BY PET MELLIZA/ THE BEEKEEPER
Let’s celebrate Christmas and New Year by not celebrating it at all.
I don’t mean to insult religious sentiment; in fact, let’s all be happy and rejoice for the birth of the Savior (that happened neither in winter nor on a manger). Let’s be thankful for the grace of redemption.
However, the meaning of the birth and life of the Carpenter from Nazareth has been distorted in history in the din of commercialism and consumerism. Big Business, particularly giant malls, has succeeded in twisting our mind, manipulating us to celebrate the season the way it wants it to be – by buying and consuming its goods even though they may be unnecessary, harmful even. Cases of stroke and cardiac arrest spike during the Yuletide from increased consumption of foods and drinks loaded with cholesterol, alcohol contents, and carcinogenic preservatives, antibiotics and steroids. We have confused form for substance.
May I invite readers to sit back for awhile. We celebrate Christmas as taught by Big Business by poisoning the air we breath and the water we drink. And we fill the land with shards of garbage from exploding firecrackers and fireworks.
Years back, I thought that the best way to celebrate Christmas and New Year was to stuff our storage with foods – ham, cheese, pasta, liquor, and what not – and light fireworks and firecrackers. Like others, I believed it was an effective way to drive away evil spirits and welcome the new year.
At least, for two years now, I have heeded the word of my dear Diosa Labiste who asked me to save money instead of splurging it in pyrotechniques. It’s a recourse of thrilling oneself but at the cost of serious repercussions on the ecology, especially humans. It’s not much different from shouting cheers the whole night and suffer head splitting hangover the morning after.
Pyrotechnique harms. The blog site “Background Attitude” (http://www.backcountryattitude.com/toxic_fireworks.html) explains how toxins from pyrotechniques and firecrackers harm; firecrackers and fireworks dirty the air and water. They cause noise pollution as well that harms humans and animals. Here’s how Background Attitude puts it in part:
- “Air Pollution: The smoke from fireworks consists mainly of fine toxic dusts (particulate matter) that can easily enter the lungs. This represents a real threat for people with asthma or multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). Smoke from fireworks combustion may contain a mixture of sulfur-coal compounds, traces of heavy metals, and other toxic chemicals or gases. The combustion cloud can contain harmful fumes such as ozone, sulfur dioxide and nitric oxide. Smoke from consumer fireworks is of most concern because they are released at a low level which makes inhalation more likely compared to professional displays. Additionally, in this time where the issues of climate change and global warming are being presented with a sense of urgency, we need to be concerned about the greenhouse gases fireworks produce, which include Carbon dioxide (CO2) and ozone.
- “Water Pollution: Fireworks fallout can contaminate water supplies and residue on the ground can be carried away by rain and end up in our lakes, rivers, or oceans.
- “Noise Pollution: Fireworks can be loud and the vibrations can travel far. In the middle of the night fireworks often disturb people trying to sleep. Fireworks can exceed 140 decibels and noise at 85 decibels or above can damage hearing. Some people also argue the noise from fireworks scares pets and wildlife like birds, etc.”
Since childhood, yours truly observe that dogs are scared most among domesticated animals by firecrackers. Pigs, cattle, birds and cats don’t show that much fright that dogs do.
Dogs just melt away; they scratch on doogs as if begging for entry into the safety of the house and cringe under tables and chairs. They crouch and shake and refuse to move or eat their meals while explosions rip the surrounding.
During the New Year when the entire Philippines become a virtual war zone of explosions, dogs are still scared to move around though the blast of firecrackers are already few and scattered.
We can contribute our little share addressing global warming by having a green Christmas and New Year, by refraining from thrilling ourselves with firecrackers and fireworks.
Without firecrackers and fireworks, we still can enjoy the season and ensure the safety of our limbs and those of our loved ones. We can live our faith minus the explosions and spectacles of fireworks.
Wishing everyone a Green Christmas and New Year. The substance not just the form.