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Paean* to Philippine
 

We are not alone in calling Earth our home. We share the planet with the beasts of the land, the birds of the air, and the creatures of the deep. They are as much as God's creation as man himself.

But ever since he first appeared on the evolutionary stage a million years ago, man has been the master of the Earth. The Biblical injunction to "go forth and multiply" has seen an unprecedented explosion in our numbers, to 5.7 billion at last count and growing rapidly.

To feed, clothe and shelter the teeming billions, man has often encroached upon the habitat of his fellow residents, in the process, sundering fragile ecosystems, wrecking environments that took centuries to evolve, and annihilating entire species.

There is a price to pay. Flora and fauna are vanishing from the face of the Earth at such an alarming rate that life in the next century will likely be characterized by biological impoverishment what the naturalist Edward O. Wilson calls the "Age of Loneliness."

Will man ever find happiness living alone in this planet?

Filipinos may well ponder their answer: the Philippines, home to some of the world's most biologically diverse wildlife, is also one of the most ravaged.

This paean to endangered Philippine wildlife seeks to remind us all that when we defile their habitat, we are also, in the words of Wilson, "destroying part of the Creation, and thereby depriving all future generations of what we ourselves were bequeathed."

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* - (pE-&n) noun Etymology: Latin, hymn of thanksgiving especially addressed to Apollo, from Greek paian, paiOn, from Paian, PaiOn, epithet of Apollo in the hymn Date: 1589 : a joyous song or hymn of praise, tribute, thanksgiving, or triumph; broadly : ENCOMIUM, TRIBUTE

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