Looking for a simple and doable new year’s resolution? How about one that lives and grows?
To plant trees may well be the most suitable resolution environmentally minded Filipinos can make in the new year, as it is the “perfect way of giving back what we have extracted from mother earth,” said Environment Secretary Ramon Paje.
“Tree-planting is not only a rewarding experience but also a great step toward improving and protecting our environment,” said Paje in a recent statement.
Planting a tree, he added, could be considered an investment in the future given the “environmental rewards.”
“As an essential part of the ecosystem, trees not only provide homes and food for humans and wildlife, they also produce much of the earth’s oxygen, help reduce noise and air pollution, and prevent soil erosion,” he said.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has its own new year’s resolution, vowing to intensify reforestation efforts through the National Greening Program (NGP).
The program seeks to cover 1.5 million hectares of land with trees through 2016. So far, since its inception in 2011, the DENR has planted seedlings on more than 232,000 hectares all over the country.
“One does not have to be part of the government or an environmental group to make a positive impact on his surroundings,” Paje said. “Filipinos from all walks of life are encouraged to do their part to sustain the environment by planting trees.”
The official said trees could lessen the impact of global warming caused by carbon dioxide emissions, which has been blamed for the extreme weather patterns being experienced worldwide.
“Planting trees not only greens and beautifies [surrounding] areas… it is also one of the ways to offset carbon emissions,” Paje said.
Doing the reverse of humans, trees breathe by “inhaling” carbon dioxide, one of the major causes of the greenhouse effect and climate change, and “exhaling” oxygen which in turn is inhaled by humans and other living organisms, and the cycle goes on.
The NGP, along with the government’s log ban, received a perfect score in the 2012 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) of the world, the DENR said.
This helped raise the Philippines’ ranking by eight notches from 50th place in 2010 to 42nd in 2012 out of 132 countries surveyed.
The Philippines outranked nations like South Korea (43rd), Australia (48th), United States (49th), Singapore (52nd) and Israel (61st) in the EPI, the DENR said.
The EPI evaluates the sustainability of the environmental programs and policies of countries and is conducted by Yale University, Columbia University, the World Economic Forum and the Joint Research Center of the European Commission.