Thursday, January 29, 2015

It's Environmentalism Shining Through

by Antonio C. Antonio
January 27, 2015

Some three years ago, I took part in a quantitative and qualitative survey and study to measure the level of awareness people have on environmental issues and concerns.  The results were not too encouraging.    Sadly, we arrived at a single digit figure on the percentage of people who are “somewhat” aware of matters concerning the environment.  Sadly, again, the very insignificant percentage of people with a relatively high level of awareness are knowledgeable only of the mundane things about the environment; the superficial events and pro-environment activities that they have experienced so far --- tree planting, waterways clean-up, street and neighbourhood clean-up, waste management, etc.  It is a modest start and I am not saying that the knowledge level is something we should not be proud of.  There is, however, more room for improvement.

The major reasons for our environmental malaise that influences the low level of environmental awareness are ignorance, lack of education on environmental science and lack of information on the environment that goes around.  Our study group came to the conclusion that a workable systems approach was in order.  We were all unanimous that the IEC (Information, Education and Communication) Approach will be the best strategy to propagate more information to most people… therefore, augmenting the lack of information on the environment that circulates.  We also agreed that our best platform to use would be social media.

A lot of little specks of information still needs to be communicated to a wider audience but starting at modest means and targets will also be effective.  I believe that people have to understand “why” there is a need to protect, conserve and develop environmental resources so they would better appreciate what they are doing (tree planting, clean-ups, waste management, etc.) and still plan to do.  The purpose, in this case, is more important than the mindless action sometimes being undertaken.

Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding sustainable development and social justice.  Most people skipped the theoretical part of environmentalism and went straight to pro-environmental activities.  This action, I believe, is not sustainable without the basic knowledge and understanding why things should be done.  It is for this reason that we maintain that some degree of review on the basics of environmental science will be beneficial in the long haul.

There is an old Chinese adage that says: “One step backwards; two steps forward.”  This statement is quite confusing but could logically be explained.  Imagine yourself facing the direction you wish to move… then turn around and take a step backwards… then turn around again.  You did make a step backwards but actually gained two steps forward from your original position and direction.  I believe this is applicable in our case.  We might seem to be retrogressing with the use of our IEC Approach but this is just a small short-term sacrifice for a sustainable long-term goal.  Eventually people will begin to realize, understand and appreciate the “why” in what they want to see happen.  In my simple mind, this will be more enlightening and perhaps later, we could say:  “It’s Environmentalism Shining Through!”

Just my little thoughts…

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