By Francine Ciasico
“There’s no economy without ecology.”
This is the theme statement from the keynote speech of Dr. J.R. Nereus O. Acosta, author of Philippine Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Solid Waste Management Act, and Biodiversity Protection Act principal, at the Sustainability Summit 2018 on Wednesday at Enderun Colleges, Taguig City.
“Eco is the root word of economy and ecology…[which] is from ‘oikos’ from Greek which means home,” Acosta emphasized, explaining how the economy is our national and global home while ecology depicts our planetary home.
“Why do we throw wastes in the oceans, in the rivers? Why do we cut forests and pollute everything that gives us life? That is our home,” he pointed out.
Acosta then stressed the significance of understanding the situation of water in the Philippines – which is the main topic of the summit – as water is mostly taken for granted by the people.
“Understanding is the first big step in anything that needs action and solution,” he said.
In ‘understanding,’ people would see ‘value’ which would urge them to ‘protect,’ Acosta explained.
In an open panel discussion of experts from the private sector, government units, academe, and nongovernment organizations regarding water issues, AGREA Agricultural System International Inc. founding farmer and CEO Cherrie Atilano raised the need for community consultations in order to provide efficient infrastructural projects for the people.
She cited her experience in Marinduque where the farmers were not able to use the million-worth irrigation system provided by the government because the flow of water is wrong.
In terms of business, Yang Villa from the Philippine Young Water Professionals stressed that nature-based solutions and green infrastructure are the future of smart, sustainable cities.
“Create demand from the grassroots to drive changes in governance so that you can match the innovations and technology to what the people actually need,” he said.
“The more we develop, the more we should mimic nature,” he added.
Hybrid concepts were also showcased during the sessions.
“Prosumer – producer and consumer. Corperative – corporation and cooperative…These ideas are blending and I think we can see that it really takes a mix of solutions and strategies to achieve water security, energy needs, and the like,” said Philippine Artisan Trade Inc. Co-Founder and Managing Director and Enderun Colleges Advisory Board Bryan McClelland.
“I think we got an interesting future and an optimistic one of that,” McClelland concluded.