So far, debates and fora featuring presidential candidates in the forthcoming 2010 national election in the Philippines have hardly touched on the two most-compelling societal goals for the country, as well as for the world-the attainment of peace and sustainability or sustainable development.
The great challenge facing us is how to live harmoniously, with simultaneous social, economic, and ecological benefits that we can all enjoy and maintain over time. How will each of the presidentiables lead us to face this challenge? Abangan pa natin!
In the meantime, let us hear from the scientists. Albert Einstein once said that "Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding." For sustainability, on the other hand, we must understand first what it is and what must be sustained, for whom, and how.
Science provides the discipline that enables one "to examine problems from different perspectives and seek explanations of natural and social phenomena, constantly submitted to critical analysis." Relying on critical and free thinking, which is essential in a democratic world, science allows the understanding that enables us to keep peace and to cope with the complexity of the social, economic and ecological systems--the pillars of sustainability.
But, how much attention has any of the presidentiables, as well as the past and current leaders of the Philippines given to science, or, more broadly, science and technology (S&T)? Very little. The serious threat of climate change alone, which requires S&T to understand and address, demands priority attention.
To hear more about this topic, tune in/watch Kalikasan, Kaunlaran! (KK!) on Feb. 3, 2010, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Manila time), as Nobel Laureate for Medicine Dr. Torsten N. Wiesel converses with Dr. Cora Claudio, president, EARTH Institute Asia. TOYM Awardee Dr. Fabian "Toby" Dayrit, EARTH trustee and dean, College of Science and Engineering, Ateneo de Manila University, will also share his thoughts on the topic in Filipino. Dr. Wiesel's visit to the Philippines is part of Bridges (Dialogues Toward a Culture of Peace) which is facilitated by the International Peace Foundation (www.peace-foundation.net).
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