The folly of tampering with nature


    ‘One does not tamper with God’s timeline and design without suffering the dangers of such hubris.’

    PICTURES indeed speak a thousand words.

    The government opened its showcase Manila Bay white beach last Saturday to impress the public with the beautification that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources had done to the historic harbor.

    What we saw were hypocrisy and inconsistency.

    The comparison of critics of the DENR’s dumping of dolomite sand on the shores of Manila Bay to a woman who put on make-up without washing her face was most apt with photos of government personnel gathering trash along the bay, next to the white sand-covered area. They even picked up some dead fish and threw them back to the sea. The clean-up activity was to mark International Coastal Cleanup Day.

    In an ABS-CBN’s pictorial, there was a sign “Observe social distancing” next to the DPWD-SMDEO traffic blocker and in the background were people standing close to each other.

    Defenders of the controversial white beach on Manila Bay were ecstatic about the presence of egrets, mistakenly concluding that they are signs of a clean environment.

    Wilfrido Guerrero, in a Facebook comment, said, “The presence of those birds is not necessarily a sign that the waters are clean. Those birds have become scavengers.”

    There was also a “No swimming” warning not far from the white sand beach, which is an admission that the waters of Manila Bay are unhealthy for such exercise.

    A discerning Facebook post by Gerone Jan Baladhay, whose profile says he was formerly editor-in-chief of Fig Magazine, showed contrasting photos of a flock of egrets on Manila Bay last Saturday and an excavated mountain with the caption reminding people that the beautification of that small stretch of Metro Manila had caused the destruction of a mountain from where the crushed dolomite came from.

    “You like the view but you forget the bigger picture,” Baladhay said.

    The dumping of the dolomite sand from Cebu on the shores of Manila Bay, more than five hundred kilometers away from each other, reminds me of a memorable scene from the movie, Jurassic Park, when the scientist and mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm played by Jeff Goldblum saw the dinosaur theme park that the businessman John Hammond had created.
    Malcolm warned Hammond about the danger of tampering with God’s creation. God created dinosaurs to roam the world millions of years ago. They have become extinct. One does not tamper with God’s timeline and design without suffering the dangers of such hubris. “The lack of humility before nature being displayed here staggers me,” Malcolm said.”Don’t you see the danger, John, inherent in what you’re doing here?”

    That’s the question that should be asked the people who destroyed the dolomite mountains in Cebu to make the beach of Manila white.