Over 300 Conservationists and Experts Appeal to Filipinos to Save the Environment
In an unprecedented show unity triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, eco leaders urge Filipinos to put nature on top of the agenda following the health crisis. As the world celebrated Earth Day on April 22, conservationists around the country appealed to Filipinos to lead the world in protecting the environment.
An open letter to the present and future leaders of the country, signed by more than 300 scientists, conservationists, and academicians, reminded Filipinos of their role as stewards of nature, as the country adjusts to a “new normal” brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, the conversion of natural ecosystems such as forests, mangrove forests, wetlands, seagrass beds, and coral reefs have resulted in many calamities.
“These have heavily impacted the lives of Filipinos through widespread flooding, landslides, destruction of farmlands and fishing grounds, and loss of property and lives. We have experienced water shortages and droughts due to extreme weather events as a result of the changing climate.
“Destroying wild habitats and wildlife trade also increases 'virus spillover risk' from wildlife to humans, giving rise to deadly diseases such as COVID-19,” it explained.
The letter said that, in order to prevent future pandemics and other threats to the survival of the Filipino people, Filipinos must address three interconnected emergencies: biodiversity loss, climate change, and ecological amnesia.
They also called on government leaders to aggressively support the protection of remaining natural ecosystems and the restoration of destroyed ones.
To view the full letter and its list of signatories, click here.