Submitted as a school paper for General Ecology class, on the topic of Populations and the Environment
As of the July 2005 estimates, there are approximately 83.05 million Pilipinos living in the country. Compare that to the 2000 census wherein is was estimated that there were 76.50 million of us living in the country, that means that in the last five years our population has increased by 6.55 million people. That’s twice the rate of population increase over the same period of five years compared to Malaysia and Thailand.
In Metro Manila alone, there are some 11 million Pilipinos living in the 636 km2 area occupied by the metropolis, that’s 17,751 people per km². Here in Cavite, there are 2,063,161 people as of 2000,(5th largest in the country) with 1,590 per km² (the highest in the country) all that people living in an area of 1,297.6 km² which is the 9th the smallest(!) in the country and last I heard, more and more people are moving in to the province from neighboring Manila and other provinces. Soon enough, true-blooded Caviteños would be far outnumbered by
Clearly, ours is a population on the rise, in fact figures from the National Statistics Office indicate that as of the year 2000, three (3) babies were born every minute nationwide. With all these mouths to feed-in a manner of speaking, where would we put them, where would get the food to feed them and what other resources would they consume? The question that really begs to be answered is, ‘Is there enough for everyone?’
Fortunately, the Philippines has been blessed with a remarkable abundance of natural resources. The Philippines ranks 2nd in the world for gold endowment (grams per ton), 3rd in copper and 6th in chromite. The Philippines is also a known producer of minerals worldwide ranking 8th in the production of gold, 9th in Chromite and 10th in copper. We have a coastline that is twice that of the United States of America with seas teeming with very diverse marine life. Our forests are among the most highly diverse and unique in the world. Our lands are among the most fertile and most suited for agriculture due to the volcanic nature of out geography.
Unfortunately, these resources are fast being depleted, destroyed, and over exploited due to population and economic growth demands. What’s more distressing, is that foreign corporations are getting the lion’s share of some of our most valuable and vital of natural resources. Corporate mining let loose by the flawed Mining Act of 1995 has resulted in destruction of water bodies, health deterioration, cropland ecosystem destruction, and deforestation. In 1903, there were more than 21 million hectares of forest in the Philippines more than half of the total land area of the whole country. Today, less than six million hectares of forest is left. Logging operations, mining activities and land development projects have all contributed to the alarming rate of forest destruction in the Philippines. Its effects are even more troubling; soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, disruption of water cycle and displacement of Indigenous Peoples’ communities.
Our booming population has demanded lands be converted to agricultural use however, globalization and the rising trend of land use conversion which has been targeted for industrial, commercial, recreational and residential uses are mostly irrigated agricultural lands. This has threatened the country’s food security and has added more pressure to the ecosytem due to the added pollution and resource consumption by industrial, commercial, recreational and residential demands and activities. The end result is appalling, reduced soil quality, emergence of species resistant to these chemicals, pesticide poisoning, genetic erosion, and decimation of hundreds of indigenous rice varieties with the use of HYVs
I could go on and tell more about the state of our rivers, lakes and other water resources but I believe that what I have expounded upon above is enough to paint a picture, a gloomy yet alarming picture of our country’s environmental and its natural resources’ status. Both of which are placed at high levels of stress even destruction by our booming population and insatiable thirst for material wants, comforts, and commercial mindset. All made worse by our unsustainable practices and loathesome attitude towards mending our ways and adopting a new and sustainable mindset which would then be expressed in concrete practices.
To conclude this exposition, I’d like to remind everyone, every decent human being that we are living in an island we cannot leave, and that in this island, supplies are truly limited. So please, let us use only what we need.
Philippine Environmental Primer. Center for Environmental Concerns. Accessed August 08, 2006. Website: http://www.psdn.org.ph/cec/cec.htm
Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia. (2006, February 13). FL: Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. Accessed August 08, 2006, from http://www.wikipedia.org