Some people are willing to sell their souls to the devil for the love of money. What’s worse in this materialistic pursuit, they can go the length of sacrificing not only innocent people within their immediate sphere but also the environment from which their much of their lives depend on. Such is the case of the giant food companies that allegedly caused the various fatal cases of leukemia in the Steve Zaillan 1998 film A Civil Action. The companies mentioned had poisoned the water supply of a small town, and when the families of the deceased children sought the legal advice of Atty. Jan Schlichtmann (John Travolta), it was to force the companies to clean up the contaminated areas even as they were the town’s main employer. The dilemma appeared as soon as the environmental issue did: for the companies to cease operation when their engagement was an income-generating one, or for companies to proceed with their money-making goal at the expense of the people who would suffer illnesses due to the company operation. When they choose the former, that would mean affecting the employment of not a few workers in the area. When they choose the latter, they would be at the risk of incurring diseases as a result of the continued ill-inducing operations of the companies. In the movie, the companies were slapped with suits demanding for the deceased’s compensation, but the attempts to get away imply how more valuable it was for these companies to amass money than to appease the victims of their toxic chemicals. It was beyond these companies’ efforts to help reduce the environmental hazard by rechanneling their wastes; after all, their profit would not be slashed if they simply vomit their toxins into the waters. The companies were not conscience-stricken that their gathering of wealth has a price to pay, but then again, they do not have conscience to begin with. The movie points a steady finger at us that if the concerned would not budge from the seat of complacency, then it’s about time that we take a civil action just like what the orphaned families and, eventually, Atty. Jan did. For as long as we allow our ecology to be raped and for this violation to create serious repercussions on us, then their will be more companies to generate environmental problems until such time it’s too late to perform an action. Represented by the complaining families, our conscience needs to be answered so we can try to unburden Mother Nature of her woes if greedy companies would not. After all, helping revive the very source of our lives is a gift we can give not only to ourselves who are sustained by Nature but also to the next generations who deserve to share their part of God’s bounty.
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