Conservation versus restoration

>> Monday, May 30, 2016

Ike Señeres

I checked the meanings of patrimony and heritage and I was pleasantly surprised that these two words are practically synonymous to each other. Patrimony is anything that is inherited from a parent or ancestor, and heritage is anything that becomes property to a person by virtue of birth. As it is defined however, the concept of patrimony could apply to both persons and nations, hence the legal fiction of having national patrimony. Similarly, the concept of heritage could also apply to persons and nations, hence also the legal fiction of having national heritage.
Broadly defined, the concepts of national patrimony and national heritage could be applied not only to property, but anything of value to a nation, such as the environment and its natural resources, including its wildlife. This is where the concept of conservation becomes relevant, a concept that is also closely related to preservation. When used in a synonymous manner, both conservation and preservation would apply to the sustainability of both the national patrimony and the national heritage.
In theory, both conservation and preservation could not happen if the patrimony or heritage is already damaged, hence the relevance of restoration in this overall equation. In a manner of speaking, conservation could apply to assets that are practically untouched or undamaged; hence the applicable objective is to conserve these assets in the original or existing state of being. In contrast however, preservation could apply to assets that may already be damaged to some extent, but could still be repaired to a condition that would be close to its original state of being.
It seems that there are really no hard and fast rules that would define what restoration really means, but in this context, I would volunteer to define it as any action that would bring back any asset to a renewed state of being, even if it means reconstructing it back from a virtual state of non-existence, or perhaps even reproducing it, just like reproducing an antique or vintage piece of furniture, in such a way that it would look like the original. To some extent, this could be like reconstructing a building from within so that it looks like the original from the outside, even if it would have new re-enforcements from the inside.
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 13 of the United Nations is about “Climate Action”. Although the specifics about reducing air pollution is somehow lost in the complexity of the goal targets, it is very clear that the bottom line of this goal is to reduce carbon emissions in such a way that air quality is restored to its original state that is clean air. SDG number 14 is about “Life below water”. The specifics may not also be spelled out in this goal, but it also very clear that the bottom line of this goal is to be able to conserve or preserve all life forms below the water, and restoring what may have been lost already. SDG number 15 is about “Life on land”. Just like SDG number 14, the bottom line is to conserve, preserve or restore all life forms on land.
It goes without saying that in order to conserve or preserve all life forms below the water, we must first clean the river itself. The good news is that the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) has already set a goal to restore river water quality to “Class C” level; although it seems that they have not set a clear deadline for that. Although that goal is very challenging, it is not at all impossible. Even with all the apparent optimism, it appears that they still have a long way to go, because the Pasig River was declared biologically dead in the 1990s.
Being biologically dead, there is no alternative but to restore the Pasig River to its original state, so that once again, it could support and sustain life below the water, in compliance with SDG number 14. Although the PRRC could have set a higher goal, it is a realistic goal and it is already a good start. Obviously, the “Class C” level does not mean that it is already drinkable, but that is good enough, for as long as the fish could already come back. Once it is restored, it would already be a happy problem to conserve and preserve it for the future generations.
Starting this month, the Pasig River Ferry charter service will resume its operations. Hopefully, the passenger service will also resume soon, because the passenger ferry terminals along the river are still in good condition. As it is now, the ferry rides are available to the public by way of special trips that are organized by private tour operators. As expected, some pessimists might say that it is not worth taking the ferry rides because the river is dirty and smelly.
That should not be a problem however, because the ferries are all air conditioned and are also fully enclosed. On the optimistic side however, some private operators are already organizing tours for groups that are concerned about the environment, so that they could see for themselves how dirty and smelly the river is, so that they could do something about it.
Sad to say, there are some people who think that the Laguna Lake, the Pasig River and the Manila Bay are hopelessly polluted, and there is no way to bring these water bodies back to life. The facts would prove them wrong however, because there are countless numbers of water bodies in other countries that have already been brought back from the dead. As it is now, there are many technologies that could already be used to restore all of our dead rivers back to life, but what is lacking is our political will to make it happen. Sad to say, the conservation and preservation of our environment seems to be very low in the agenda of our politicians, but that could also change as the public clamor to do it would also grow, with the powerful combination of the mass media and the social media. Email or text +639956441780


  © Blogger templates Palm by 2008

Back to TOP  

Web Statistics