Monday, September 22, 2014

The Philippine Environmental Advocacy Situation

by Antonio C. Antonio
September 19, 2014

There are several international environmental advocacy organizations, such as (1) Earth System Governance Project; (2) Global Environment Facility; (3) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; (4) United Nations Environment Programme; (5) World Nature Organization; and, (6) World Wide Fund for Nature.  Most of these international organizations have local counterparts and allied organizations.  But purely local or locally organized environment advocacy groups cannot be accounted for.  Research materials tend to show that they are fragmented and not clear on the specifics of their advocacies.  In fact, Wikipedia says that there is only one environment advocacy organization in the Philippines which is the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.  Another disturbing fact is that pro-environment groups are largely informal organizations organized for a particular project or a one-day activity group.  Major television networks are the only credible local environment advocacy organizations at present.

There are worldviews that Filipinos are apathetic.  On the assumption that this statement is accurate, what is the reason for their apathy?  There is a reason for the apathy and the lack of concern for environmental issues from ordinary citizens.  “Poor as we are, Filipinos are more concerned about putting food on the table than environmental matters.  Given a choice between caring for the environment and exploiting it, many citizens are more likely to opt for natural resources exploitation if it meant livelihood and/or the survival for their families.”  (Antonio, 2014)  “Part of the Filipino culture is obliviousness; that so long as an issue or event does not affect him, he would brush it aside as mundane and trivial.  Environmental issues and concerns are exactly these: mundane (meaning: dull; lacking interest or excitement; or of this earthly world rather than a heavenly or spiritual one) and trivial (meaning: details, considerations, or pieces of information of little importance or value).  This is the environmental folly (meaning: foolishness or lack of good sense) of the Filipino people.”  (Antonio, 2014)  All these sum up to a very puny and insignificant environmental advocacy movement.

There is still hope that environmentalism could be a future mindset in our country.  The Filipino, once fully aware of the environmental issues around him, will always react positively as he has done in other socio-political and economic cases in the past… and improve the Philippine environmental advocacy situation.

Just my little thoughts…

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