Earth Day


Whether the U.S. Congress or the United Nations gets the credit for starting Earth Day is immaterial. What matters in the Northern Mariana Islands where the pristine nature of Mother Gaia is still recognizable is whether the awareness of the day keeps bodies behaving toward mother as an organic “thou” rather than an inert “it.”

The population explosion in the islands is not among members of the indigenous community whose landownership right is constitutionally protected in Article 12 of the Commonwealth Constitution. Rather, it is the swift capital influx with contract workers in tow to fund construction and administrative services.

Laidback indigenes languish on the false security of sole landownership, blindly embracing mercenary use of public land for the quick increase in revenues and fees without much consideration for long-term consequences. The military lease on land in the Marianas holds the upper hand at the planning table and no one knows exactly what DoD has in store, their environmental statement report so dense that it requires an expert to make it understandable, according to local academics.

Like the bigger picture of the planet itself, owning the land and the rights to its shoreline resources is not enough. The planet presently carry more than its sustainable load, figured at the subsistence level. Meanwhile, the industrialized nations proceed with a rapacious unsustainable use of resources it creates and protects as its prerogative.

We are not indulging in a blame game or fear mongering. We note that the interest of the local has become the domain of the global, leading Japan to create in the ’80s the word “glocal” as pertaining to global systems and structures in the local. That interrelatedness is no longer an option but a given.

While we point to inequality of gains and benefits glocally exacerbating the overcrowding in choice geographical locations, with a sickly planet continually violated by human intrusion into its ecological balance, we do not despair. We may bury our heads in the sand but we are clear that the planet’s extremely strained support system is within our management scope. Our brains’ interconnect is inevitable; we can prevail if we focus to create rather than destroy.

Efforts are being made to cut down pollution and improve air quality. Carbon emission agreed upon by countries is insufficient to stem the evolution of species assaulted by the chemical intrusion on body metabolism. Nor is it helpful that the lard seems to be more accessible of late, given the sizes of our girths, and the habit of burning fossil fuel rather than calories!

A U.S. general wrote to the Marines: “You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.” So it is with the human specie. We need to interrelate some seven billion human brains to ensure the survival of Mama Gaia’s health before comfort overweighs gains. In our island’s creative sloganeering, Earthify, not Obesify! Good day.

Saipan Tribune

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