The Kankana-ey Indigenous People Understood Their Obligations to the Future Generation Long Before Someone Named It ‘Climate Change’

In a recent TED Talk in New York, Attorney Jing Corpuz, a member of the Kankana-ey people of the Cordilleras in the Philippines said “reciprocity, spirituality, not taking more than you need, obligation to future generations and collective decision making, all of these values are now finding their way into scientific studies and global scientific assessments on the status of biodiversity and ecosystem services, climate change and land degradation.”

Atty. Jing Corpuz’s TED talk from TED.COM

Atty Corpuz talked about lessons she learned from her grandparents — the concept of “inayan,” or “do not do anything that might harm others or things that are bad, evil, taboo or unethical.”  So getting more than what you need deprives others. Getting more food than what you can eat deprives the hungry and dishonors those that produced it.

Indeed. The Kankana-ey people have lived in the Cordilleras for thousands of years. They knew how to balance consumption and long term sustainability.

Even the big oil companies knew about climate change for at least 64 years ago. Edward Teller talked about this at a petroleum symposium at Delaware in 1959. But immediate profit was more important to them than the living conditions of the future generation.

We are now scrambling to save our only home – the Earth, because we’ve damaged it. The greedy profiteers are primarily responsible for this climate change but the rest of us who continue to buy their products are also helping the profiteers to continue their damaging ways.

Let’s not be accessories to this crime of plundering the Earth.

We remember a great indigenous man who resisted the then authoritarian Philippine government for pushing them out of their ancestral lands in order to build the Chico dam. He was later killed in April 24, 1980 by militia forces controlled by the late dictator Marcos. His name Macli-ing Dulag from Kalinga province, Philippines. He once said to the government forces confronting him “How can you own something that will outlive you?

Let’s not take more than what we need.

We can still save our home, by taming our greed and leaving something for future generation.