The Battle of the Lorax: SM, I speak for the trees!

-Reuben James Barrete

Dr. Seuss’ famous fable, the Lorax concerning the danger of corporate greed poses to nature, using the literary element of personification to give life to industry as the Once-ler (whose face is never shown in any of the story’s illustrations or in the television special) and the environment as The Lorax is seem to be the same story as SM started its expansion and development project that protesters tried to protect the trees through flooding the streets and even use the most trending protest nowadays, “occupy” movement. 

Baguio City is considered as one of the Philippines’ pride in promoting tourism, may it be to locals or foreigners, and is popularly known as the ‘Summer Capital’ of the Philippines. In this way, it helps the Philippines boost its economy in national level and assists the city of Baguio in elevating up its economy and industry and even its nearby provinces in terms of tourists patronizing different crafts or by simply a place to visit for vacation. This is the usual set up, that people know when they go to Baguio, never mind that there are commercial establishments that are already built.

Furthermore, this action of SM shall never be tolerated. I even think, that the government should also be responsible and accountable in this environmental dilemma. We all know that there are always specific policies, regulations and sanctions from the government in terms of permitting or allowing companies on performing development projects and even sanctions or penalties if there are violations. However, in the case of Baguio City, it is truly enough that they have established their corporate interests in terms of profiting in exchange of forwarding merchandises and to fully perform what a marketplace could offer. The DENR should have exemptions and standards in this very serious issue, the government should never always consider the capacity of corporations to expand and the very idealistic potential benefits (short-term) that could be earned in allowing them but as well to consider the long-term negative externalities that might be eternally experienced by the people. Also, I know that government agencies are knowledgeable enough that there is such as ‘regional differences’ that exists when it comes to establishing any commercial businesses, in terms of geographical and environmental capacities of these areas, and if these areas are capable enough to limit and control the possible worst outcomes of these actions.

In addition, Baguio City is one of the most vulnerable places here in the Philippines and is prone to land slides. If trees are cut, then environmental services are soon to be vanished because of corporate greed over environmental protection.


Pine trees in Baguio City during our Trekking activity at Mt. Sto. Tomas

In this very sad scenario that the forests are slowly degraded because of corporate interests, the Lorax would never be happy about this evil action towards nature. Let us all hope that whenever Baguio City turns into Theed-Ville, SM still has the last seed of Pine Tree to save the city.

Fast facts

Deforestation rate in the country is the highest in Asia and the 4th in CI’s “World’s 10 Most Threatened Forest Hostspots.”

From 95% of the country’s total land area 100 years ago, forests shrank, according to CI, to about 7% in 2011.

Tree-planting couldn’t catch up with tree-cutting: According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 157,400 hectares of forest were lost annually between 2000 to 2005; only 294,625 hectares were replanted with forest cover from 1997 to 2006.

Forest degradation is the 2nd major cause of global warming. Carbon emission from deforestation is bigger than the emissions of all the planes, ships, trains, trucks and cars in the world combined. (Rappler)


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