Marine Forum Draws Huge Audience

Dec 21st 2007

Y oung and old environment enthusiasts – around 220 in all — filled the CFA Auditorium to overflowing on November 23rd, to participate inthe discussion of the issues surrounding the topic “Our Marine Resource: Highly Diverse, Highly Threatened.” This was the last forum in this year’s Coffeehouse Series organized by the Communication Foundation for Asia to raise awareness on various environmental issues confronting our country and our people.

Serving as resource organization on the topic was Haribon Foundation, represented by Biologist/Researchers Don Geoff Tabaranza and Gregorio de la Rosa, Jr. Haribon first served as resource group to the CFA Coffeehouse Series in 2005, on the issue of saving our trees and forests.

Our country’s marine ecosystem is one of the richest in the world. It is envied and admired by countries that are not as naturally endowed. According to the Haribon biologists, our marine ecosystem has annual yields of coral reefs, mangroves and fishes surpassing those of most coastal territories. In fact, it is in the Philippines where the so-called “center of the center of marine diversity” lies — in an area called the Verde Island Passage in Luzon. The Philippines is literally a tropical paradise.

Still, Haribon was quick to point out that there is a glaring want of public awareness and corresponding action that has made Filipinos generally oblivious to the threats against our marine resources. People continue to convert the waters into open garbage pits; they fish illegally and exploit marine sanctuaries. There are other threats as well, such as coastal land development, industrial pollutants and their specific adverse effects on marine diversity.

Participants discussed ways of addressing the problem, which relates to a previous Forum topic presented in July, entitled “Clear Waters No More”. This considered how destructive human activities have killed our seas and rivers. Inevitably, all life forms in these bodies of water have become endangered.

The November forum on marine resources brought to a total of eight the number of topics and events featured in the Coffeehouse Series of 2007. The other issues covered this year were: environmental stewardship, sustainable development, genetically-modified organisms, biofuels, marine pollution, mining and global warming, climate change and green architecture. CFA’s Coffeehouse will resume in 2008, with another set of issues to expose and debate, in the continuing effort to reverse the country’s deepening environmental crisis.

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