Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Planet Earth: How Would You Like It For The Next Generations?

Image credit:  geralt/Pixabay

On January 1, 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at a historic UN Summit, officially became effective (  From 2016 to 2030, these goals should be implemented and achieved in all countries (

What is sustainable development (SD)
According to the United Nations, sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs…For sustainable development to be achieved, it is crucial to harmonize three core elements: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. These elements are interconnected and all are crucial for the well-being of individuals and societies”. (

What are the domains of SD
SD has been described and discussed in terms of three domains, namely: environment, economy, and society.

Why is SD important

For the economy

I have been an organic farmer for many years. I have grown fruits and vegetables and raised free-range chickens and goats in our organic farm. Organic farming entails using non-chemical inputs in producing fertilizers, in pest management, and other cultural practices.  This way, I have avoided poisoning and ruining the soil, water, air, plants, animals, and human beings (myself and my farm hands).  I have kept the natural state and balance of the farm and I am eventually leaving it for the next generations to enjoy in the same manner and condition as I did.

I did a study before for a European company on the use and advantages of renewable energy sources.  As we all know, solar energy as well as wind, sea waves, water, and geothermal can generate electricity in a clean and sustainable manner.  While the initial capital expenditures required to tap these energy sources are huge, the long-term benefits are much more significant.  Besides, the cost of electricity produced from these sources has substantially gone down as a result of technological developments.

We know that many countries have been developing and giving incentives for the use of electric vehicles. Electric vehicles do not emit polluting and health-wrecking smoke.

I have read many business profiles stating that among their corporate social responsibility (CSR) undertakings are the reduction of pollution, carbon footprints, and non-biodegradable wastes they themselves produce.  I hope more businesses will commit to doing so and at a more intense rate.

For the environment

All people on Earth have been victims of pollution (even the polluters themselves).  There have been innumerable cases of death and illness around the globe that are directly attributable to pollution.  Our air, soil, and water have been polluted with waste and toxic materials at an unprecedented level.  Governments and private organizations have been trying to raise the level of public consciousness about this problem and have introduced programs to reduce global pollution.

Climate change
Climate change, simply defined, is a global change in weather patterns over a long period of time.  It is caused by many factors including solar radiation, volcanic eruptions, and global warming caused by human activities (

Emission of chemicals like carbon dioxide, aerosols, and methane plus deforestation contribute to global warming.

A slight increase in global temperature will result in more destructive droughts and typhoons. We have seen how climate change caused droughts and typhoons that heavily damaged countries and claimed so many lives.

Let us hope that the Paris Climate Accord in 2015 will result in continuing mitigation of the effects of climate change.

For society

We all know how pollution, global warming, and climate change have caused widespread deaths and diseases to humans, other land and water animals, and even vegetation. Concerted and continuing efforts by government and society are needed to mitigate these problems.

Eliminating poverty in all its forms is necessary for sustainable development.  Our natural resources should be used and developed in a manner that results in an equitable and inclusive economic growth for all members of society now and in the future.

Social inequality can be substantially reduced by providing equal opportunities for everyone to share in the benefits of economic growth and social development.

How can we do our share in SD

While sustainable development is universal and long-lasting in nature, we can do our own little share now. 

We just have to bear in mind that we are temporary visitors here on Planet Earth and we have the responsibility to take care of it and to make sure that our children, grandchildren, and other descendants will inherit Earth that is clean, habitable, and sustainable and a society that fosters inclusive and equitable economic growth and social development.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Renewable Energy: Why It Is Good For The Environment

Image Credit:  Pixabay

What comes naturally good with organic farming and other natural alternatives is the use of renewable energy. Renewable energy is produced from sources that are naturally replenished such as wind, sunlight, water, and geothermal heat. Thus, we see wind turbines, solar PV panels, hydroelectric plants, and geothermal plants.  These are mostly used to generate electricity for widespread distribution.  Use of renewable energy and organic farming have the same goal, namely:  care of the environment and sustainable development.

Renewable energy trends

The International Energy Agency (IEA) mentioned in October 2015 that renewable energy will represent the largest single source of electricity growth over the next five years. It said that renewable electricity additions over the next five years will exceed 700 gigawatts, accounting for almost two-thirds of net additions to global power capacity.  It further reported that the share of renewable energy in global power generation rising over 26% by 2020 from 22% in 2013.

The report also mentioned that use of renewable energy will increasingly shift to emerging economies and developing countries.  IEA also indicated that wind and solar PV panels will represent nearly half of total global power capacity increase.

Impact of renewable energy

Coming from natural sources, renewable energy is clean unlike energy produced from fossil fuels which pollutes the environment.  Pollutants coming from coal-fired and oil-fired power plants harm not only the environment but also the health and livelihood of the people in nearby communities.

Renewable energy is also beneficial to off-grid locations or communities that cannot be served by the main electricity transmission lines.  Technology improvements in renewable energy production and storage have reduced its costs such that people living in the mountains or far-flung areas can use solar PV panels for home electricity.  These can be used also in remote farms and fishponds.

Renewable energy creates positive environmental, social, and economic impact.

Renewable energy and sustainable development

Use of renewable energy contributes significantly to sustainable development.  Governments particularly of developing countries can pursue development goals like improving industry and agriculture to generate income and employment for the people without the harmful effects of electricity production from fossil-fueled plants by using renewable energy from natural sources.


The author is the managing consultant of Gentle Wisdom Management Consultancy and also writes blogs about business and marketing management.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Why I Have Ventured Into Organic Farming - Part 3 of 3

This is the last article of my 3-part narrative on why I chose organic farming.  

After the land was prepared, I had to plant additional trees and vegetables.

I selected fruits that I liked and we consumed at home.  These should also be suited to the climate in Rizal and to the soil and farm conditions.  The farm had no man-made irrigation facilities and was entirely dependent on rainfall. The soil was more of the clay type - sticky and slippery during the rainy season while hard and dry during the summer months.

I preferred to plant mangoes (Carabao variety), papaya (Sinta), atis, chico, and bananas (Lakatan).  These comprised the majority of the fruit trees.  I planted them in long rows following the previous markings and parcels we made.  Each row had one kind of fruit and in-between rows were rows of other fruits. The inter-cropping pattern followed the recommended distance between rows and between trees in a row.  


I also planted other fruits such as avocado, star apple, rambutan, and balimbing.  I also tried durian but it did not grow well and it eventually died.

These trees were planted in parcels where long row of trees could not be done due to the shape, size, and slope of the land parcel.

Then I selected the vegetables I would inter-crop again among the rows of fruit trees.  I chose the "pinakbet" group not only because I like "pinakbet" but most vegetables in this group are hardy - they can survive the conditions in the uphill farm.  

I planted ampalaya (my favorite plant since I was in Grade V), okra, eggplant, squash, string bean (bush sitao), and sweet potato (for the young leaves). These were also planted in long rows.


In some parcels, I planted some sweet corn (really sweet - I forgot the variety name).

All my initial planting materials - fruit tree saplings and vegetable seeds - came from the University of the Philippines at Los Banos, Laguna.

I also planted super peanuts in one of the big land parcels.  The peanuts came from Central Luzon State University in Nueva Ecija.

After all the planting had been done, we constructed two chicken houses for the free range chickens.  

Our chicken house was very different from the usual poultry houses.  It was designed like a big barn with very generous provisions for natural ventilation. There was no flooring. Its other unique features included provisions for night roosting for the chickens and openings that allowed the chickens to go out of the chicken house and roam around a fenced yard at day time.

The free range chicken I chose was called SASSO - a variety which originated in France.  I preferred it because it grew to really big sizes - two to three kilos per head.  They also tasted a lot better (like native chickens) compared to the "white" chickens. But it took us two to three months to grow them.  Their ex-farm prices were also higher - about three times that of ordinary chicken then.  We got our chicks as well as their specially formulated organic feeds from a breeder in Rizal.

With the plants and chickens in place, I managed the farm - closely adhering to the principles and practices of organic farming.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Why I Have Ventured Into Organic Farming - Part 2 of 3

Thank you for checking back in guys - you who are organic farming enthusiasts and supporters.

To continue my story.......

The farm is on top of a hill.  I don't know its exact elevation but it has a magnificent view of a large portion of Laguna Lake and some places in Rizal province and Metro Manila.


Our farm has no flat area.  Every part has a slope of various degrees.  I remember that on top of my need-to-learn list then was the subject on Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT).  

Knowing SALT would give me an idea on how to maximize the whole place for planting fruit trees and vegetables while preventing soil erosion (some places have very steep slope) and restraining rain water so the plant roots could absorb it instead of flowing down straight to the lowest level of the land.

I made an A-Frame and patiently plotted and marked the hedge rows where I could plant.

Next, I had the soil analyzed.  Before going to the Bureau of Soils office at Quezon City, I collected a specified quantity of soil from different spots in the farm.  The result of the soil analysis was quite disappointing.  Our land lacked some essential nutrients for proper plant growth.  This also limited our choices of what to plant there.

However, I refused to use chemical fertilizer.

I came to know about Effective Microorganisms (EM).  I visited the Philippine supplier's office in Muntinlupa City and tried to learn as much as I could about EM.  I learned what it is, its development, and its various uses.  I learned how to use EM to make organic fertilizer, to make organic plant pest repellent, and to make health drinks for animals. 

My farm hands and I cleared the land of weeds and wild shrubs. We also pruned some trees to reduce unnecessary shades and also to make the trees grow healthier.  Trees need good air circulation too.


We then divided the land into parcels and measured each parcel. The parcel diagrams and measurements (length, width, and slope) were all plotted on the land map.  

Each parcel was allotted for a particular vegetable or mixture of inter-cropped vegetables.  Fruit trees were planted between parcels in long straight lines.  The parcels were color-coded on paper to indicate vegetable categories. The measurements facilitated determination of plant spacing and density.  There were also small parcels for the chicken housing, compost pile, farm house, and farm visitor reception.

Some fruit trees, kakawate, and malunggay were also planted around the farm perimeter and between them we planted cassava.  These perimeter trees and cassava not only served to delineate the farm boundary but also to protect the growing vegetables from too much wind. 

The land was ready for planting.

Next:  Selection and planting of fruit trees and vegetables and initial stocking of free range chickens.                  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Why I Have Ventured Into Organic Farming - Part 1 of 3

I have very good reasons why I am into organic farming.

I have this passion for planting and taking care of animals, I want to do my share in taking care of the environment, and I want to eat naturally healthy food.


Since I was a kid, I have that enthusiasm to plant seeds of any fruit and vegetables that I like.

I could not remember using any chemical substances to make my plants grow. I used to fertilize plants with compost I had learned to make when I was in Grade V using chicken manure and dried leaves, mixing these together, and putting these in a covered pit I dug in our yard until it would decompose enough to be used as fertilizer.  I was not aware then of vermicomposting and effective microorganisms.  That was my early initiation into organic farming.

Years in college, working for a living, and then raising a family in the city (in a condominium at that) took me away from planting.  

We eventually transfered residence to Rizal because I love the mountains. 

This rekindled my love for planting.  

I immediately enriched the soil around our newly built house with pelletized residue I bought from a biogas digester facility in a nearby town.

I planted seeds of whatever fruits we had then like atis, guyabano, guava, duhat, mango, chesa, langka, and papaya. 

When these started growing tall and bearing fruits, our house surroundings became like a mini forest and people started noticing the trees and its fruits.

Even before we transfered to Rizal, my late father was already tending a small uphill farm in a nearby town. 

There were mostly giant ipil-ipil trees in the farm plus some mango, banana, santol, coconut, duhat, sampaloc, chico, and guava trees.


I would frequent the farm often not minding driving my car through rough roads.  I loved being there on weekends.  I was not planting anything. I simply enjoyed savoring the clean mountain air and viewing the scenery around.

Before my father joined his Creator, he requested me to take care of the farm. I said yes.  

When I was already taking care of the farm, the first thing I did was to plan and get organized.  My objective was to make it a very productive farm following the natural ways of farming.  It would be a farm my late father could be proud of and enjoy visiting even in the after-life.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Why Be Interested in Organic Farming, Natural Health Care, and Natural Healing?

I am starting this blog to share my personal knowledge and experiences related to organic farming as well as natural health care and healing.  

I will continue to learn about these topics and I will continue to share it with you.

You certainly have your own knowledge and experiences about these subject matters.  I welcome your comments.  Together we can reach out to more people and share the importance and benefits of organic farming and natural health care and healing.

Organic Farming


One of many effective ways to take care of the environment is to practice or at least support organic farming.

I have been into organic farming for the past eleven years.  Through actual hands on experience, I have been aware of the immediate and long-term benefits of organic farming on the health of farm workers and the immediate environs.

In subsequent blogs, I can share some notes on the following:

  • organic farming of fruits and vegetables
  • organic coffee
  • organically-raised chickens and goats
  • other interesting topics on organic farming


Natural Health Care and Healing

In taking care of ourselves, we can complement medical care with natural health care and natural healing.

My family and I have been using for the past nineteen years natural food or dietary supplements recommended by doctors who are knowledgeable in alternative medicine.

We have also been using some herbal medicine approved by the government to cure some of our common ailments like cough.

Lagundi Leaves
(Photo credit:

In my coming blogs, we can look at the following:

  • natural food or dietary supplements
  • natural personal care products like organic soap and oils
  • herbal medicine and remedies

As you and I continue to explore and share these topics, I will add more features to this blog. 

Meanwhile, keep in touch.