As an Igorot, I'm proud to be a part of a culture that values balance, sustainability, and respect for all life. These values have allowed us to thrive for thousands of years, and many Igorots still live to be over 100 years old, remaining productive and active well into old age.
One of the keys to our success has been our understanding of the importance of living in harmony with the environment. We know that our survival is tied to the health of our planet, so we work to preserve and protect it. You know what they say: "take care of the earth, and it'll take care of you." And that's a lesson our ancestors have learned well.
For instance, Macliing Dulag and his peers (along with other Cordillera communities in the past and present) have consistently pushed back against developments that could lead to detrimental environmental degradation and the potential displacement of indigenous peoples.
In addition to our respect for the environment, we also place a high value on culture, art, history, and language. These things are an important part of who we are as a people, and we work to preserve and pass them down through the generations.
In contrast, many heavily Euro-influenced societies have a tendency to prioritize monetary and material wealth over other values, such as survival and harmony with the environment. But as we've seen, this way of life is not sustainable in the long run. It can lead to overconsumption and depletion of natural resources, as well as social and environmental problems.
Now, I'm not saying that Euro-influences don't have their own strengths and contributions. There's no denying that they have brought many conveniences and comforts to our modern world. But when it comes to sustainability and the long-term well-being of the planet, I think it's worth considering a different approach.
One of the best alternative approach is the one offered by the Igorots (and other indigenous groups worldwide) which give value to the following:
- Respect the environment
Take the time to understand the importance of preserving and protecting the natural world, and make an effort to reduce your impact on the environment. This could involve things like conserving energy, reducing waste, and supporting sustainable practices.
- Value culture, art, history, and language
These things are an important part of who we are as a people. Take the time to learn about and appreciate them, and work to preserve them for future generations. This could involve supporting local artists, attending cultural events, and participating in traditional activities. Additionally, value the work of researchers, authors, and others who document our indigenous knowledge and practices. Their work helps to preserve and share our culture and traditions, and keeps our history alive.
- Prioritize balance and sustainability
Rather than just focusing on short-term gain or accumulating material wealth, consider the long-term well-being of the planet and all its creatures. This might involve making more mindful and sustainable choices in our everyday lives, such as choosing eco-friendly products or supporting local businesses that do the same.
By adopting these values and practices, we can create a more balanced, sustainable, and fulfilling way of life for ourselves and future generations.