HOLLYWOOD will be releasing another apocalypse-themed movie titled 2012 this November, which depicts what would happen should the ancient Mayan doomsday prophecy come true. But Filipinos need not flock to the cinemas to catch a glimpse of the surreal devastation of nature as depicted in the film; they can just tune in to the news to see these things happen in real life, and without any special effects.

The past months had shown just how angry Mother Nature can be through a montage of earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters happening throughout the country and much of the world. Here in the Philippines, it was one tragedy after another: after tropical storm Ondoy unleashed its wrath and drowned the whole of Metro Manila, Rizal and surrounding areas into a terrible deluge, then came super-typhoon Pepeng, who engulfed Northern Philippines the first time, only to come back for more deaths and destruction. The storm’s fury caused massive flooding and landslides, as well as putting most of Luzon’s primary dams at their breaking point. The cost of damages left by these disasters can be pegged at billions worth in peso, but no amount can ever be placed on the hundreds of Filipinos who lost their lives. All these have left us to ponder on a single question: what have we done to deserve such fate?

Maybe these events are signs of the changing times, meant to brace us for what’s to come. Scientists have often argued that “global warming” is already upon us, showing us the devastating effects it would have on the world if left unchecked. The polar caps are melting, forest fires have become as frequent as celebrity scandals, and sea levels have risen dramatically, transforming countries surrounded by the sea such as Maldives on the Indian Ocean as settings of the sequel to “Waterworld.”

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Unfortunately, these warnings often fall on deaf ears. Most still believe that global warming is simply an exaggeration of facts, or that it will not happen in this lifetime. We continue on living as if the world did not have an expiry date; until we find ourselves stuck on the roof of our houses, becoming victims of our own crime against nature. It is disturbing to think that a disaster should have to happen first before a change in one’s living habit is actualized.

Since I live in Malabon, floods have already become a part of my life. Sure enough, when Ondoy struck our town, very few news articles discussed the grim situation in Malabon, maybe because this was not considered “news” anymore. Still, being part of this flood-prone community has influenced me to become environmentally-conscious, refusing to throw garbage just about anywhere since littering is a primordial cause of flood. This small gesture from a single individual may not be that significant, given that I am only one among the thousands who live in one of the country’s most densely populated areas. But still, a lifetime of not carelessly littering is still better than shamelessly throwing my filth on the street, with no regard for the harm it could do to others in the long run.

The need to reflect on one’s way of living is needed, given the recent events that have transpired. The time for changing our nature-destructive ways is in order, lest these becomes our downfall in the end, and 2012’s terrifying scenes actually become a reality. That would be an ending I wouldn’t want to see.

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