Green Agenda

There is a strong consensus among many biologists that the natural world is in deep trouble. The biosphere, upon which all life depends, is being shredded. And there is abundant evidence that environmental deterioration has led to serious chronic disease among humans, especially among people of color and low-income populations.

THE SCIENCE OF GLOBAL WARMING

Climate change is a shift in the “average weather” that a given region experiences. This is measured by changes in all the features we associate with weather, such as temperature, wind patterns, precipitation, and storms. Global climate change means change in the climate of the Earth as a whole. Global climate change does occur naturally the ice age is an example. The Earth's natural climate has always been, and still is, constantly changing. The climate change we are seeing today differs from previous climate change in both its rate and its magnitude.

The temperature on Earth is regulated by a system known as the “greenhouse effect”. Greenhouse gases primarily water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide trap the heat of the sun, preventing radiation from dissipating into space. Without the effect of these naturally occurring gases, the average temperature on the Earth would be -18° C, instead of the current average of 15°. Life as we know it would be impossible.

Over the past 200 years, emissions of these gases due to human activities have accumulated in the atmosphere, where, because of their long life, they stay for anywhere from decades to centuries. As a result, since the Industrial Revolution, concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased by 30 per cent, methane by 145 per cent, and nitrous oxide by 15 per cent.

The cause of these increases has been human activities related to our increasingly sophisticated and mechanized lifestyle, in particular the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas to generate electricity and in factories and cars. As well, we have cleared more land for human use in the past 100 years than in all of prior human history. This has resulted in the loss of forests and wetlands, which absorb and store greenhouse gases and naturally regulate the atmosphere.

In effect, by increasing the amount of these heat-trapping gases, we have “enhanced” the natural greenhouse effect to the point that it has the potential to warm the planet at a rate that has never been experienced in human history. Already, the average global temperature has increased by about 0.5° C in the past 100 years, and temperature increases over the next 100 years are expected to significantly surpass any such change of the past 10,000 years.

Raising the global temperature may trigger a series of changes within the overall global climate system. For instance, global sea levels have risen 10-25 cm over the past 100 years, and are expected to continue to rise due to increases in temperature. We are also seeing increases in severe weather events. Such impacts of climate change could have far-reaching and/or unpredictable environmental, social, and economic consequences. Indeed, the climate change problem and the related changes it may bring about are among the most serious of the environmental issues that we face today.

Future Projections

Scientists have been able to make some projections about how greenhouse gas concentrations may change over the next hundred years, based on a range of scenarios.

The most extreme scenario is based on an assumption that high economic growth will continue, and that humans will continue to use coal, oil, and gas globally for their energy needs. This scenario suggests that concentrations of carbon dioxide could reach more than three times pre-industrial levels by 2100. Even the most hopeful scenario based on low growth in global population and intensive conversion to renewable energies suggests that carbon dioxide concentrations would be about 75 per cent higher than pre-industrial levels by 2100, and would continue to rise thereafter. Stabilizing global emissions at 1990 levels now would have the same effect, because of the long life of these gases in the atmosphere.

Advanced climate models developed by scientists in the international research community suggests that average global surface temperatures could increase on average by almost a half degree each decade during the next century. To provide an idea of what that means, global warming over the next century could be as great as the change in temperature between the peak of the last ice age, some 25,000 years ago, and today.

Potential Impacts of Climate Change

There is little doubt about the significance of these projections. In general, all available models agree that warming will be greater in Arctic regions than in equatorial regions, and that continents will warm more than oceans. Beyond this, however, scientists are not able to predict the exact consequences of continued increases in greenhouse gas concentrations or its impact on specific regions.

Around the world, climate change is projected to:

  • Threaten the world's boreal forests with an increased fire risk because of the drying climate;
  • Cause water needs to outstrip supply;
  • Cause severe water loss due to changes in evaporation and precipitation patterns;
  • Deaths from global warming will double in just 25 years -- to 300,000 people a year;
  • Global sea levels could rise by more than 20 feet with the loss of shelf ice in Greenland and Antarctica, devastating coastal areas worldwide;
  • Heat waves will be more frequent and more intense;
  • Droughts and wildfires will occur more often;
  • The Arctic Ocean could be ice free in summer by 2050;
  • More than a million species worldwide could be driven to extinction by 2050; and
  • Encourage the movement of tropical diseases such as malaria northward, where populations have little or no immunity.

BUILDING A CASE FOR CHANGE

Eco-consciousness appears to be hitting the mainstream. For years, it was only the truly committed, the painfully hip and the guiltily ashamed who were willing to stand up in public and say they were willing to do something for the environment.

Now environmentalism has gone way beyond the so-called “tree huggers”. We just may be entering a time when everyone from average individuals to giant corporations to politicians of all ideologies agree that the evidence of environmental degradation is so overwhelming that it's finally time to act.

The quality of our environment affects all of us no matter where we live. The environment is our home. If it is not healthy, nor are we. When people abuse the environment, this affects us all. If water is polluted, if the air is full of smoke and chemicals, if food contains poisons, people (and plants and animals) get sick.

All people also have a responsibility to protect and use the environment in a way that will protect it for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren.

It is unfortunate that many people don't understand why we need to worry about the environment. They think people's needs and environmental needs cannot both be looked after, and that people are more important than the environment. They say that our major aim must be creating economic growth and jobs, and that the green (environmental) agenda must take second place. Some people feel hurt or insulted when others show concern over endangered species like pandas when children do not have enough to eat.

But, the environment is really the whole planet on which we live. Everything (winds, trees, animals, insects, people, etc.) forms part of the living system of earth. For example, trees are important because they make oxygen which helps us breathe. If too many trees are cut down for firewood or furniture this reduces the amount of oxygen going into the earth's system. Over time, this can have a very bad effect on people and animals. These are some examples of what is happening to the earth because it has been exploited and not protected: weather patterns have changed, there are more droughts and more floods, the temperature is rising and most important, the ozone layer that should protect us from the dangerous rays of the sun has been damaged and does not work as effectively as it did before.

So, it is important to protect the environment from being exploited and it is the reason why people now talk about the term sustainable development.

A NEW ORDER IN CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Corporate social responsibility in the realm of the environment is a growing phenomenon within the boardrooms and management levels of major national and international corporations. Corporations are responding to pressure with a growing awareness of the necessity to meet environmental issues head on.

Corporations more and more are forced to turn to issues of social and environmental responsibilities.

Nowadays, many corporations are slowly learning that consumers and business customers often seek to align themselves with firms that have a reputation for social responsibility. And to stay competitive in global markets corporations have developed strong supply chains through which they can impose rules of conduct on their suppliers as well as on their own divisions and subsidiaries.

Studies indicate that many corporations see immediate and direct business benefits from proactive environmental management. Many companies also perceive longer-term returns from promoting sustainable development, including stronger competitive advantage, preservation of crucial resources and raw materials, favorable corporate image, and opportunities for new product development. Moreover, many corporations now realize that the benefits of a strong reputation for corporate citizenship can include greater access to capital, reduced operating costs, improved financial performance, and enhanced brand image. Socially responsible environmental practices may also lead to stronger sales and customer loyalty, increased productivity and quality, an enhanced ability to attract and retain employees and, in some cases, to reduced regulatory oversight or more favorable treatment by regulatory agencies.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: A LOCAL ACTION FOR A GLOBAL PROBLEM

Few actions have as positive and lasting an impact on a community as the planting of new trees. Trees increase in value and beauty as the years go by, stamping their character on the visual landscape of the community.

In an effort to address two leading social issues (i.e., environmental protection and livelihood generation) in a developing country like the Philippines, our company has identified several villages within Baliuag, Bulacan and Candaba, Pampanga who will serve as project centers of our company’s “GREEN AGENDA” project.

Village leaders have identified families within their area who will become the direct beneficiaries of donated mango seedlings….and more importantly, they have short-listed beneficiaries who are willing to nourish and manage these mango seedlings through the years to come.

The idea being promoted is to donate mango seedlings to beneficiaries who are willing to nurture and manage these seedlings up to the time it generates income which the seedling beneficiary can benefit from. In addition, trees that generate some form of income will surely be protected and preserved for decades to come which will have a “sustained” positive impact on the general environment.

COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS

Detailed below is an economic/environmental analysis on the impact of donating and planting ONE THOUSAND (1,000) mango seedlings to a prospective village.


1 Average selling price per kilo in Luzon for CY 2006
2 Average cost of mango farming per kilo in Luzon for CY 2006
3 An average citizen in Southeast Asia emits 2.2 metric tonnes of CO2 per year

Needless to say, the intangible benefit of planting a mango tree is immeasurable. Mango trees are considered a valuable resource because of the following:

  • Mango trees provide shade and cooling for more pleasant summer living, and substantial savings on your electric bill. Three well-placed trees on the east, south, and west sides of a home will shade it from summer sun and lower cooling costs by 10 to 50 percent.
  • Mango trees add to the value of property.
  • The leaves on mango trees act as air cleaners, replacing harmful carbon dioxide with life-giving oxygen.
  • Mango trees improve and protect the quality of our water. They act as water purifiers thereby contributing to the general health of the community.
  • Mango trees help control climate since the rainfall of a region is directly linked to its forest cover.
  • Mango trees provide shelter for wildlife, slow rainfall runoff, and help to prevent soil erosion. They also muffle noise and provide privacy.
  • Mango trees help reduce stress by providing a serene and peaceful setting for contemplation and reflection.
  • Mango trees add beauty and grace to a community setting and offer a rich inheritance for future generations. They provide much of the charm and ambiance that attracts visitors to communities.

Lastly, it is important to note that the planting of mango trees does not just have the symbolic meaning of creating life and a better future for beneficiaries. Planting mango trees through this advocacy program can largely contribute to the global effort of combating deforestation, ensuring the quality of the soil and maintaining the correct balance of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. These issues cannot be underestimated in terms of their significance among today’s environmental challenges brought about by climate change.

THE COST OF MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Given this opportunity to make a substantial economic contribution to a community and the environment, we encourage you to help promote this worthwhile livelihood-cum-environmental effort. Not only are you helping improve the environment, you are also contributing to the welfare of families in the adopted communities on a perpetual basis for decades to come.

The returns from an environmental and economic point of view are tremendous given such a minimal investment of US$1.50 per seedling (see inclusions below).

WHY MANGO SEEDLINGS

Mango trees in the Philippines do not simply serve an aesthetic purpose but in addition, these mango trees have become a source of livelihood for a great majority of people living in the provinces. Statistics show that around 2.5 million people are directly and indirectly benefiting from the mango industry. In the year 2003 alone, the mango industry contributed a total of Php15 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA) in the country’s agricultural sector. It is estimated today that the value of domestic production is worth roughly Php41 billion while export is placed at about US$31 million for fresh mangoes and US$30 million for processed mangoes.

Help us advance a sustainable community tree planting and environmental stewardship program. Support this community based program by ordering PHILIPPINE MANGO SEEDLINGS and donating it to our pre-listed communities or any community you may choose to adopt. Persuade your families, friends, customers, schools, community organizations, private corporations or anyone who wish to promote environmental preservation and generate community livelihood to join “GREEN AGENDA” now.