Filipinos are said to have “as much concern for the environment” (+48) as most peoples of the world (+40). This, according to the 2010 Survey on Environment of the International Social Survey Program as analyzed and explained by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) at the “Trailblazers in Science” public forum of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Philippines, May 16.
The survey was conducted in 35 countries and in Vlaams Gewest, Belgium and was done as face-to-face interviews, by answering self-completion questionnaires, and mixed modes through “various sampling procedures” which are different according to country and mostly as “stratified multi-stage random sample.” Those asked were asked to rank their answers based on a scale of minus- to plus-100.
According to the survey, Filipinos consider air pollution, climate change, and natural resources use as the top three environmental problems in the country. They are followed by domestic waste disposal, water shortage, water pollution, nuclear waste, chemicals and pesticides, and genetically modified food.
The survey, as explained by Dr. Mahar Mangahas, SWS President, also indicated that Filipinos are “slightly more confident” (+12) of being knowledgeable of the causes of environmental problems, “slightly positive” (+4) about knowing how these can be resolved, and “relatively confident” (+39) of science’s work in solving environmental problems “without changing their way of life” compared to other countries’ perspectives (+5, -17, and -12), respectively.
Even though Filipinos are “relatively confident” that solving environmental problems will not change their lifestyles, Filipinos are also in agreement (+22) with other peoples (+29) in the world that “modern life tends to harm the environment,” while also “strongly feeling” (+41) that progress can be reached without necessarily causing harm to the environment as against the rest of the interviewees being “divided” (-3) on the issue. The survey results additionally say that Filipinos “agree much more strongly” (+70) compared to the rest of the world (+34) that economic development goes hand-in-hand with environmental protection. Contrarily, though, Filipinos also think that economic growth “always harms” (+21) the environment, compared to their counterparts (-7).
Mangahas commented that the survey should “pose a challenge to the scientific community to upgrade the level of education about the environmental situation in the Philippines” whether or not the Filipinos’ attitudes presented in the survey are “inappropriate or unrealistic” to scientific data or experts.
NAST Philippines held the public forum to disseminate information and research that concern health, water resources management, and food security and the environment.