Friday, February 27, 2015

Research Method

by Antonio C. Antonio
February 14, 2015

Our thirst for knowledge is never-ending.  Although the fundamentals of learning are provided by educational institutions, post-graduate life, when and where other concerns (such as the pursuit of a career) come into play, some measure could still be done to gather additional knowledge.  Research is the answer to our quest for additional knowledge.

There seems to be several research methods available to a researcher. To mention the more popular ones: (1) Descriptive Research which is used to describe characteristics of a population or phenomenon being studied and it does not answer questions about “how”, “when” and “why” the characteristics occurred; (2) Normative Research which differs from descriptive studies because the target is not only to gather facts but also to point out in which respects the object of study can be improved.  Usually, the project even includes planning an approach for carrying out the necessary improvements; (3) Qualitative Research (also called a Ethnography) which is primarily an exploratory research.  It is used to gain an understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations.  It provides insights into the problem or helps to develop ideas or hypotheses for potential quantitative research; (4) Quantitative Research which is conducted to explain a phenomena by collecting numerical data that are analyzed using mathematically based methods; (5) Case Study which is a process or record of research in which detailed consideration is given to the development of a particular person, group, or situation over a period of time; or a particular instance of something used or analyzed in order to illustrate a thesis or a principle; (6) Correlational Research which is an important form of educational and psychological research.  Some knowledge of correlational methods is important for both the consumption and conduct of research; (7) Regressional Analysis which is a statistical process for estimating the relationships among values.  It includes many techniques for modelling and analyzing several variables, when the focus is on the relationship between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables; (8) Experimental Research which is a test under controlled conditions that is made to demonstrate a known truth, examine the validity of a hypothesis, or determine the efficacy of something previously untried; and, (9) Meta-Analysis which is a statistical technique for combining the findings from independent studies.  Meta-analysis is done by combining data from two or more randomized control trials.

From these seemingly intertwined and confusing research methods, four main research approaches can be identified and recommended for common application.  These are:

QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH - Quantitative research is commonly associated with the positivist and post-positivist paradigm.  It usually involves collecting and converting data into numerical form so that statistical calculations can be made and conclusions can be drawn.

QUALITATIVE RESEARCH – Qualitative research is the approach usually associated with the social constructivist paradigm which emphasizes the socially constructed nature of reality.  It is about recording, analyzing and attempting to uncover the deeper meaning and significance of human behaviour and experience, including contradictory beliefs, behaviours and emotions.  Researchers using this approach are interested in gaining a rich and and complex understanding of people’s experience and not in obtaining information which can be generalized to other larger groups.

PRAGMATIC APPROACH TO RESEARCH – This is commonly referred to as the “mixed approach”.  The pragmatic approach to science involves using the method which appears best suited to the research problem and not getting caught up in philosophical debates about which is the best approach.  Pragmatic researches, therefore, grant themselves the freedom to use any of the methods, techniques and procedure typically associated with quantitative or qualitative research.  They recognize that every method has its limitations and that the different approaches can be complementary.  Their mixed used, therefore, finds meaningful use if and when one or another approach cannot ideally work in bringing about an accurate research conclusion.

ADVOCACY/PARTICIPATORY APPROACH TO RESEARCH – This approach is also known as “emancipatory research”. To some degree, researchers adopting the advocacy/participatory approach feel that some of the approaches do not respond to the needs or situation of people from marginalized or vulnerable groups.  As researchers aim to bring about positive change in the lives of the research subjects, their approach is sometimes described as emancipator.

With all the different research approaches available, the researcher will surely be hard-pressed in deciding which method to use.  A clear understanding of the characteristics of these research approaches is critical in making a choice.  Research takes time and time available to an individual researcher will be the best parameter.  All these research methods and approaches are effective and accurate.  So, therefore, it’s really an individual choice in the adoption of a research method.

Just my little thoughts…

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Hamel, J., Dufour, S. and Fortin, D., (1993). Case Study Methods. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Hulley SB, Newman TB, Cummings SR. The anatomy and physiology of research. In: Hulley SB, Cummings SR (editors). Designing clinical research. Baltimore: William & Wilkins; 1988:1–11.

Stake, R.E. (1995). The Art of Case Study Research: Perspective in Practice. London: Sage.

Tellis, Winston, (1997). Introduction to Case Study. The Qualitative Report, Volume 3, Number 2, July. (

Wright, D. B. (2003) Making friends with your data: improving how statistics are conducted and reported. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 73, 123–36.

Yin, R.K., (1984). Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Beverly Hills, Calif: Sage Publications.

Youngman, M. B. (1984) Designing questionnaires. In J. Bell, T. Bush, A. Fox, J. Goodey and S. Goulding (eds) Conducting Small-Scale Investigations in Educational Management. London: Harper & Row, 156–76.

Zechmeister, E. B. and Shaughnessy, J. J. (1992) A Practical Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Zuber-Skerritt, O. (1996b) Emancipatory action research for organisational change and management development. In O. Zuber-Skerritt (ed.) New Direct-ions in Action Research. London: Falmer, 83–105.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


by Antonio C. Antonio
February 12, 2015

Demand is a market force that affects the price of a specific good or service.  Demand is defined as an economic principle that describes a customer’s desire and willingness to pay a price for a specific good or service.  Holding all other factors constant, the price of a good or service increases as its demand increases and vice versa.

Before proceeding further in discussing the dynamics of economic factors and principles such as demand, let us first establish the importance of demand to the environment and natural resources management.  Part of natural resource management is the conversion of natural resources to their economic benefits.  Economic benefits for natural resources largely dependent on economic and market forces such as supply and demand.  The uplands, where most natural resources are found, play a definitive role in providing the necessary supply to respond to consumer demand.  Consumer demand, however, could be classified into two types; individual and market.

Demand are the various quantities of a product (goods or services) that consumers are willing to purchase per unit time at various prices.  Absolute units could be used to measure quantities… therefore; pieces, units, kilograms, dozens, bundles, cups, meters, or other physical units measurement.  “Per unit time” at various prices is also considered in measuring actual demand.  Other considerations are the purchasing power of the market and the willingness of the market to purchase such goods and services.

Talking about demand, there is really a difference between individual from market demand.  Individual demand is the personal preference of an individual to a specific product (good or service).  On the other hand, market demand is the total preference of a specific market towards a specific product.  On the supply side, the product supplied by an individual provider of a specific good or service is called individual supply.  Market supply, on the other hand, is the aggregation of individual supplies produced and supplied by all suppliers in a given market.

The Law of Demand states that as the price of a product increases, the quantity demanded decreases.  This law simply states that the normal response of consumers or the market has a lot to do with the increase or decrease in the prices for certain goods and services.  Prices and supply play an influential role in consumer demand.  Factors affecting demand are: (a) Price; (b) Prices of related, substitute or compliment goods; (c) Number of consumers; (d) Income of consumers; (e) Tastes and preferences of consumers; and, (f) Range of goods available to consumers.

Upland goods and services, like any other product in the market, are influenced by prices, supply and demand.

Just my little thoughts…

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Concept of Society

by Antonio C. Antonio
February 9, 2015

Conventional worldviews say that the smaller parcel of society is the family.  Having said this, does it necessarily follow that a larger group of families automatically make up a society?  In environmental science, human society plays a very influential role… and for this reason, a study of this unit of human association (society) should also be considered.  Some sociologists would look at the family as a sub-group of a larger unit called society.

Human societies are characterized by a set pattern of relationships between individuals who share a distinctive and common culture and institutions.  A society can be described as the sum total of individual relationships between members.  Society is the aggregate of people living together in a more or less ordered community.  A human society is a group of people involved in persistent interpersonal relationships.  It is also a large social group living in the same geographical or social territory, typically governed by the same political authority and sharing the same culture, customs and traditions.  

It may not be totally accurate to describe a society as simple broad grouping of people.  Yesterday, I attended the Sunday Mass with my family; and with a larger group of people sharing the same common religion.  This group of church-goers does not necessarily represent a society.  The following are the key elements in the concept of society… (1) Society is the broad grouping of people who live in a definite territory; (2) Society is the broad grouping of people must share a common culture; and, (3) Society is the broad grouping of people must consider themselves a social unit.

Of these three key elements in the concept of society mentioned, the most crucial is the “acceptance” of the members of a particular grouping of people that they actually belong to the same social unit.  The concept of society, therefore, is nothing more than a distinct group of people sharing the same territory, governance, culture, customs and traditions and accepting with their minds, spirit and sense that they belong to a larger social unit.  In my simple mind, this is the essentially the concept of society.

Just my little thoughts…

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Determinants of Global Climate Patterns

by Antonio C. Antonio
February 7, 2015

Have you even been asked this innocent question: “Will climate change possibly bring snow to the Philippines?”  I would rather leave the answer to your fertile imagination.

There are two determinants of global climate patterns.  These are temperature and precipitation which are factors that determine climate.  Precipitation is defined as any form of water, liquid or solid, falling from the sky.  It includes rain, sleet, snow, hail and drizzle plus a few less common occurrences such as ice pellets, diamond dust and freezing rain.  On the other hand, temperature is the degree or intensity of heat present in a substance or object, especially as expressed according to a comparative scale and shown by thermometer or perceives by touch.

While precipitation and temperature are the determinants of climate, the following factors determine global climate:

THE SUN’S RAYS AND THE SPHERICAL EARTH – The sun’s rays does not reach the Earth uniformly.  The Earth is a sphere. The Earth’s surface is heated more at the equator than the poles because the sun’s rays strike the equator at right angles to the surface and maximum energy intensity is received.  At the poles, the sun’s rays are received at an oblique angle and are spread out over a much greater area, hence lower energy is received per unit area.  The obliqueness of the rays also means that they have to travel a longer distance through cloud cover and atmosphere.  This will further reduce the amount of energy actually heating the Earth’s surface.

ELLIPTICAL ORBIT AND THE EARTH’SROTATION AROUND THE SUN – The Earth rotates around the sun at the rate of 365.25 day/revolution.  The orbit of the Earth’s rotation around the sun is an ellipse.  At any given point in time, the Earth is located at a particular distance from the sun.  This distance determines the amount of energy received by the surface.  The Earth is nearest the sun at perihelion, observed ar abut January 3.  The aphelion, when the Earth is farthest the sun occurs at about July 4.  The average Earth-sun distance occurs about April 4 and October 5.  The amount of solar radiation intercepted by the Earth at perihelion is about 7% higher than aphelion.

GLOBAL TILT AND THE EARTH’S AXIS – As it rotates around the sun, the Earth is tilted on its axis at an angle of 23 degrees.  The tilt leads to uneven heating of the Earth and produces seasons and climate patterns around the globe.  Seasonal tilting of the Earth’s axis means that there is no sunlight at the poles during much of the winter.  In the tropical region, an almost uniform amount of solar energy is received by the surface.  Likewise, minimal variation in temperature is experienced in the tropics.  This is because the position of the tropical zone and the tilt of the Earth’s rotation are both at 23.5 degrees.  Temperature variation increases with increasing latitude from the equator.  In temperate region, there are four distinct season, therefore, winter, spring, summer, and autumn.  In the tropics, only two seasons are identified: dry and wet.

ATMOSPHERIC CIRCULATION – When the surface is heated, air above it is also heated, and it becomes light and rises up.  As warm air rises, it encounters lower atmospheric pressure and expands, spending some of its energy.  The decrease in the internal energy of the air parcel cools it at a rate of 10 degrees/1000 meters.  When it sinks, the air mass warms at the same rate.  The rate of decrease in temperature of the rising air mass is called the dry adiabatic lapse rate.  In most air, water vapour will condense as it cools and release latent heat to the surrounding air.  The heat released partially counteracts cooling of the air.  The adiabatic lapse rate for moist air is 6.0 degrees/1000 meters.  As the lighter warm air rises and is replaced by cooler heavier air, a vertical convection current develops, stirs the atmosphere and transport heat from one area to another.  Water vapour carries into the atmosphere by rising convection current transports large amounts of energy and plays an important role in the redistribution of heat from low to high altitudes and from the oceans to continental land masses.  If temperature is low enough, it will condense to form water droplets and precipitation will take place.  The heat released when water vapour condenses radiates into space.  The resulting cooler, drier air becomes denser, sinks, and creates an area of high pressure.  At this air mass flows across the Earth’s surface, it picks up heat and moisture and begins to rise again.  The resulting convection cells circulate air, heat, and moisture both vertically and from place to place in the troposphere, leading to different climates.  Mountains and other geographical barriers also affect the circulation of air and water.  As the moving air mass encounters a mountain barrier, air will be forced to rise following the slope of the mountain.  As the moisture-laden air mass from the windward side of the barrier rise, it cools and the water vapour condenses and falls as rain.  A cold air mass is heavy and will tend to sink but is forced to rise by the prevailing wind.  When the cold, dry air mass reaches the summit, it will descend on the leeward side of the mountain.  As it goes down, it warms up and picks up moisture along the way.  Warm air has a higher capacity to hold water.  Upon reaching the base of the mountain, it will have warmed up enough to again rise but it carries by the prevailing wind to another place where it will release water as precipitation, leaving the leeward side of the mountain barrier to be relatively dry.

PLACEMENT OF CONTINENTS AND OCEANS – The interior of a continent is usually drier that its coast simply because the interior is farther away from the major site of water evaporation.  Maritime (coastal) climates are also less variable than continental (interior) climates because the high heat capacity (amount of energy needed to change the temperature of 1 degree centigrade) of water compared to land, moderates coastal temperatures.

OCEAN CURRENT – Ocean current also plays a major role in transferring heat over the surface of the Earth.  In large ocean basins, cold water tends to move toward the tropics along the western coast of the U.S. continent.  The cold Humboldt current moving north along the coast of Chile and Peru is partly responsible for the presence of deserts along the west coast of South American rift to the equator.  Conversely, the warm Gulf Stream emanating from the Gulf of Mexico carries mild climate far to the north into western Europe.  Current also helps mix ocean waters and redistribute nutrients needed by aquatic organisms.  Along some steep, western coasts of continents, almost constant trade winds blow offshore, pushing surface water away from land.  This outgoing surface water is replaced by upwelling of nutrient-rich, cold bottom water.  Changes in prevailing winds can change the temperatures of surface waters, weaken or alter ocean currents, suppress upwelling and trigger weather changes over at least two-thirds of the globe.  (Source:  “Ecosystem Structure and Dynamics”: Medina, Zafaralla, Sierra, Cuevas, Macandog and Cervancia, 1999)

If and when the innocent question (therefore, “Will climate change possibly bring snow to the Philippines?”) is asked of you, you will now have more intelligent facts to use in answering it… the determinants of global climate patterns.

Just my little thoughts…

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Environmental Determinism

by Antonio C. Antonio
February 5, 2015

Environmental Determinism is a theory that says that human culture, institutions, and economic activities are shaped (or are determined) by the environment and that human actions are entirely a response to ecological settings.  Environmental Determinism, also known as climactic determinism or geographical determinism, is the belief that the physical environment predisposes human social development towards particular trajectories.  It is also a doctrine that maintains that all events, including human action, are ultimately determined by external causes which individuals or groups cannot control; and, therefore, dictated by man’s environment.

“Mr. Philander Rodman has a son (Dennis) who was a famous basketball player in the NBA.  Dennis lives in the U.S. and speaks English with a black-American twang.  Mr. Rodman settled in the Philippines and sired another son (Phil, Jr.) who also plays basketball.  Phil, Jr. lives in Angeles City and sFeaks HEnglish with Ha KaFamFangan dicSHAn.” (“Environmental-Cultural Terms”, Antonio, 2014,

The Theory of Environmental Possibilism is directly opposed to the Theory of Environmental Determinism.

Just my little thoughts…

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Environmental Possibilism

by Antonio C. Antonio
February 4, 2013

Environmental Possibilism is a theory that states that the environment offers different mixes of opportunities and limits to how humans may behave and that the environment does not shape human behavior but instead presents an array of conditions that allow for the same behavior to prosper and others not to develop at all.  “Possibilism”, in cultural geography is the theory that the environment sets certain constraints or limitations, but culture is otherwise determined by social conditions.

Environmental Possibilism is a theory in geography that human behavior, and therefore culture, is not merely determined by the environment but by human agency.  As a theory it is directly opposed to determinism.  Environmental Possibilism is also a belief in attempting only realistically achievable reforms in society.

“American influence on Philippine culture is quite strong.  The way and manner Filipinos speak English is more American than other Asian countries.  This is the very reason why BPOs (business process outsourcing) have gained a relative high level of success here… even beating India where BPOs started.  But American consumers can easily discern Indian English from Filipino English and, when an Indian Customer Service Representative answers the phone, they are quick to say:  “I don’t wanna talk to you. I have a friend who doesn’t have a job, why should I give you this freakin’ opportunity to earn!” (“Environmental-Cultural Terms”, Antonio, 2014,

Again, “possibilism” as a theory, as opposed to “determinism”, lays the foundation for any culture to develop in a given society.  This is what it is all about… Environmental Possibilism.

Just my little thoughts…

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Social Theory: Value in Environmental Management

by Antonio C. Antonio
February 3, 2015

Before proceeding, please allow me to invite you to check on this link on “Social Theory”.

Social Theory is an indispensible environmental management tool.  Social Theory facilitates a better understanding of what should be done to the environment for it to be a viable life support system for man as it dwells in a wide array of concerns… from the science of ecology to the study of both ecology and human behaviour.  It should be noted that human activities and action has a profound influence in the current and future state of the environment.  Secondary influence to shaping the environment is how plants, animals and other life forms behave in different ecosystems.  On the part of man, it is very important to understand his different behavioural patterns in his pursuit for economic, political and cultural aspirations which affect, influence and shape the environment.

The relationship between man and his environment is really complex.  It is for this reason that a higher degree of understanding on the value of social theory in environmental management.

Just my little thoughts…

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Climate and Weather

by Antonio C. Antonio
February 2, 2015

Have you ever wondered why “climate change” is not referred to as “weather change”?  Or why a “weather bureau” is not called a “climate bureau”?  This could just be useless wordplay but these words “climate and weather”, often used interchangeably or in the same sense, are two terms that are definitive and exact in their meaning.  Although they are synonyms, they have different applications.

CLIMATE is defined as: (1) the average long-term pattern of weather in a particular area or region.  Climate normally undergoes a cyclic change over a longer period of time covering years, decades, centuries or millennia; (2) the average course or condition in a particular place or area over a period of time exhibited by temperature, wind velocity and precipitation; and, (3) the prevailing set of environmental conditions on a particular region on earth characterizing a long period of time.  On the other hand, WEATHER is defined as the state of the atmosphere with respect to heat or cold, wetness or dryness, calm or storm, clearness or cloudiness over a relatively short period of time. 

Aside from application, the main and obvious difference between the two terms is the period of time whereby they occur… shorter for weather and longer for climate.  Most people think of weather in terms of temperature, humidity, precipitation, cloudiness, brightness, visibility, wind, and atmospheric pressure (as in high or low pressure).  Weather is what’s happening in the atmosphere on any given time in a specific place.  (For more details on “The Atmosphere”, please click on this link:  Climate is the average of these weather ingredients over a long period of time.  As Mark Twain and Robert Heinlein said, “Climate is what you expect; weather is what you get.”

Next time you find these terms in use, you would now have a better idea what they are… climate and weather.

Just my little thoughts…

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cultural Diffusionism

by Antonio C. Antonio
February 1, 2015

The Cultural Diffusionism Theory that states that cultural traits are assumed to spread from one culture to another.  Cultural Diffusionism is a theory that certain similar practices, inventions, etc. that exist among different cultures or peoples are solely or primarily the result of diffusion as opposed to independent discovery or development.  It is the belief that changes in one culture are caused by diffusion of ideas from another… especially the more advanced and modern cultures in the west.

“Filipinos dress like Americans… some even wear boots and wear them in sweaty socks because of the heat.  Some even color their hair blonde!... and act western and talk in typical American slang!  Pero pango ring kagaya ko.” (“Environmental-Cultural Terms”, Antonio, 2014,  The evolution of the language commonly referred to as “Taglish” (or a combination of the Tagalog and English languages) is the perfect example of Cultural Diffusionism.

Just my little thoughts…

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Ecological Adaptation

by Antonio C. Antonio
January 31, 2015

Ecological Adaptation is a theory relating certain organs of animals to specific features of the environment.  Ecological Adaptation is defined as a change or the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment.  Such changes could come in physical form or a set of practices.  An example of such adaptation is the preference of upland dwellers to live in groups to make hunting and food gathering more efficient.

“The physical attributes of people has something to do with their environment.  Take the case of mountain dwellers like the Aetas for example.  They are short, stocky, have big feet, and short and muscular limbs.  These are physical traits borne out of walking on slopes.  People living along coastal communities, who are traditional fisher folks, have rough and dark skins from constant exposure to seawind and sunlight.  The rough and dark skin, however, helps them stay under the sun and exposed to strong seawind longer than people living in in-land communities.”  (“Environmental-Cultural Terms”, Antonio, 2014,

Oftentimes, adapted physical traits and practices are left unnoticed since they are very slowly acquired in a substantial period of time.  Basic adaptation of man generally refers to his environment.  And where the environment is involved cultural changes are a result of Ecological Adaptation.

Just my little thoughts…

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Cultural Ecology

by Antonio C. Antonio
January 30, 2015

“Cultural Ecology is a theory that states that ecological influences from the natural environment and cultural traits diffused from other societies create a combination of core and non-core elements of human cultures, which together make up the unique manner that a society behaves.” (“Environmental-Cultural Terms”, Antonio, 2014,

The Cultural Ecology Theory can be used in analyzing the distribution of wealth and power in a society and how this affect the behavior of people of different social stature in the society.  The Cultural Ecology Theory deals on how environmental forces influence human behavior and how human activities affect the biosphere and the Earth itself.  Cultural Ecology focuses on how cultural beliefs and practices assist human populations adapt to their respective environments and live within the means of their ecosystem.  This contributes to strengthening social organization and human institutions.

“Chinese migrants to the Philippines who are predominantly Buddhists and Taoists have adopted the Roman Catholic religion and send their children to Catholic schools.  However, they are Catholics in public and at the same time Buddhist and Taoists in private.  The entire family attends Mass in Roman Catholic churches on Sunday mornings, have family lunch in a Chinese restaurant after the Mass then go home to pray before their Buddha altars.”  (“Environmental-Cultural Terms”, Antonio, 2014,

The Cultural Ecology Theory views culture as evolutionary (therefore, changing and evolving) which is a necessary component characteristic for human adaptation.  This evolutionary process often combines traditional and indigenous worldviews and practices and morphs these into a neo-culture… subject to changes again after some time.  The practices of man in relation to his environment essentially is Cultural Ecology.

Just my little thoughts…

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Environmentalist

by Antonio C. Antonio
January 27, 2015

“What is an environmentalist?” is a common question that all of us, in one occasion or another, have asked others or has been asked of us by others.  To most, the environmentalist remains to be an enigma (meaning: a person that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand).  To a few who understand the concept of environmentalism, however, the term environmentalist means: (a) An expert on environmental issues and concerns; (b) A person who has a high level of awareness of environmental problems; (c) Any person who advocates or works to protect the environment and natural resources; (d) A person who believes that differences between individuals or groups, especially in moral and intellectual attributes, are predominantly determined by environmental factors as surroundings, upbringing, or experience; and, (e) A person with extensive experience or academic background on environmental science.

The term environmentalist remains largely vague and often loosely used as a moniker by people.  In this day and age of environmental awareness or a growing level of awareness in environmental matters --- such as global warming, climate change, rising sea level, pollution, etc. --- some people are quick to claim this name for themselves.  Often, they also glory in being called environmentalists.  I have often been called an environmentalist myself and I sincerely cringe at the thought.  We should consider that joining an estero clean up or a one-day tree planting event does not make one an environmentalist.

So what does it really take to be an environmentalist?  Or when is someone truly practicing environmentalism? In my simple mind, environmentalism is a combination of the possession of academic, scholarly and technical information about the environment, a high level consciousness and awareness of present and future environmental problems, the sustainable adherence to and practice of an environmental advocacy and the constant research and study of way and means to protect and manage the environment. 

There really is more to the practice of an environmental advocacy that makes one an environmentalist.  Environmentalism --- a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental protection and sustainable development (meaning: making sure that the resources utilized today would still be available for utilization tomorrow) --- is a mind-boggling concept to understand and cannot be learned overnight.  Individuals who have been “soaked” in environmentalism for most of their lives are naturally very prudent on this matter.  If the experts (on the environment) prefer to be careful, who then are we to be overly liberal in claiming the moniker, “The Environmentalist”.

Just my little thoughts…

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Friday, February 13, 2015

The Philippine Agenda 21

by Antonio C. Antonio
January 24, 2015

Philippine Agenda 21 is the Philippine framework for sustainable development (SD).  It presents an environmental management strategy that seeks to protect the environment and make it serve the legitimate needs of Philippine society.  The strategy is derived from the agreements reached by over 200 nations (and an even larger number of civil society groups) who met in the United Nations’ Conference on Environment and Development (or UNCED, but is more often referred to as the Earth Summit) held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 1992.  In that Summit, the consensus was reached that the environment should be viewed as a support system for society and its economy.  It needs to be protected and carefully nurtured, to ensure that it continues to provide support to society in the long-term.

Philippine Agenda 21 was developed by a multisectoral group representing different constituencies of Philippine society to articulate, in the particular environmental and economic setting of the Philippines, the concept of managing the environment as forged in Rio.  It was approved by the President of the Philippines on September 1996.  (This is an important aspect of Philippine Agenda 21 because this means that its concept of environmental management enjoys a broad consensus and support in Philippine society; it carries a high level of legitimacy and has a significant social, political, and moral competence as such.)

In Philippine Agenda 21, The environment is viewed as an integral dimension of development.  Unlike before (following World War II) when development was  commonly understood as mainly a matter of economic progress (as a two-dimensional phenomenon of GDP growth over time), Philippine Agenda 21 takes off from the Earth Summit’s concept of SD that links economic progress to the ecological costs, and social dimensions of production and consumption.  In this view, economic welfare is seen as a legitimate concern of society (that it should be raised to the level that gives dignity to the human being) but --- and this is the distinguishing mark of SD --- only to within the capacity of Nature to replenish the endowments it lost to support economic growth, and only to the extent that the growth will not erode a people’s cultural and social life.

In short, environmental management, as proposed in Philippine Agenda 21, calls for utilizing the ecological and social resources found in the environment to meet society’s higher economic aspirations, but only to within the ability of the resources to keep their integrity intact.

The foregoing information was researched from the book of Dr. Ben S. Malayang III entitled “Socio-Cultural Principles of Human-Environment Interactions”.  It speaks of the novel and creative way by which we, Filipinos, took an international agreement (Agenda 21) and tailor-fitted it to our needs and the way we perceive what is right and ideal for us and the world.  This is the Philippine Agenda 21.

Just my little thoughts…

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Structure of the Ecosystem

by Antonio C. Antonio
January 20, 2015

The structure of the ecosystem can be classified in terms of spatial (meaning: space) and temporal (meaning: time) arrangements of the biotic communities.  It could also be understood as the organization of the different populations of species in space and time in the communities.  The relatively large ecosystem structure is composed of the following:

TROPHIC STRUCTURE – A trophic structure refers to the feeding relationship between the animal populations that comprise the biotic community.  Ecosystem structure can also be viewed from the way different organisms interact with each other in terms of feeding relationships of the species in the community.  Trophic structure is the pattern of movement of energy and matter through an ecosystem.  It is the result of compressing a community food web into a series of trophic levels.  All plants in the ecosystem comprise the primary producers or autotroph subsystem.  On another hand, all animal that feed on plants are called the herbivores or the macro consumer subsystem.  There are also micro organisms that get their energy requirement from decomposing plants and animal litter that belong to the decomposers or detritus subsystem.

SPATIAL STRUCTURE – Spatial pertains to space.  In a forest community, different groups of animals find food and habitat in the different layers of the trees and plants --- from the canopy down to the forest floor.  The different species of plants and animals are located at specific areas or layers within the ecosystem or forest ecosystem… this type of organization is called spatial structure.

TEMPORAL STRUCTURE – Temporal structure refers to the time of the day or season of the year when a particular species is active.  There are animals that are active during daytime and are called diurnal while those active during night time are known as nocturnal.  There are also other adoptive species that can be active at any time of the day.

There really is a complex relationship between species of plants and animals found in an ecosystem structure… part of the dynamism of the structure of the ecosystem.

Just my little thoughts…

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Peculiarities of a Republic

by Antonio C. Antonio
January 19, 2015

In the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) Framework, there are three main actors in upland governance; therefore, (1) The Government; (2) The Private Sector; and, (3) Civil Society.  Among these three actors, we all agree that Government plays the most important role in upland governance… the “leading actor” so to speak.

Have you ever wondered why our country goes by the official name “Republic” of the Philippines?  For lack of a better explanation, a “republic” seems to be the most ideal system of governance which fits the needs of most countries… that is why most countries prefer to be called as such.  The central concept of a republic is anchored on the importance and presence of a system of checks and balance among the branches of government and the citizens of that republic.  In a republic, power emanates from the people themselves.  But like any other form of government, republics also have peculiarities, such as: 

ELECTION – Leaders in a republic are elected by the majority of eligible voters.

RULE OF LAW – Most republics have a functional constitution which is the fundamental law with other rules and regulations and laws being passed by a legislature.

SEPARATION OF POWER – Most republics have adopted the democratic system of government where there are three distinct branches of government (namely: (a) the executive; (b) the legislative; and, (3) the judiciary.  These co-equal and independent governmental bodies provide the basic checks and balance between and among them.

MINORITY IS SIGNIFICANT – Majority rule prevails in a republic although the minority in a population cannot be suppressed by the majority without due process and guided by law.

In the governance and management of the uplands, it is important to understand and have a working knowledge of governance systems where upland government styles are patterned.  The peculiarities of upland governance are, more often, an off-shoot of the same peculiarities of a republic.

Just my little thoughts…

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Monday, February 9, 2015


by Antonio C. Antonio
January 18, 2015

Earlier today, I had a very meaningful conversation with a friend who never failed to give me a safe advice.  He follows my blogs and could not help but notice that I’ve regressed (meaning: return to a former or less developed state) to discussing basic concepts in environmental science or environmentalism in general.  So I went on to explain to him that we have actually moved too far forward in environmental advocacy and environmentalism that we’ve more likely lost our way.  We are now addressing the “what”, “how”, “where” and “when” when we do not even understand “why” things need to be done.  I firmly believe that “why” takes precedence (meaning: the condition of being considered more important than someone or something else; priority in importance, order, or rank) over “what”, “how”, “where” and “when” in addressing our environmental concerns.  What I am doing is regressing back to what I believe should first be understood before jumping forward to other equally important concerns… this is to highlight that all (namely: why, what, where, when and how) are equally important; therefore, all must eventually be addressed.

“What” and “why” are supposed to be taken with the same degree of priority.  The difference, however, is that “what” simply states the concern while “why” dwells on the deeper understanding of the concern at hand.  Stating something is dramatically different from understanding something.  It is the clear understanding of any concern that will lead to better and more plausible solutions to any environmental issue.

More than two years ago, a quantitative and qualitative survey was conducted by students of the University of the Philippines OU to assess the status and condition of environmental knowledge.  Unfortunately, the results of this study indicated the high level of ignorance and the lack of education of people on environmental issues, problems and concerns.  So even as people get involved in seemingly pro-environment activities, projects and programs, they do not have the slightest idea “why” they are doing things.  Having determined this inadequacy in environmental advocacy and environmentalism, we found it best to adopt the EIC (Education, Information and Communication) Approach to better inform everyone on the “why” of environmental science.  Even if the topics I blog and post on Facebook sometimes do not seem coherent (meaning: logical and consistent) on account of the multidisciplinary nature of environmental science, they all make better sense when viewed in the larger scheme environmentalism.

I am not saying, however, that the EID Approach is applicable to everyone. For those who are already soaked in the theoretical aspect of environmental science, they could surely go on their merry way and do the more advance things such as addressing the “what”, “how”, “where” and “when”.  But for the larger segment of society, let’s first regress back to understanding “why”.

Just my little thoughts…

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Upland Ecosystem

by Antonio C. Antonio
January 6, 2015

The following article is a researched material to give us a better understanding and appreciation of the nature and importance of upland ecosystems.

The uplands are very important landscapes because they affect other ecosystems in various ways.  Uplands are composed of a great diversity of land uses and habitats, including patches, corridors, and matrices of open grasslands, perennial crop plantations of coconut, rubber and fruit trees, and human settlement structures and built up areas (Alambra, 2000).

Webster (2005) defines the uplands as the areas of land above flood level or elevated above the lowlands along rivers and between hills.  They therefore constitute the mountain and foothill portions of the landscape (Alambra, 2000).  The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) defines uplands as those areas with an elevation of over 100 meters and a slope of more than 18% (Roque, 1990).  These include forests and marginal lands around them.  In Southeast Asia, upland landscapes, particularly the sloping areas, are the most extensive ecosystems, consisting of 60 to 90% of the land area (Garrity, 1991).  Unsustainable agricultural practices ad intensification of agricultural operations into the uplands and protected areas are increasing in the region.  These activities are alarming as they can lead to declining productivity by degrading the land resource base.

About 80% of the Philippines’ land resources are considered uplands.  Of these, 33% are agricultural areas; the rest are forest lands.

This researched material makes it pretty obvious that upland ecosystems are worthy studies and vital concerns of everyone because, with reference to our total land area, a larger portion is the upland ecosystem.

Just my little thoughts…

Reference:  “Upland Ecosystem Management” by Teodoro R. Villanueva

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Bashing the President

by Antonio C. Antonio
February 8, 2015

This is just an afterthought to a blog I wrote last December 9, 2014 under the title “Asking the Right Questions” but published on my blogsite only yesterday.  (

I was in high school when Martial Law was proclaimed by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos.  For more than a decade, presidential criticism was non-existent and a very unhealthy thing to do… fear gripped the whole nation.  If there was nothing nice to say about public governance, “zipping it” was the more prudent thing to do.  Bashing (meaning: severe criticism) the President then was a workable solution to landing in jail, forced disappearance or ending your life.

“The EDSA Revolution of 1986 brought back our basic freedoms… including freedom of speech.  This ushered in a post-Marcos era where some people took special pleasure in bashing the President --- from Corazon C. Aquino to Fidel V. Ramos to Joseph E. Estrada to Gloria M. Arroyo and Benigno S. Aquino III.  I agree, however, that some of these presidents deserve to be bashed but some simply don’t.  Curiously, some of these bashers were praising alleluias to the President during the Martial Law years.”  (Antonio, 2014).

Social media and other communications platforms opened the floodgates for people to be hypocritical (meaning: behaving in a way that suggests one has higher standards or more noble beliefs than others).  All too suddenly, we regained our freedom to liberally speak our minds.  The mainstream media and, most of all, netizens are having a field day criticizing everything and everyone.  Every gesture our president makes could be the subject of condemnation from some… especially those who did not vote for him.  Often, his demeanor (meaning: outward behaviour or bearing) is interpreted to favour whatever political ends his dislikers have.  The Philippines is fast becoming the primary example on how democratic freedoms can easily be abused and misused.

Social media has become so powerful that even terrorist organizations use social media to advertise and spread their hate ends and purposes.  But, on second thought, under Martial Rule, the State could always find ways to regulate and curtail social media.

“I am just wondering… could the present-day presidential bashers do the same under Martial Law; when it was not too fashionable and utterly dangerous to speak out against the President? Probably not…” (Antonio, 2014)  Under Martial Law, Presidential follies are never a justification for bashing the President.

Just my little thoughts…

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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Religion and Politics

by Antonio C. Antonio
December 12, 2014

I’ve often read this on social media… especially Facebook: “Never talk about religion and/or politics if you want to gain friends and influence people.”  Do you agree?  My take is… we all need to take a stand on any issue, even religion and politics.

Religion and politics are two traditional systems that has been part of the Filipino culture, history and way of life.  Having said this, it really would not seem normal if we consciously tried to skirt these subject matters.  We all have our own beliefs and opinions… it’s just a matter of increasing our level of tolerance, understanding and respect for the “say” of others.  As the time-honored poem “Desiderata” states: “Even the dull and ignorant; they too have their stories.”

Some of us choose to evangelize about spirituality… there’s nothing wrong with that.  People will only start to feel violated when lines of comparison are drawn… therefore, saying that one’s religion is superior over the other.  Respect and acceptance of one’s chosen faith is paramount.  Afterall, “good” will always be “good” by any religious definition and no one has an absolute monopoly of righteousness.

Some of us also take special pleasure in talking about politics; although politics is very divisive and partisan.  It’s strange but Filipinos are very passionate about politics and, quite often, friendships and kinships are tested by politics.  Let us understand that politics is also personality-influenced and could only serve the personal interest and agenda of politicians.  There really is no need to convince people about our chosen political color because people are more informed now and, at the end of the day, will always choose/vote for whoever their hearts dictate.

I must highlight, however, that religion and politics are part and parcel of environmental science… and there is absolutely no way they can be swept under the rug.  Inevitably, these too have to be discussed and factored-in to understand the socio-political and religious landscape.

Again, religion and politics will most likely put unnecessary stress on our goodwill and friendships.  This is why, as a preference, I’ve chosen to largely talk about the environment, environmental advocacy and activism or environmentalism over religion and politics.

Just my little thoughts…

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Asking the Right Questions

by Antonio C. Antonio
December 9, 2014

In August 1977, under an authoritarian regime (meaning: favouring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, especially that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom), Archimedes Trajano was abducted, tortured and killed for asking a question in a public forum of Imee Marcos.  The young Marcos was then giving a talk on the Kabataan Barangay (KB) at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.  In the open forum, Trajano stood up and told Marcos that she should not have been the head of the KB if she was not the daughter of the Dictator… the Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos.  Trajano went on to question the human rights abuses of Marcos’ father.  This apparently angered Marcos.  Trajano never got an answer and was forcibly taken out by the bodyguards of Marcos. 

Days later, on September 2, 1977, Archimedes Trajano was found on a Manila street, dead with his body and face badly bruised and swollen.  Trajano’s mother, Agapita, was informed by the police that her son was killed in a dormitory fight but witnesses said that Archimedes never returned to his dormitory after he was dragged out of the Imee Marcos forum.  Fearing for their safety, the entire Trajano family left the Philippines.

After the People Power revolution in 1986, a class action suit was filed by human rights victims against the Marcos family.  Agapita Trajano joined the litigants to seek justice for her son.  An American human rights lawyer, Sherry P. Broder, was deeply moved by Trajano’s case and represented the family for free.  In 1993, Judge Manuel Real of Court in Hawaii found Imee Marcos liable the murder of Archimedes Trajano.

The EDSA Revolution of 1986 brought back our basic freedoms… including freedom of speech.  This ushered in a post-Marcos era where some people took special pleasure in bashing the President --- from Corazon C. Aquino to Fidel V. Ramos to Joseph E. Estrada to Gloria M. Arroyo and Benigno S. Aquino III.  I agree, however, that some of these presidents deserve to be bashed but some simply don’t.  Curiously, some of these bashers were praising alleluias to the President during the Martial Law years.

I am just wondering… could the present-day presidential bashers do the same under Martial Law; when it was not too fashionable and utterly dangerous to speak out against the President?  Probably not… especially those who are aware of the Archimedes Trajano story; and what he got for asking the right questions.

Just my little thoughts…

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Patterns of Culture

by Antonio C. Antonio
February 4, 2015

Why is it important to study culture in relation to environmental management?  It must be noted that there are numerous cultural and indigenous communities living in the rural and (even) in the urban landscapes.  To these groups of people, their indigenous knowledge, culture and traditions are held sacred.  Introducing modern technologies without considering or integrating such indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditions might not work well with them.  A combination of these (therefore, indigenous knowledge, culture and tradition, and modern management methods) may stand a better chance of being accepted by these cultural and indigenous peoples.  Understanding traditional worldviews and culture, therefore, becomes imperative.

Culture or cultural pattern is a group of interrelated traits of some continuity.  In this sense, culture does not refer to a specific individual but to the cultural patterns as exhibited by a group of persons or refers to the generalized pattern of behaviour of a group of persons.  While culture is “general” in nature, variations could be described as sub-culture sets.  In these sub-culture sets, individual groupings will show some degree of variation from the generalized cultural pattern.

There are two types of culture or cultural patterns.  “Ideal patterns are called the “imperatives” of culture.  They are the musts and should of the culture:  Women must marry at the age of fifteen.  Hunters should enter the forest only after the performance of rituals.  Couples should have only one child.  Behaviour patterns refer to the actual behaviour of members of the culture.  The ideals are not always followed.  For example, not all women marry at the age of fifteen.” (Daylinda Banzon-Cabanilla, “Cultures and Societies in Typical Forest Ecosystems”)

It is equally important to consider both ideal and behaviour patterns in understanding culture.  If only “behaviour” patterns are considered in the case of forest degradation, the conclusion would most likely be that the upland dwellers and community do not find forest protection and preservation as an “ideal”.  It would be hard to imagine the complex problems that will result if only behaviour or ideal patterns are taken into consideration. This is the importance of patterns of culture.

Just my little thoughts…

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