We can talk about all the best ways we can achieve zero waste and ask each other how to maximize the use of what others would throw away without thinking. But is our movement growing at the pace it needs to grow? Or are we being overtaken?

It is 2023. 7 years before our deadline for SDGs, the same deadline to reach 30% of our planet being conserved, and the deadline for action to avert catastrophic climate change and we still do not seem to be in the right state of controlled panic.

It is time to leave the fringes, and break free from being the odd environmentalist in the group who feels bad about being handed plastic utensils in a restaurant, about sea level rise, and who objects endlessly to things as normal to others as factory farms, lack of sewerage, car-centric cities and endless construction as if we have excess mountains to flatten for their aggregates and endless beaches to shrink for their sand.

Development is necessary. But there is no other way to do it but to be aware of the limits. The earth is finite, our resources are finite. We will eventually bump up against the very edge. Do we plan to reach that edge before or after ecosystems collapse all around us? It seems this finiteness is a difficult thing to understand, especially for business and economics. So, I suggest we seek refuge in things we cannot deny, and we cannot change— the laws of physics.

The law of conservation of matter — matter can neither be created nor destroyed. We know this as the second law of ecology but there are so few of us. Applied to everyday life, the 12 million people in NCR take agricultural products from surrounding regions. Where does it go after we digest it but to Manila Bay? How do you keep fertility in these regions unless you bring back that fertility rather than dump it where it pollutes? Applied to our patterns of consumption and online shopping, we may have already gone beyond the limit of what earth can take in terms of discards. Finiteness and the law of conservation of matter mean there should be no such things as discards.

Next, we borrow Newton’s laws of motion for our movement to go mainstream. Paraphrased, society will not change its movement unless a force acts on it. We have to act on society, with as much mass and acceleration as we can muster for it to move in the opposite direction with equal magnitude.

I find comfort that our zero waste journey is no longer so unknown or seen as so impossible. Households are jumping on the bandwagon and seeking each other out for tips and tricks. Where best to bring clean plastics for bricks, are eco-bricks in bottles truly sustainable, best ways to upcycle ill-fitting clothes, etc. But notice also that we are being barraged with social media recipes that use packaged food. This trend needs an equal and opposite reaction. We have to get the supply chain fixed to avoid oversupply that keeps consumer prices still high. The laws of economics can be subverted by cartels, but the laws of physics are immutable. We have to increase the prevalence of shorter chains, and consumer-supported agriculture systems that help both sides of the supply chain. We have to try more consumer-supported agriculture systems where institutional buyers help small farmers and support good, clean, and fair food.

Kung gusto natin ng masaganang ani para sa ating mga magsasaka, maraming huling isda para sa ating mga mangingisda, mura pero masustansyang pagkain para sa mga konsumer, malagong ekonomiya kung saan ang lahat ay may ligtas na trabaho at masagana at sustenableng pamumuhay, hindi maaaring iwasan ang usapin ng klima at pagkalipol ng samu’t saring buhay.

May palagay ako na organikong pagsasaka ang mamamayagpag at siyang makakalagpas sa krisis ng klima habang ang kasalukuyang malakihang agribusiness ay mangangailangang maghagilap ng paraan upang manaig sa krisis.

Samantala, itinuturo sa atin ng Slowfood Movement nina Carlo Petrini, siyang nagsimula nito sa Italy, na ang adbokasiyang ito ay hindi lamang paglaban gamit ang nakataas na kamao kundi nagnanamnam na tunay na sarap ng sariwa at lokal na pagkain, nagbubuo ng mga grupo sa hapagkainan na ipagtatanggol ang samu’t saring buhay.

Itali natin ang ating pagkain sa ekosistema at magiging tama ang ating mga pipiliing kainin.

Thank you. Mabuhay. [END]