“Until one has loved an animal,
a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. – Anatole France
Every one of us has the moral obligation to protect the environment and all the creatures in it. As stewards of God’s creation, it is our duty to speak and dissent even no one is listening, even it is painful and bitter, against any acts that malign, disrespect and rape these beautiful treasures which are bestowed upon us.
Last week, I visited a popular tourist attraction in North Luzon. I enjoyed swimming and while observing a group of people diving, running and eating. What made my heart cried-out was when a young woman picked a couple of red and orange starfish and had picture taking with the poor, defenceless animal under the scorching heat of the sun. After which, she returned the starfish in the water as if it was a piece of rock.
It was so wrong. It shall not pass.
Marine animals like the poor starfish deserve respect. Just imagine you were sleeping then someone lifted you out of bed to take photos. How would you feel?
Touching and disturbing marine sea creatures causes stress which can alter their physiological processes. In fact, when you lift a starfish out of the water and expose it under the sun, you caused an alteration of its biofilms that protects it from toxic substances.
Congratulations the lady just killed a starfish!
We could have prevented this if we have proper environmental knowledge. An awareness campaign should be intensified especially during summer and must be a part of any briefing procedures in tourist destinations.
But all is not lost for us. As humans we can step-up. We can correct our mistake before it’s too late.
Finally, I want to quote Justice Marvic Leonen of the Philippine Supreme Court in his concurring opinion on a landmark case between marine creatures in Sea Scape Tanon and the Philippine government. He said:
“We honor every living creature when we take care of our environment. As sentient species, we do not lack in the wisdom or sensitivity to realize that we only borrow the resources that we use to survive and to thrive. We are not incapable of mitigating the greed that is slowly causing the demise of our planet. In this way and with candor and courage, we fully shoulder the responsibility deserving of the grace and power endowed on our species.”