The Aeta is a group of indigenous people who live in scattered, isolated mountainous parts of Luzon. The Aeta predecessors are nomadic and build only temporary shelters. However, the well-situated and more modernized Aeta have moved to villages and areas of cleared mountains. One of the areas that the Aeta has inhabited for thousands of years is the area of Mt. Pinatubo. When Mt. Pinatubo erupted, the Aetas lost their home.
They were forced to live in evacuation centers for several months. Within a year of the eruption, some of the Aeta people have returned to their land. As they went back to their homes, they found their mountains and hills covered in volcanic ash. This proved to be their greatest challenge because it forced them to adapt to a changed post-eruption environment. The Aetas possess an understanding for the relationships between plants, animals and seasons. They understood their environment; therefore, they managed to overcome their obstacle. They attempted to cultivate and adopt new crops and this proved to be successful. They soon learned that the ash helped in the cultivation of tubers. This new volcanic material mixed with top soil produces fertile soil that the Aeta people used for root crops, vegetables and peanuts. The Aetas are also one of the first inhabitants of the country. They have seen the beauty of the nature around them.
Therefore, they know what is important in their environment. They are aware of what they will be destroying if they neglect it. The Aetas’ various views on religion also contribute to the effects they have on their environment. Some believe in a supreme being who rules over lesser spirits or deities. Some believe that good and evil spirits inhabit the environment, such as spirits of the sea, sky and other places. Because of these beliefs, they make it a point to protect their environment and give respect to it. Knowing these facts, it is safe to conclude that the Aetas impact on their environment positively.
In contrast to this, the modern society’s effects on the environment are drastic. People have continually killed the environment and there are only a few movements dedicated to fixing these problems. The environmental concerns that were not an immediate concern in the 19th century became a problem that needs urgent solutions within a hundred years time. Pollution, global warming, less water supply—all these are concerns that must be faced as the Aetas have faced the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.
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