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Like you never have before.
Like no worker has ever before.
Look at not only what has been done
But most especially
What is emergent.
With an inward scoop of uncomfortable humility
To admit OUR old ways failed.
fire-works scale failed.
So that we can gain new eyes.
Redraw and align our measures
To redeem life’s unledgered treasures.
Why? Because we did not live our lives.
We marauded it.
All of us did.
Funders, supporters, designers, makers, consumers, trashers.
We were fast and injurious.
Now, life is threatening to take a leave.
Proof we say?
99% of earthlings do not take “whole” breaths
69% of wildlife populations have been wiped out since just the 70’s
There are now more chickens in terms of weight
than all other kinds of birds combined.
By 2050, the blue planet will be 70% built planet.
In these 7,640 isle suites we call home
Are also many islands of contradictions.
“Center of marine biodiversity”, scientists say
Yet the only fish most can regularly eat or see?
2 or 3 if you are lucky.
“One of the 30 megadiverse countries in the world”
Diversity in nature means resilience
Diversity means a lot of back-ups.
But we cannot even name or find some main ones, much less the back-ups.
How many Filipinos know about the Philippine eagle
Versus the millions who saw on screens when a baby eagle was shot dead on home forest.
We know more about the tamaraw as a has-been utility vehicle
Or as a basketball team
Than an endemic ungulate in Mindoro struggling to claim
its “birthright” and “stayright”.
Most of Metro Manila would not even exist
Had the Pasig River’s ebb and flow not formed the delta it did.
But now majority of our industries
darkline the seams of the once mighty Pasig River
Some have dreams of shapeshifting boats
To sift through the river’s murk
But they are always met by
“Too big a job to succeed!”
But if you asked the mighty Pasig
It will say:
“You don’t see it yet?”
“I am too big for you to fail.”
Corporates did not do this by themselves.
It will be disingenuous to single any one out.
We are all complicit in our many roles.
But we all need to acknowledge
That we need a new compass with a truer North
That gives us not a mere orientation
But also a consequential picture of time’s arrow
as it lands,
On our children’s lives, our flooded homes,
our balding forests
and on our seas puzzled out in plastic bubble-wrap foam.
Among the 2/3 of all CEOs in the Philippines
Who are on record to committing to join the move to “eco-shift”
Only a third of that two-thirds ever report their impact.
Much less so, if their impact matters
Beyond their own corporate borders.
Our new genuine measures
Should not just be from our own company’s ambition or peer baselines
It will be absolute mind blindness not to see
that we now have more sustainability reports
from companies than ever before
ACTUALLY accompanying the trend
towards an ending
in blazing red
For country and planet.
Boats will rock and heads will spin when red stains corporate FSs
But we have a surplus of silence when out comes nature’s bloodied FS.
As if we corporates depended on another planet’s seas, climate and forests.
Solid proof now exists even from KPMG that the worst thing that could happen to the world
is BAU – “business as usual”.
In the very currencies that business mainly do not find unusual.
We claim to own the information revolution
And say we have a lot more data than before.
Yet, we are stuck on gravely impoverished ways to define “wealth”
Even cranky Isaac Newton invented a new math called “calculus” over 360 years ago
To account for change in bodies in time in motion.
But 21st century companies still refuse to see the primacy of nature’s equation.
Despite being masked by encryptions now
A merchant coming from 500 years back
Will be astonished to learn
We staunchly still define wealth
– as a return of what ONLY we humans put in
and nature in freeze frame
Regardless of what nature performed or stopped doing
Just so our version of “wealth” could stay the same.
If someone asks you, how do you measure the value of a year?
Do you simply say 526,500 minutes and disappear?
Anyone would balk at a whole year of their life measured only in minutes.
So why do we not run away flailing our executive arms
Flaking “wealth” to mean only tradable sums?
What if, instead, we valued wealth
with sweeps of a clock that move only
when we do not breach life’s carrying capacities in the spaces we move;
when we make repairable things and build businesses around it;
when we create sufficiency and renewability and move on to new creations
That will serve our evolving humanity
Marketing departments always bank on human desires being insatiable
But narrowly thinks it just refers to more and more of the same variables.
We cannot purely count on fantastic technologies to save us from ourselves
While we continue with old ways of wealth-making and wealth-counting.
It takes 20-70 years for any technology find its place everywhere it matters.
All estimates worth their scientific salt say we have less than a decade
Or the world becomes increasingly, irreversibly unsurvivable.
They are not saying that the planet will be merely demoted from a 4-5 to a 2- 3-star hotel.
They are saying the Earth brand as we know it, would have rung its last bell.
“Why” is still the fundamental password
To life’s puzzles.
All the fantastic, riveting buffet of technology’s what’s and how’s
Still need be carved out and be constantly
charged with batteries called “why.”
Our “Why” here is
We have nowhere else to go.
Everything is connected to everything else.
We remember it together
when we consciously take breaths.
We have to be all in this re-alignment together
Or none of it would really matter.
Because of the hard work necessarily required in this great shift
Let us stay away from targets like “easy wins” or “low-lying fruit”
as they divert you from genuine, lasting gains.
Make sure you stay away from any economic or political “isms” –
they have been dark stained by history
That no make-over could wash their bitter loads.
To suit our 21st realities and create humane future codes.
Find new words and new ways to chart the new enterprise of wealth-making
That is coded to account for life not frozen in time, but as it moves and serves.
Why brandish “wealth” whose word origin is “health”
if we will not acknowledge that nature is what our corpora
are plugged into, regardless of era?
Despite the illusion of self-propelled planets of greatness
That each of our companies engender
All that our companies need- then, now and tomorrow
Are still fundamentally rooted in what nature is, has, and does.
If any of us have illusions that things will just be back to 50 years ago
Without doing anything drastic
Remember that nature now is out of its main groove.
It has random agents all named “anytime.”
It will fill in the gap in our illusions
With plenty of unwanted air, water and fire.
Let us urge each other to persist in this great, necessary overhaul.
The window to save us from ourselves is closing in.
In the many pockets of Philippine society,
We beat ourselves up saying we as a people
are incapable of getting our eyes and hands on deck
Toward the same direction.
But the alternative is we give up.
But giving up is not an option.
Just like not breathing is NOT an option.
Neuroscience can help us with a secret.
Time machines are real in us
We are all sauntering on overlapping lifetimes.
We can build a wealth of impactful exchanges across ages.
WE-sdom is discovering the junctions of the generations.
Consider being part of spawning definitive climate action.
New eyes, new words, new strats, new ledgers
We all go back to work soon.
The work is all cut out for us, newly defined breed of wealth makers.
May we gain fresh eyes to create genuine wealth in an old world.
Happy New Year.
Maria Isabel Garcia is a science writer. She has written two books, “Science Solitaire” and “Twenty One Grams of Spirit and Seven Ounces of Desire.” You can reach her at email@example.com.