PC: Janelle Lugg (Getty_PNG Pomio)
John Maine | The National | Letters | 1.08.2023
Papua New Guinea is blessed with a beautiful landmass with a wide range of virgin rainforest covering thousands of square kilometers.
We are recognized as one of the top 10 largest rainforest countries in the world. But today, unlike some centuries back, the rainforest is slowly diminishing because of improper use. Our ancestors depended entirely on their rich and vast natural environment for survival.
The moral and ethical values of treating the natural environment and its habitant were the paramount concerns in the past. They treated mother earth and the forest as their parents, Everyone knew what to get or do when going into the sea, forest or river, The knowledge of how to treat their surroundings was passed down from one to another.
Our ancestors developed different ideologies and belief systems towards our environment just to protect it from becoming endangered and for sustainability purposes. This helped our people to survive through the ages.
However, today is not the same because our natural environment is slowly being degraded. We are witnessing an increase in population with the alarming impacts of climate change due to human activities,
The Western influences have taken all over our traditional survival knowledge and skills of our environment. The introduction of modern tools such as axes or fishing nets, our plants and animals of high value are taken down in large numbers without respecting and conserving them. Not only that but there is also an invasion of big logging and mining companies operating within the country without giving much attention to our beautiful rivers, forests, and animals that are interdepending on each other.
This act of carelessness has endangered a lot of our species to vanish without a trace.
Thus, the beautiful and natural environment that our ancestors have been surviving on for many years is quickly fading.
Regardless of the challenges, we can still save and preserve our environment. But it is only possible if we the people and the government are working together.
Here are some suggestions;
- Responsible government authorities such as the Department of Environmental and Climate Change together with the NGOs must work together to combat environmental violations;
- Take the initiative to revive the old knowledge on environmental preservations;
- Carry out awareness at the community level on the importance of the environment;
- The government must take serious steps to make sustainable decisions regarding the environmental impacts when dealing with logging and mining companies, and;
- Most of all, every one of us must be responsible citizens and be conscious of how we treat our environment for a sustainable future.