Quezon City, Philippines – “Preposterous! How ungrateful to Mother Earth!” exclaimed Yoly R. Esguerra, National Coordinator of a social development network Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) upon reading the tweet of Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Teddy Locsin Jr., last April 12. In his tweet, he insulted and almost dared and fitted Mother Earth versus humans. “Where is this random opinion and tweet coming from?” Ms. Esguerra asked.
Locsin in his tweeter account said, “I’d like to remind Earth that we are not guests. There is no Earth without us; we even gave this rock its name. Kill us and you extinguish yourself like you’d never existed.”
The PMPI said that the tweet is lacking in context as the country battles COVID-19 spread. True, there have been many studies correlating many of the plague, pandemic and diseases around the world to humanity’s behavior of tampering with the animals and the tinkering and destroying of the wilds. It said that if humanity will not radically change its ways in relating with nature, and given the current climate crisis, humans can disappear on the face of the earth, including the “good” secretary.
“While it seemed that the tweet was deleted as of this statement, we will not let this pass. This kind of human arrogance has clearly wronged the earth. The fact that scientists attribute the climate crisis as mainly driven by anthropogenic actions and humanity’s lack of genuine appreciation of the dynamics of the world’s life system challenges a radical change in our attitudes and behavior towards nature. We are not the “lord” above all creation.
The group also reminded Sec. Locsin that science recorded that planet earth is around 4.54 billion years old. Humans, on the other hand, appeared some 500,000 years ago according to anthropological and scientific research records. Therefore, long before humans existed, planet earth, the natural environment is already existing, The natural environment lives without human. Humans, however, cannot thrive without the natural environment. This is a fact not a fiction
“Humans make history. The planet is just the stage. Earth won’t even be history,” Locsin tweeted further. This manifests his elitist perspective of how history is made. He sees it from the eyes of those who wield power.
Before humans, the Earth has its self-organizing, self-regulating and self-balancing processes. And it made its own evolutionary history. However, when human species arrived, it slowly learned to tame and enslave the natural environment to support its greed couched in a drive to achieve a comfortable and better life. It started to make a history characterized by unprecedented destruction of vast life forms and now heating of the Earth’s atmosphere leading to climate changes, detrimental to all sentient beings.
Despite the deletion of the tweet, another Twitter netizen @Bibe asked Sec Locsin if he really tweeted this statement, providing a screenshot of the said tweet. The top diplomat did not deny nor admit and instead retweeted @Bibe to just read the Philosopher, George Berkeley, philosopher who theorizes and “denies the existence of material substance and instead contends that familiar objects like tables and chairs are only ideas in the minds of perceivers and, as a result, cannot exist without being perceived.
“Should or can we be allowed to imagine that the good Secretary has no material basis and just a pigment of our imagination? How come he is still around even if I think that he does not exist anymore? How I wish that all problematic government officials are just ideas in my head and that they have no materiality!” Esguerra uttered.
The Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc, a national network of civil society organizations, rights groups, peace and faith-based institutions has been campaigning for a paradigm shift in the way humans relate to nature and the recognition of the Rights of Nature since 2018. The campaign made a breakthrough when a bill recognizing the Rights of Nature were filed in both houses of Congress.
The advocacy network finds Mr. Locsin’s tweet blind from what nature has bestowed generously upon humankind since it evolved into the world. Each one has its own rightful place and role in the web of life. That the COVID-19 virus came from bats which were extracted from their natural habitat should made us understand that any actions of humans in the world creates changes and ripples because we are part of nature. We are nature, it further elaborated.
“We will work for the passage of the bill. When the bill is passed, it will redefine the behavior and mindset of people. It will create a better perspective of how to live harmoniously and respectfully with the environment,” Atty. Mario Maderazo, legal counsel of PMPI added.