THE CONCERNS OF
PHILIPPINE ENVIRONMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY
The encompassing nature of Environmental Psychology is reflected in the following statement: “Issues in person-environment relationships are enormously complex and this complexity is reflected in the diversity of environmental psychology.” (Veitch and Arkklein)
In the Philippines, environmental issues are complex and are rooted in person-environment relationships. Studies have shown that man’s behavior has direct connection with the nature of Philippine environmental problems. The country is, therefore, not isolated from global trends. Issues arising from Philippine environmental problems prositively indicate that the country is a fertile ground for the development of Environmental Psychology.
Environmental Psychology is defined as “the study of transactions between individuals and their physical settings.” The recent emergence of environmental psychology as a discipline has added strength to the society’s control over physical forces. In the Philippines a good number of environmental researches point to this new field of study. But this researches are still to be fully identified and to be defined from the perspective of environmental psychology. The interplay of man’s behavior and the physical make-up that surrounds him is evident in Philippine environmental issues.
The following selected studies conducted in the Philippines are anchored on environmental concerns. Issues arising from these studies are given focus to uncover their direct connection to environmental psychology.
Environmental Psychology and the Philippine Population
Population is an old problem in the Philippines. At present, the government projections of its future trend reveal that it is increasing as the country moves towards the twenty-first century. The Philippine Yearbook of 1997 states that the country’s population of seventy-six million seemed to be moving towards a billion mark.
The very core of this problem is the family unit. Within this unit, conflicting views and behaviors between a husband and a wife directly affect family planning and their day to day undertaking. A study on couples in a fishing village by Jeanne Frances I. Illo and Jaime B. Polo (1990) show different aspirations of husbands and wives for their children and the environment. Ramona, a wife, when asked about the education of their daughters, she responded “College is costly; they won’t need it, but they must study as long as they can if they are to live better than us.” Tonyo, a husband responded “I hope to see them complete in college.” Towards the natural resource where livelihood come from, their perception was also different, the wife considered the fish sanctuary as her “child” that needed care while the husband considered it as the “provider” of their needs. These differences if studied from the respective environmental psychology will give light to the understanding of the population issue.
Environmental Psychology and Philippine Public Policy
A case study on law and the local management of marine resources discovered several points of conflict. Among these were the “jurisdictional entitlements, both between national and local levels and between and among municipalities; the use of the natural resource ranging from fisheries to ecotourism; the competing claims to access and the limitations in terms of the human, technical and financial resources available to implement the jurisdiction.” (Abregana, Barber, Maxino, Sanders & VandarZwaag, ERMP 1996) In these conflicts arise cultural and behavioral concerns that needed further examination. This call for a better understanding of the Philippine society’s perception of Philippine society’s perception of Philippine environmental laws and its implementation is a major concern of Environmental Psychology.
Environmental Psychology and Philippine Media
Conclusions from a study on environmental content of Radio and Print Media in Region VII reveal that “environment is not top of the priorities of either print or radio media as reflected in the generally inadequate hiring of environmentally aware staff.” (Villava, 1998) This concrete picture of the state of Philippine media is very alarming for the two media sources identified in Villaba’s study are essential in building environmental awareness in the country.
In another study conducted in Palawan on Environmental Communication, identified “government officials and other community members as highly credible and influential in promoting environmental protection” (Oracion 1996). Since the mode of communication directly come from individuals, behavioral factors have to be examined. Indicators of the effectivity of these role models in the community are significant points in the areas of concern of Philippine Environmental Psychology.