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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Grrrrrrrrr......what's wrong with us guys? (Part I)


All four Mondays of A Space in Space this month will tackle, in parts, acts unbecoming of human beings; man’s actions that provoke the conservationist, inflame the patriot, arouse a teeth gritting “grrrrrrrr” from a passionate climber, and enrage a televiewer for TV programs that continue to insult the intelligence.

First, there’s the bothering plight of the whale sharks - the “butandings” that thrive mostly in the waters of Donsol, Sorsogon. Sometimes, they are sighted in Visayan waters as they migrate to Australia.

Second concern is the flying of a tattered flag on a National Flag Day, May 28, to run until next Monday the 12th, Independence Day. Two years ago, I called the attention of the Visitor Information Center officer in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte for a tattered flag waving from a pole at the city plaza. After sometime, I couldn’t imagine it could also happen in my waters. Imagine barangay officials of Carreta one in allowing the display of a tattered flag? What would that speak of community leaders?

Well, such could be taken as a communal expression of defiance to a particular governance, maybe; but it still is a poor display of mockery at the state of this nation. Because how ever inefficient some of our leaders have become, such could not tarnish the spirit for which the emblem stands for.

The flag remains to be a symbol of our nationhood, so that utmost respect and care should be given to such. Though this has been deliberately used in the wrong manner as what happened during some mass protests, the state of hopelessness that these mass actions would like to project should not overshadow what was atoned for to redeem a sense of independence.

Third concern is on climbers who went up (or did they race?) on Everest, (though this was for the umpteenth time denied), came back questioned as to who really came first as if that was the only thing that’s important to do on Everest. What’s wrong with us guys? Far as I know, we climbers weren’t trained that way. We weren’t supposed to pit racing skills against fellow mountaineers, or test how far in projectile motion could our pees reach, as we only have our very own self to conquer. Mountain savvy taught us not only this one tangible, immutable and concrete love of the great outdoors, but also the golden principle “that climbing is not about reaching the summit all the time. It is knowing when to go down.” If indeed we Pinoys are one in putting our “first man” there, why were there two giant networks clawing and axing their way to Sagarmatha so desperately?

We climbers are supposed to teach others that there is so much about mountains that’s worth the try – the challenge, the camaraderie, the sense of mission. Climbing provides for us most of what have been missing in civvy streets. But now, with the claims on who had legitimately summitted first, aren’t we showing the world we have carried not backpacks there, but our division, literally on higher ground and in the international alpining arena?

Fourth grrrrrr: Geezzz, why can’t our telenovelas switch to more sensible storylines, and put an end to the bullshits of old-time soap-opera formula like themes on the fight for inheritance, killing the wife to gain possession of the man, kidnappings in struggle for power and stardom, Romeo-and-Juliet love affairs --- I would want to throw up to these “laspag, gasgas na” items!

Now back to the butandings. Though they serve as swimming testimonies to the fact that not all sharks attack, despite their 300 rows of teeth, these gentle ocean giants have suffered much too much from acts unbecoming of human beings.

Recently, fishermen towed a baby butanding, estimated to be about two years old yet, from seawaters of Mactan island to Talisay City.

The baby whale shark got killed obviously because of dehydration, exhaustion, and the loss of blood through wounds inflicted on it, most especially around its tail which was tied with a nylon cord. On local television, children were seen jumping on top of the dead baby butanding, others giving it a stomp, a pinch, a prick in a manner that speaks of the merger of curiosity and ignorance.

Weeks ago, another report on the death of a butanding in Montreal, Masbate enraged me. The whale shark sustained 13 wounds believed inflicted by either spears or bullets.

The argument raised on such carnage is economics-based – those fishermen have to survive, and thus have to catch the butanding for commodity, and also a source of income. The other point is on the poor education, or the lack of it, of these fishermen when it comes to man’s interconnectivity with the environment, the key role man plays in the ecosystem, and the call for man’s participation to preserve biodiversity.

Okay, so what’s the big fuss over carnage of butandings? Why would extend an empathy for such gentle ocean giants? Preservation of the largest, believed the oldest living fish, is beneficial in studying the effects of global warming on migratory fish and in determining the effects of pollution to plankton-feeding sea creatures.

Carnage and or poaching disrupts conservation efforts and the active compilation and tracking of these creatures that offer research little haul in understanding behavior, longevity, reproduction and benefits due to their solitude.

Besides, sharks are the apex predators in the sea, and their being on top of the ocean food chain reportedly makes them important. Apex predators prey upon healthy animals and thus, ensure diversity and control populations. When apex predators are eliminated from any area, such results to ecological imbalance. Sharks, as apex predators, maintain the health of the oceans – 4/5th of the planet’s surface. It has been pointed out that an ecological imbalance in the environment spanning 4/5th of the world could cause real problems for the other 1/5th.

Now, the big challenge is to bring behind bars environmental offenders or educate fishermen to reconsider the choice of butandings to appease hunger pangs.

***
TEXTPRESS URSELF! “hi maria, god bles u richly I like what u wrote. Yes, I agree wit u life s d coffee nt d cup (Re: LIFE IS COFFEE article) lif is beautiful its us dat unmake it not itself. – jrom 8-May-2006 22:38:34. Mobile phone number withheld.

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