December 2006


In September I read Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond.
The author "explains how humankind's use and abuse of the environment reveal the truth behind the world’s great collapses, from the Anasazi of North America to the villages of Greenland to modern Montana."

Throughout the book, I kept thinking how the Philippines would have been a great case study for the processes identified by the author. But alas, he doesn't talk about the Philippines. So this is my analysis of the Philippines, using the analytical framework provided by Professor Diamond.


Background: Historically, the Philippines was a richly endowed archipelago of 7,000 islands. The seas brimmed with fish...


...and there were lush flat valley bottoms for growing rice to feed a growing population. The mild climate allowed easy survival without warm houses or thick clothes, and there has been generally an absence of natural disasters (there are no earthquakes, plagues or droughts, although I admit the occasional typhoon does come through.)
The Philippines must surely have been a real 'Garden of Eden.'

Professor Diamond has a five-point framework of possible contributing factors to consider in trying to understand any putative environmental collapse:
1. Environmental damage
2. Climate change
3. Hostile neighbors
4. Friendly trade partners
5. Society's responses to its environmental problems

I'm running out of steam... just sick of writing. I will finish this webpage next week, OK?
Y'all come back now!

Floating garbage

In modern times, the Philippines has experienced

An Inconvenient Truth

The other hot rabble-rouser I'm pushing these days is:
An Inconvenient Truth - the video or:
An Inconvenient Truth - the book by Al Gore.
You can also check out Al's website at