Friday, February 12, 2016

Green Vote

By Anton Antonio
February 12, 2016

What is a green vote?  For our purpose, let’s suppose that the definition of “green vote” is a vote for public office candidates who are supportive of pro-environment state policies and legislation, are knowledgeable about the problems and issues that involves the environment, encourage pro-environmental initiatives, and would always prefer to take the side of Mother Earth over other interests.  This is a very tough requirement as most politicians are into the business of politics because of popularity or they belong to political families who look at politics as their business and livelihood.  This is just a general statement as there are also people in elected positions who are qualified and deserve to be there… although they seem to be the exception rather than the norm.

It is also obvious that most candidates know less about the environment and would try to convince their audience with other issues (such as peace and order, graft and corruption, law and order and criminality, job and livelihood opportunities creation, etc.) which are all in the socio-economic and political realm.  A keen observation on the type of messaging 2016 presidential candidates make will reveal that either they don’t care about the environment or are afraid to venture into environmental science which is not part of their core competency.  They also must know that there is hardly a green vote.

There are 54,363,329 registered voters in the Philippines who are expected to cast their votes in May this year.  If we go by previous statistics, only 2.4% of our population have an acceptable level of awareness on environmental issues and concerns… therefore, approximately 1.3 million voters.  However, out of the 1.3 million only 8.2% have real knowledge on environmental issues and concerns… which translates to approximately 106 thousand voters out of the 2.17 million who have acceptable knowledge on the environmental matters.  If a presidential candidate needs at least 16 million votes to win and a senator needs at least 10 million votes to win, securing 106 thousand green votes will be less of a priority in crafting their campaign strategy.  This simply means that communicating environmental issues and concerns, as part of the campaign messaging strategy, may not be an effective tool.

There really is more effort to be made in developing a respectable green vote… perhaps in preparation for the next elections.  For our national elections scheduled in May 2016, pro-environmental advocates, activists and nature lovers will have to sadly accept that they still are not relevant and have less influence in national public policy-crafting and governance.  Hopefully, however, in the future, environmentalism will be an important part of the political landscape and where there will be an influential green vote.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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