BFF Jhed Reiyana Tamano, BS Business Administration, Bulacan State University
The Earth does not breed money-growing trees. No, it simply houses the millions of living species known to sustain ecosystems and maintain biodiversity. Surely, a paper bill and coin could never stand a match? Well, the big companies and government infrastructure projects would most certainly beg to differ.
In the Philippines, its longest mountain range of 1.4 million hectares and 40% of the country’s forest cover, Sierra Madre, must know this well. With the continuation of illegal logging and mining activities, we fail to remember that our forests are more than just another source of profit. Above that, it is firstly a home — the home of our various animals, plants, and communities of people as well. Secondly, it is the source of livelihood and survival of these living things. It is also our protector, our natural shield from typhoons and storm surges. So, why would anyone wish to take it away from us?
Sometimes, we believe that there is no other choice, with so much conversion of lands for agriculture and road and dam constructions taking place to meet the demands of the rising population. However, we greatly jeopardize the state of our forests. At the expense of the homes, source of livelihoods, and survival of many species we must protect, the ones on top get to maximize their money for such band-aid solutions.
But, it’s not too late. There are so many ways to prevent these from happening, and at the same time to do more for our environment. That is to address the issues causing the demand to increase and to create sustainable solutions that would no longer require too much deforestation and improper land use. This also means calling out the wealthy companies and corrupt government officials from pocketing unnecessarily huge amounts of money especially for initiatives that come at the cost of other living things.
Personally, as a Business Administration student, I never had an interest in my program because I felt that there were other places I could put my energy to in order to help people. However, after a while, I realized that business does not have to be just about making money and giving people jobs. It also meant giving more than enough wages and innovating so that we would not need to take away what would only hurt our environment and our people. Most importantly, this meant taking a cut out of the wealth many are currently hoarding. If all operating businesses had the privilege of what the big companies have, then we all would not need to sacrifice the richness of our country for the survival of most. If the paper bill and coin truly outweigh the prosperity of biodiversity, then how come the rich do not save us?
It must start from the top this time.
Forest Foundation Philippines, in partnership with Edukasyon.ph, its grantee, implemented the Best Friends of the Forest Movement (#BFFMovement) Online Fellowship Program to support young forest advocates in the country’s most critical forest landscapes – Sierra Madre, Palawan, Samar and Leyte, and Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental. Through the program, students were given access to learning resources, mentorship opportunities, and platforms to showcase their passion projects. This published material is a passion project of our Best Friend of the Forest. The views and opinions expressed in this material are those of our Best Friend, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Forest Foundation Philippines and Edukasyon.ph. Furthermore, both Forest Foundation Philippines and Edukasyon.ph assume no liability or responsibility for any inaccurate or incomplete information presented in this material.