Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Month of the hungry ghosts or hungry men?

FRIDAY, August 14, is the start of the Ghost Month. If we go by the Taiwanese version, it means that ghosts will haunt the Philippines with the first day of the month marked by the opening of the temple gates (a.k.a. The Gates of Hell!). Never mind that Dan Brown in his novel, Inferno, referred to Manila as the gates of hell. During this Ghost Month (which ends on September 12), incense and food are offered to the spirits (to discourage them from visiting our homes) and spirit paper money burnt as an offering. Also during the month, people avoid surgery, buying cars, swimming, and going out after dark. It is also important that addresses are not revealed to the ghosts.

There are more caveats regarding this ghostly month (Please see our centerfold in this week’s issue of the Baguio Chronicle). But the greater question in this world of flesh is: Should we be afraid of the ghosts or the men?

We brought this to forth because August 13 is this year’s Earth Overshoot Day or EOD. This means that last Thursday is the day when humanity’s resource consumption for the year exceeds the Earth’s capacity to regenerate these resources. The EOD is also known as the Ecological Debt Day. This started in 1987 by the Global Footprint Network or GFN to draw on the Earth’s very finite resources and how fast we are overshooting our consumption.

The GFN also came out with an equation to calculate this year’s EOD which is: World Biocapacity divided by the World Ecological Footprint multiplied by 365. In 1987, the WEOD was December 19. In 1990, it became December 7 then down to November 21 in 1995. By 2010, it was August 21 and last year, the deceleration slowed down to August 21. Last year, it was August 19. Now it is August 13.

What did you do last Thursday? Probably, nothing if you are in Manila because it rained and the rains flooded the roads and traffic put us on a standstill. In Baguio, there was nothing much to do because school in the college just started and students were just getting to know each other. This is the dead season for tourists so there were a few of them in the city.

If ever there was a celebration, it was The Big Bang in Tianjin, China last Wednesday night when a series of explosions from a warehouse of dangerous chemicals killed at least 50 people and injured more than 400.

It is said that all of humankind now needs 1.6 Earths. The Philippines needs 1.9 Philippines to consume within this year, almost the same as that of the United States. The United Arab Emirates needs 12.3 UAE to support its residents, Japanese need 7 Japans and Chinese need 2.2 Chinas.

All of us here on Earth would need two Earths by 2030. Is that why we are trying to colonize Mars and why we are reconsidering Pluto?

We wonder how many Baguios Baguio residents need for its consumption. We would expect a lot because that is what BLISTT is trying to remedy already. It’s been decades and nothing’s happening on that concept. But eventually, we would be outpacing our resources as well.

Let us try to go on the old-fashioned ways to tip the balance to our favor or advantage. Let us plant more trees and other greens, use renewable energy and, most of all, moderate greed --- our never-ending and insatiable greed!

Are you with us?*


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