My background in social science conditioned me to think analytically. This, of course, is generally positive, as I became accustomed to questioning the common order of things. It’s inevitable, however, for anyone who has such an outlook to be blind to the huge difference between reality and what the human conscience dictates it should be. Eventually, I was convinced that there is just too much greed and deceit embedded in society, and the forces behind it are too collosal to go against, let alone defeat.
For many, it’s this cynical frame of mind that pushes the right to vote to the same plane as superficial activities—such as getting a driver’s license, or applying for a social security ID--which is why many people tend to shy away from engaging in politics altogether. Who could blame them, when they’ve been let down so many times by politicians, sometimes even by democracy itself?
Moreover, it seems that for many Filipinos, there is a gulf--an incompatibility--between the elections and the matter of protecting the environment. Hence, the perception that environmental advocates have the least bit to do with the elections.
In defiance of this notion, Greenpeace volunteers, alongside members of our partner organizations, went to the Comission on Elections last Tuesday to challenge the voting public to have a green conscience, and to think on behalf of the environment when they cast their votes on May 13. They proclaim that just as economic growth and social justice are rightful indicators of our success as a nation, so is environmental sustainability.
Paeng Lopez of the Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance (GAIA), attests to this, by saying “Economic development and environmental protection must be concurrent.” He adds, “the two shouldn’t ever be in conflict; we have to find a way to marry them.”
Hearing this, and seeing some of my colleagues clad in what must be uncomfortable superhero costumes somehow turned my cynical outlook around. Somehow I found myself shouting out “berde ka ba?” in unison with the rest of the eco-warriors there, with nothing in mind but the thought that I should have no less motivation to engage in politics as those who lobby for human rights, or those who fight to abolish corruption. Indeed, exercising my right to vote and encouraging those around me to do the same is still a powerful way to turn the tables on our politicians, and remind the government that it is of and for me.
The elections are one of the rare occasions in which we can show that we assume full responsibility for ourselves, our nation, and ultimately, our world.
Join us in safeguarding the Filipinos’ right to a balanced and healthful ecology by following Green Electoral Initiative's Berde Ka Ba? Twitter account.
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