Environment Secretary Gina Lopez has called on fellow environment advocates to guard against any attempt to derail the country's shift to a developmental path compatible with "green economy," which would eliminate socially and environmentally destructive practices such as irresponsible mining.

During the Earth Day celebration held at the La Mesa Eco Park last Saturday, Lopez said it is time for environmental activists and groups to close ranks and "create an energetic vessel" that would drive the country towards economic and political growth that do not lead to environmental destruction.

"Mining and big business control politics. That's the reality that exists and that's why there is so much suffering," said Lopez, who earlier this year ordered the closure of 22 mines and suspension of four others due to serious environmental violations.

She added: "But I know the power of number can overcome these forces. And if that number is infused with love and truth, we are invincible."

Last month, Lopez announced that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is now ready to lead government efforts toward a shift to a green economy that values and protects the natural environment, and provides well-paying and decent jobs to local communities.

This developed as she signed an administrative order that contains the guidelines for just transition of the DENR's programs and projects to "green economy models" or GEMS where community members create sustainable goods and services for the rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems.

Lopez, a long-time advocate for the environment, believes that shifting to green economy will create opportunities for inclusive growth, job creation and poverty reduction. ###