Monday, December 22, 2008

not so wise to be wise

Fred Jordan Mikhail T. Carnice
The Weekly Sillimanian
December 17, 2008

I remember my mother telling me one night not to turn on the Christmas lights I had put up in our garden. I obeyed. When asked why, she just explained that it keeps the carolers away. “So as not to attract them… we are in crisis,” she added in our bisaya language.

Whether it was a stupid joke or not, her words had a relatively beneficial underlying point. We can actually save up energy by doing so. I am not an environmentalist, really. Though I pick up what’s lying on the floor, I do not go the extra mile of cleaning the university grounds of rubbish whenever I pass by them. It’s not being silly—it’s just the right thing that I can do within my mentality’s thinking range. Ironically, I was attending a skill-share program in Boracay while writing this, trying to increase my knowledge on all things green by listening to Greenpeace advocates and fellow SolarGeneration groups from across the country.

The aforementioned training, aside from its focus on saving the planet, suddenly got me into thinking about my mother’s stipulation. It was dumb but clever. I know that energy efficiency was not her main intention but, theoretically considering other possibilities, it might be. She had just campaigned without even knowing. Campaigning for the environment is for a good cause but the question on how it should work and be applied to the general public is the next concern. As for me following my mother’s request of not turning the lights on is one example that her inner persuading ability is in good shape. Influence is the key.

Chris Rose, a British writer who is effectively campaigning strategies on environmental preservation said that “The simplest thing you can do to help [channel] your message is to be direct and straightforward. Forget being clever.” One good example is the movement towards combating climate change. It’s fast influencing a lot of people and I’m sure a portion of them is not involved in direct actions such as rallying in the streets, putting up banners at building walls, and shouting at public areas. Sometimes, these just bring more confusion or, to the last degree, chaos instead of order. At times, there’s definitely no need to be completely radical. And being subtle and silent doesn’t help either.

For instance, there’s Silliman. This coming Christmas break, the university has made a good decision of shutting down its power but what about the students leaving the halls, going back to their homes? Have they heard about this? I’m pretty sure many have disregarded the news and its tremendous benefit on electric power savings. Without the Green Issue of the Weekly Sillimanian last week, many wouldn’t even know that the administration is initiating this plan. I know Christmas is a time of merrymaking and not a lecture session with sweet-talking speakers but I just do pray that in upcoming undertakings, the “higher beings” would at least give us the hint they’re making a move. There’s no need to be totally intellectual or formal to be understood, and depend every time on people with a nose for publicity. All that’s needed is an operation strongly supported and known by a tiny part of the population. Word of mouth, as always, is a potent means of sustaining and, at the most, achieving a goal.

It’s obvious that campaigning in my mother’s yuletide gospel is way out of context. It just so happened that by doing so she sparked a realization that there is a need to, you know, change. Sounds familiar? Well, it has always been used and its degree of believability these days is doubtful but in my case there are so many happenings around us to believe in it. And that didn’t cost me the time of my life to recognize the call at all. It was that simple.

Fine. Now burn this writer at the stake for his sudden departure of the literary and the issues of homosexuality but it’s never too late to clear up one’s consciousness concerning our dear Earth. Dark and glum future Christmases, I guess, are not part of anyone’s December wish list. I may not be an environmentalist but I am concerned. This way, I could probably light up our Christmas lights earlier than usual next time.


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