ABSTRACT

ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

IN COMMUNITY-BASED COASTAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT:  A CASE STUDY OF OLANGO ISLAND, PHILIPPINES

This study examined the dissemination of environmental knowledge and information in a community-based coastal resource management program in Olango, Philippines.  Poor coastal planning and inappropriate fishing techniques threaten marine estuaries and coral reefs around Olango.  Environmental education can be part of a solution to these problems through raising awareness of issues and encouraging behavioral change. 

     As a case study of a community-based coastal resource management program, this dissertation facilitates an understanding of how the acquisition and learning of environmentally appropriate behavior take place through increased knowledge and attitudinal change.  Using qualitative research methods, this study investigated how non-formal education can raise consciousness about coastal resource management, ultimately resulting in attempts to maintain a sustainable symbiotic relationship with the marine environment.  The juxtaposition of several theories frames possible avenues for exchange of environmental knowledge and information.  Social learning theories explain one process for the dissemination of environmental knowledge; however, other theories may offer complementing explanations for the dissemination of environmental knowledge and information.  Organizational learning theories address the issue of how learning takes place within and among environmental organizations through the sharing of information that includes lessons learned from experience.  Historical, experiential and political aspects of ecofeminist theory help to frame the process of community empowerment, a necessary step in the behavioral change process. 

     The study specifically describes how the Coastal Resource Management Program (CRMP) mobilizes community members in the Olango area to collectively work for coastal resource management.  The CRMP initiatives include consciousness raising campaigns about environmental issues, enterprise development for an alternative livelihood, and strategic planning for law enforcement.  The CRMP multisectoral approach to consciousness raising emphasizes information, education, and communication.  To encourage illegal fishermen to give up their practices, CRMP’s Enterprise Development division works with local island residents in the building and promoting of an eco-tour business.  The enthusiasm among active community members gives optimism to the issue of sustainability for the Olango coastal resource management.  However, lack of education and a rapidly growing population remain issues that need to be addressed.   

 

DEDICATION

I would like to dedicate this dissertation to my parents, Charles and Leona English; and, to my sisters and brothers, Anne, Tim, Kevin and Maureen .   It was their love, support and belief in me that helped keep me motivated through the research, writing and editing of this document.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

I would like to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to all of the faculty and staff of the International Education program at the University of Southern California. Their guidance and assistance have been a major contribution to this work.  Especially, I would like to thank Dr. Nelly Stromquist for her encouragement and advice through the research and writing process.

     I would also like to thank the fisherfolk on Olango and Gilutongan who welcomed me into their lives and hearts, the dedicated community organizers who assisted me in the field, and all the CRMP staff who made me feel at home in the Philippines.

 

 

ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS

 

BFARMC                    Barangay Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Council

CI                                Conservation International

CLEAR-7                    Coastal Law Enforcement Alliance in Region 7

CRMP                         Coastal Resource Management Program

DA-BFAR                   Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources

DECS                          Department of Education Culture and Sports

DENR                          Department of Environment and Natural Resources

DILG                           Department of Interior and Local Government

GMS                            Gilutongan Marine Sanctuary

ICM                             Integrated coastal management

ICNU                          Internation Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

ICRI                            International Coral Reef Alliance

IEC                              Information, education and communication

IMA                             International Marinelife Alliance

JAIP                            Jerusalem AIDS Project

JICA                            Japanese International Cooperative Assistance Agency

LGU                            Local Government Unit

NGO                           Non-governmental organization

OBST                          Olango Bird and Seascape Tour

OIWS                          Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary

PBSP                           Philippine Business for Social Progress

PCRA                          Participatory Coastal Resource Assessment

SEACAM                    Secretariat for East African Coastal Area Management

UN                              United Nations

USAID                        United States Agency for International Development

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1. 3

Introduction. 3

Statement of Problem... 5

Overview of Theories. 8

Figure 1.1: Factors Influencing Pro-Active Environmental Behavior. 12

Research Questions. 1

Overview of Research Methodology.. 12

Assumptions. 12

Delimitations. 12

Limitations. 12

Definition of Terms. 13

Organization of Dissertation.. 17

Chapter 2. 19

Review of the Literature. 19

Learning Theories. 21

Social Learning Theory. 22

Organizational Learning. 30

Ecofeminist Theory.. 39

Historical Connections between Feminism and Ecology. 41

Empirical and Experiential Connections Between Feminism and Ecology. 42

Political Connections Between Feminism and Ecology. 44

Empowerment through Environmental Education.. 46

Figure 2.1 Stromquist’s (1993) Theorized Chain of Events in the Empowering Process. 47

Figure 2.2 Empowerment Process of Community-Based Environmental Education. 48

Eco-Centered, Non-Formal Education for Empowerment 49

Principles of Environmental Education. 52

A New Environmental Paradigm.. 53

Environmental Non-Formal Education in the Philippines. 54

Examples of Environmental Non-Formal Education in the Philippines. 55

Non-Governmental Organizations and Non-Formal Education.. 57

The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations. 57

Invasive or Noninvasive?. 58

Summary of Literature Review... 62

Chapter 3. 64

Qualitative Research and Environmental Programs. 64

Research on Environmental Programs. 67

Research Design.. 68

Research Objectives. 68

Methodology. 71

Selecting a Site. 73

Description of Site. 74

Interviews. 79

Key Informants. 82

Participant-Observer. 84

Document Analysis. 86

Analyzing the Data. 87

Maintaining Research Integrity. 89

Chapter 4. 92

The Challenges of Coastal Resource Management in Olango. 92

Local Informants. 93

The Coastal Resource Management Project.. 93

Goals and Strategy. 94

Divisions of CRMP.. 95

Other Agencies. 98

Philippine Business for Social Progress. 99

International Marinelife Alliance. 100

Protected Areas. 102

Olango Island Wild Life Sanctuary. 102

Gilutongan Marine Sanctuary. 103

Coastal Resource Management Issues. 103

Cyanide fishing. 104

Dynamite Fishing. 105

Transient Fisherman. 106

Albert Bandura, 1995. 108

Chapter 5. 108

Disseminating Environmental Knowledge at a Community Level 108

Training for Resource Assessment and Monitoring.. 108

Participatory Coastal Resource Assessment Training. 109

Table 5.1--CRMP Sponsored Programs in the Olango Learning Area. 110

Table 5.1 (cont.)--CRMP Sponsored Programs in the Olango Learning Area. 111

Reef Checks. 116

Eco-Tourism... 123

Tour Guide Training and Enterprise Development 123

The Olango Birds & Seascape Tour. 126

Workshops Seminars and Activities. 130

Social Development Training. 130

“I Love the Ocean” Movement 132

CLEAR 7. 134

Waste Management 135

Women’s Involvement in the Education Process. 135

Social Interaction in the Exchange of Environmental Knowledge. 139

Social Interaction between Organizations. 140

Target individuals as Information Bridges. 143

Informal Learning through Individuals Interacting. 146

Social Interaction and the Learning of Inappropriate Behaviors. 149

Social Interaction in Program Monitoring. 151

Evolving Toward Community Empowerment.. 152

Consciousness Raising. 153

The Role of Community Organizers in the Empowerment Process. 154

Decision-Making, Change and Resistance. 156

Women’s Involvement in the Evolution of the Program.. 159

Individual Change in the Empowerment Process. 161

The Impact of Coastal Resource Management on the Environment.. 170

Other Factors in Developing a Common Environmental Ethic.. 173

Education. 173

Money. 175

Law Enforcement 179

The Global Environment 180

The Natural Elements. 181

The Response of the Greater Community to Change. 181

Chapter 6. 183

Summary.. 184

Key Findings. 185

General Conclusions. 187

Practical and Theoretical Implications. 193

Suggestions for Further Research.. 196

Concluding Comments. 197

References. 199

 

 

"Our task must be to free ourselves--by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty."

                                                              Albert Einstein

Chapter 1

Introduction

Einstein’s words epitomize the spirit of environmental education that includes elements of community cooperation and trans-generational communication.  As somewhat of a philosopher on education, Einstein was well aware of the need to pass on knowledge about the environment to future generations in order for them to better understand how to maintain a sustainable relationship with nature. Environmental education has grown to include more than just field studies in biology and geology.  Environmental education also aims to teach critical thinking skills that involve problem solving and decision making; occupation-specific skills; and attitude development based on community morals and ethics (Gayford, 1996).

     The undeniable human impact on the environment is causing communities all over the world to rethink planning and development.  Environmental education is linked to development because it is through education that communities can raise awareness of detrimental practices and hopefully nurture a new social consciousness that will result in a more symbiotic relationship with nature.  Many theorists and educators believe that environmental education is fundamental to effecting change in environmental attitudes and behavior (Milbrath, 1989; Bowers, 1995, 1997; Palmer, 1998).  Because of the growing number of non-formal education programs in communities throughout the world, it is necessary to examine more closely how information is passed on and how learning takes place in non-formal educational settings. Therefore, this study aims to explain how non-formal community-based environmental educational programs function, and how they disseminate environmental knowledge and information.  Specifically, this study employs qualitative research methods to gather and analyze data on how a community-based coastal resource management program uses and disseminates information about the environment. A major goal of this study is to broaden an understanding of how consciousness-raising efforts at the local level attempt to promote pro-active programs that initiate change as well as minimize inappropriate practices that threaten coastal environments.  Although this study does not attempt to uncover causal relationships, the findings add to a better understanding of the variables that influence the implementation process and the effectiveness of community-based coastal resource management programs.

Statement of Problem

There is a growing international concern about the widespread global degradation of coral reefs and their related ecosystems (International Coral Reef Initiative, 1995).  Exponential increases in coastal populations magnify the overuse and abuse of coral reefs as communities compete for marine resources (Jackson, 1995).  Although some natural phenomena such as earthquakes, typhoons, climate changes, coral eating predators and plagues may cause threats to marine ecosystems, human activity accounts for the majority of degradation to coral reefs.  Siltation, pollution, poor coastal planning and inappropriate fishing techniques are some of the ways that humans threaten marine estuaries and ecosystems.

     There are two basic reasons to argue that coral reefs are worthy of saving.  The first reason is that continued destruction or coral reefs will negatively affect people’s ability to feed themselves.  The other reason is that coral reefs have intrinsic value beyond the need of humans.  The former argument relates to economics and development, while the latter is an eco-centric philosophical argument.  Many educators and planners may believe that the philosophical argument alone demands that action be taken to limit human destruction of reefs.  Although others may not have the same view, the economic value of these marine resources is indisputable.  In many island communities, both the fishing and tourist industries are dependent on healthy coral reefs. Thus, coral reef destruction can result in higher unemployment, smaller fish catches and lowered income locally.  On a national level, coral reef degradation can lead to loss of income tax moneys, urban crowding due to the collapse of local economies and diminishment in a major source of protein (McAllister and Ansula, 1993).  The economic implications of destroying coral reefs alone should be enough to convince people of the need to modify behavior. 

     Effective coastal resource management is essential to ensuring the health of these important resources.  The destruction of coral reefs can have catastrophic effects on local economies and create potential problems for providing enough food for local populations. Unfortunately, poverty and myopia in development planning cause people to seek short-term gains without realizing the long-term detrimental effects.  It is important that effective measures are taken at all levels of government to ensure sustainable use of the coral reef resources and their associated ecosystems.  The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) predicts that if proper measures are not taken, 48% of South East Asia’s coral reefs will be depleted within two decades (1995).  Scientists and lawmakers are limited in their ability to change attitudes and values.  Therefore, it is necessary for educators at the grass-root level to assist in the process of disseminating information about practices that can help local communities maintain a more symbiotic relationship with the coastal environment.  Various types of programs that address coastal resource management exist; however, localized educational programs may be more feasible and more effective in creating environmental awareness.  When members of the community actively participate in the assessment of their coastal resources, they become more environmentally aware of the need to manage those resources.  This heightened level of community environmental awareness facilitates better management of the coastal resources.  Knowledge empowers communities to plan effective strategies for sustainable use of coastal resources; thus, building a healthier, more symbiotic relationship with the ecosystem.    

     For many countries, and especially developing coastal nations, the economic implications of healthy coral reef eco-systems are far reaching because coral reefs provide food and a vital source of protein for local communities.  In addition, healthy coral reef eco-systems can “provide millions of jobs, earn export dollars and attract tourists” (McAllister and Ansula, 1993).  Because these coastal resources are tied so closely to the quality of life for those living in small island communities, it is important to study how knowledge and information about caring for the environment are disseminated at a local level.

     This dissertation addresses the issue through analysis of qualitative data collected in a case study of a community-based coastal resource management program in the Republic of the Philippines.  The Philippines is an example of a developing country that has a heavy reliance on its marine environment.  Coastal waters provide “half the dietary protein for many of the 62 million Filipino people and fishing employs over 2 million people either directly or indirectly” (MacAllister and Ansula, 1993, p. 7).  A significant number of these people are women who gather mollusks, seaweed and other reef resources.  Coral reefs also help to support the tourist industry by attracting over a million foreign visitors a year to the Philippine Islands.

     The situation in the Philippines is particularly grave.  In the Philippines, “coral reefs occupy an area of 33,000 square kilometers at depths under 37 meters” (Carpenter as cited in McAllister and Ansula, 1993).  About 80% of these reefs are in poor condition due to damage by humans (McAllister and Ansula, 1993; Pineda-Ofreneo, 1993).  The magnitude of inappropriate practices can be seen in one example from the on-line magazine, People and Planet:  “In the Philippines, over 6,000 cyanide divers squirt an estimated 150,000 kilograms of dissolved poison on to some 33 million coral heads each year” (People and Planet, 1996).  Inappropriate and destructive fishing techniques include fishing with explosives, using cyanide or other poisons to stun rare tropical fish for the lucrative pet industry, and using poles to break up the coral to drive fish into large heavy nets (McAllister and Ansula, 1993; U.S. Department of State, 1998).

Overview of Theories

This dissertation attempts to explain how the acquisition and learning of environmentally appropriate behavior take place through increased knowledge and attitudinal change.  The juxtaposition of several theories frame possible avenues for exchange of environmental knowledge and information.  Social learning theories may explain one process for the dissemination of environmental knowledge via community-based programs because ecological information can be passed on from one person to another through social interaction and involvement in community activities. Since social interaction is inherently part of community-based education, it logically follows that social learning theory can at least explain the pathways for sharing knowledge about the environment.  However, other theories may offer competing or complementing explanations for the dissemination of environmental knowledge and information. 

     Organizational learning theories address another aspect of environmental education and lend insight into how learning takes place within and among organizations.  A non-governmental organization (NGO) that promotes environmental education in small coastal communities needs to develop approaches to learning based not only on its own experience, but also based on the experience of other organizations with similar objectives. Organizational learning theories can also help to explain how an organization’s structure affects the learning process and how the organization changes over time to meet the needs of the community. The discussion on organizational theories will consider the possibility that social interaction is a key variable in organizational learning that may result in the acquisition of new behaviors.

     One competing theory that suggests an alternative view of environmental problems is ecofeminist theory.  Ecofeminist theory helps to frame environmental problems in the context of productive and reproductive labor while also bringing to light how the process of community empowerment is a necessary step in the developing of proactive environmental behavior.  Ecofeminism emphasizes the need to change social and political constructs based on patriarchal attitudes that breed unsustainable development. One major principle of ecofeminism is the “absolute respect for nature as the foundation of liberation from both patriarchalism and industrialism” (Castells, 1997, p. 117).  In addition, ecofeminism attempts to explain the need to include all members of the community and especially marginalized groups that may suffer most from environmental degradation.  Education can increase awareness about such attitudes and help to promote change by encouraging grass roots involvement in environmental programs.  Therefore, community-based environmental programs that reach out to and seek the involvement of all members of the community become tools for empowerment that focus on the importance of education to promote attitudinal and behavioral change.

     Through qualitative investigation, this study explains how non-formal education can raise consciousness about coastal resource management, ultimately resulting in attempts to maintain a sustainable symbiotic relationship with the marine environment.  This study is primarily concerned with explaining how a community-based coastal resource management can effect change in attitudes toward the environment over time through consciousness raising efforts and how any change in attitudes might affect behavior.

     An increase in knowledge about local environmental issues is expected to contribute to the development of a enviromental ethic manifested in proactive environmental behavior.  Although it is hypothesized that community-based coastal resource management promotes positive environmental attitudes resulting in proactive environmental behavior, it is possible that other factors influence people’s attitudes and behavior (see Figure 1.1).   These factors include, but are not limited to, peer groups, level of education, social norms, monetary incentives, legislation and available law enforcement.  Some of these factors may facilitate or hamper a community-based coastal resource management program’s initiatives.  For example, peergroups may either function to challenge or to facilitate the process of attidudinal change.  Peer groups may pose as a challenge if the lack of awareness about environmental issues results in peers continually modeling environmentally inappropriate behavior.  The continual modeling of inappropriate behavior leads to the social norms of a group.  Therefore, coastal resource management programs can target specific peers groups (e.g., community


 

Coastal Resource Management Program

 
Figure 1.1: Factors Influencing Pro-Active Environmental Behavior

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 


organizations and labor organizations) for involment in consciousness raising activities.  Helping these specific groups better understand the causal relations of human interaction with the environment and the deep implications of their actions is expected to effect change in attitudes and ultimately behavior.

     Similarly, money is a double-edged sword in any campaign to manage environmental resources effectively.  Illegal fishing and other environmentally determental activities are products of “want” or “need.”  Money can influence action and the lack of action.  If environmentally appropriate practices are believed to have greater financial rewards, it is hypothosized that peolple will adopt those alternatives.  Therefore, coastal resource management programs need to explore how money can influence the development of an environmental ethic in communities and what types of alternative livelyhood are available for those dependent on illegal fishing or gathering of resources.

     Finally, lobbying for legislation and effectively enforcing laws can pressure individuals and companies to adopt more environmentally appropriate practices.  The lack of action on the part of law enforcement reduces any immediate negative consequences that otherwise may discourage illegal degradation to the environment.  Therefore, community-based coastal resource organizations need to lobby on behalf of the community and campaign for the protection of environmental resources while also working with law enforcement to develop effective strategies for enforcing regulations.  

     Exactly how all the factors in Fig. 1.1 affect the learning process in community-based projects is one of the questions this study begins to answer.  In addition, this study examines the community empowerment process and how it relates to building a more sustainable relationship with the marine environment.

Research Questions 

The main research questions that this study addresses are:

1)      How does a community-based coastal resource management program contribute to the dissemination process of environmental knowledge among community members?

2)      What is the dissemination process of environmental knowledge in a community-based coastal resource management program?

3)      How has the organization evolved over time in attempts to better meet its goals?

4)      What effects has the coastal resource management program had on the community?

5)      How has the community-based coastal resource management program impacted the lives of women in the community?

6)      How has the community-based coastal resource management program affected any marginalized members of the community?

7)      What other variables contribute to the acquisition of environmentally friendly        behavior?


Overview of Research Methodology

This study uses qualitative research methods to investigate how a community-based coastal resource management program contributes to the dissemination of environmental knowledge and information in an island community.  The study is particularly concerned with explaining any perceived changes in attitudes or behavior.  Data will be gathered through interviews, participant observation and document analysis.  The data will be analyzed through coding and theme definition.  Both emic and etic perspectives will contribute to the explanation of themes and concepts as they emerge.

Assumptions

(1)   It is assumed that all the subjects interviewed have answered the questions honestly and to the best of their ability.

Delimitations

(1)   Since this study focused on a specific community, its people and its environment; the data may reflect a particular social, cultural or political climate that may not be characteristic of other coastal communities.

(2)    This study was limited to the subjects who agreed to participate voluntarily.

Limitations

The data and analysis will reflect only one experience involving the cooperation of an environmental program and a local community. Other programs or communities may have very different experiences.

 

 

Definition of Terms

Much of the environmental literature refers to both coral reefs and their related ecosystems. The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) describes the related ecosystems as “including mangrove forests, seagrass beds and beaches” (ICRI, 1995).  In a broader sense, ecosystems refer to large and small areas and the interaction of all living and non-living entities in those areas.

     Sustainability is a common term in discussions about development and the environment.  Although sustainability is a common term, it is also sometimes vague.  Smith and Williams (1999) assert that “sustainability is about the relationships between human beings and the world; it is about morality” (p.1).  They further define the concept as recognizing “natural limits” and deriving “an understanding of sustenance directly from nature.”  Sustainable development should not be interpreted as a fixed notion, but should rather be seen as “a process of change in the relationships between social, economic and natural systems and processes.  These interrelationships present a challenge to us in reconciling economic and social progress with safeguarding the global life support systems” (Van Ginkel, 1998).  Although sustainable development has many definitions, the most widely used definition comes from the World Commission on Environment and Development in its 1987 report Our Common Future:  "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” It contains within it two key concepts:

·        the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and

·        the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs.

 

     Much of the community-based learning about sustainable use of resources takes place in non-formal settings.  Perhaps, the best general definition of non-formal education is from the person who is credited with coining the term.  Philip Coombs (1968) describes non-formal education as “an important complement to formal education in any nation’s education effort” and as having “a high potential for contributing quickly and substantially to individual and national development” (p. 138).  Coombs (1974) more specifically defines non-formal education as “any organized, systematic educational activity carried on outside the framework of the formal system to provide selected types of learning to particular subgroups in the population” ( p. 8).  Although this is an adequate general definition, more detailed criteria will be introduced in the section on non-formal education.

     Since this dissertation examines how environmental knowledge and information are disseminated through social interaction, it is important to differentiate informal education from non-formal education.  Coombs (1974) again provides an appropriate definition:

Informal education...is the lifelong process by which every person acquires and accumulates knowledge, skills attitudes and insights from daily experiences and exposure to the environment—at home, at work, at play from the example and attitudes of family and friends; from travel, reading newspapers and books; or by listening to the radio or viewing films or television. (p. 8)

 

     Non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) have a role in promoting “bottom-up” non-formal education that acts as a counter weight to governmental “top-down” policy.  These organizations have a vital role in the support and success of community-based environmental programs.  NGOs can be pivotal in providing technological support and funding for community-based initiatives that encourage coastal resource management.   Ferrer and Nozawa (1997, section 6; available on-line at: http://www.idrc.ca/cbnrm/documents/publications/ferrer.html) define a community-based coastal resource management program as a “participatory, integrated and multi-sectoral approach” to coastal management (also see Alcala, 1995).

     The literature discussion of NGOs focuses on their relevance to the promotion of non-formal education and community-based coastal resource management programs.  The discussion implicitly includes aid agencies that operate similarly to NGOs.  Specifically, it includes the Coastal Resource Management Project (CRMP), a bilateral effort funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented through the Republic of the Philippines government.  Although NGOs and bilateral aid programs differ in definition, CRMP functions similar to some development NGOs.  Like many NGOs, CRMP gives technological support, provides expert advice and encourages community participating to better plan for effective resource management.

     Since this is a case study of a coastal resource management program in a Philippine community, it is necessary to explain the barangay system of community government.  The word “barangay” is derived from the word for the large banca boats that originally brought Malay people to the Philippine islands from Borneo.  As the arrivals formed villages, the villages retained the name of barangay.  Before the Spaniards came to the Philippines, a chief or “datu” headed this political grouping.  However, this decentralized form of government not only contributed to village warfare, but it also weakened any organized resistance against the Spanish campaign to colonize the islands.  The Spanish maintained this localized system of government during the years of colonization.  Today, barangays remain a major governing unit in the Philippine political system with an elected barangay captain at the head of an elected barangay council.  It is the barangay council that must serve as a primary planning and implementing unit of government policies in order to help decide what is best for the local community.  In addition, barangay captains often become mediators in disputes and problems involving neighbors or even family members.  There are about 42,000 barangays in the Philippines.  Although barangays are the most local form of government in the Philippines they must work closely with the municipal governments, often referred to as local government units (LGU) on issues of development and education.  

Organization of Dissertation

The following chapter gives an eclectic review of literature on community involvement in environmental education. The first section examines learning theories and discusses social interaction as a main variable in the learning process of community-based environmental programs. The theoretical frameworks on learning theories attempts to provide insight into how learning takes place among the members of a community as well as how lessons are shared across community boundaries.  A broader discussion on organizational learning adds perspective to how a community organization disseminates environmental knowledge and information. 

     The following section addresses the more philosophical, eco-centered view of why coral reefs are valuable resources from an eco-feminist perspective.  This dissertation draws on the liberating educational and philosophical aspects of ecofeminism to argue for the need that the whole community has access to participation in environmental programs and resource management.

     The importance of involving all groups in environmental campaigns leads into the following section, which examines the empowerment process in community-based environmental education programs.  Relating the discussion on empowerment to non-formal education begins to explain the need for community involvement to protect common resources and guard against the economic marginalization of any specific groups.  The section also provides several specific examples of non-formal educational programs in the Philippines.

     The final section of Chapter Two examines the role of NGOs and development agencies in community-based environmental programs. This section defines, in detail, the relationship between NGOs and non-formal education.  It further suggests that non-invasive approaches on behalf of NGOs and development agencies may be more effective than invasive approaches.

     The third chapter of this dissertation relates the research methodology to the research questions.  It details the nature of the study and explains why the research methods were appropriate for this study.  It also contrasts the etic, or outsider perspective of the researcher as an observer, to the emic, or insider perspective of the participant. The chapter ends with a discussion on how the data were analyzed.

     Chapter Four describes the combined efforts of an aid agency and an island community to promote coastal resource management.  Social interaction is discussed as an avenue for the dissemination of environmental knowledge at a community level.  Social interaction is also examined as an aid in getting community support for resource management.  The evolution of coastal resource management in the community reveals the community’s struggle for empowerment.  The chapter ends with a brief discussion of how the coastal resource management program has impacted the environment.

     After summarizing the findings, the final chapter returns to the theories discussed in Chapter Two.  The data are viewed in the context of the theories with comments on the appropriateness of each perspective.  The chapter includes several implications for future research and practice before the concluding remarks.

“There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.”

                                                                             Machiavelli,

The Prince, 1513

Chapter 2

Review of the Literature

The term “environmental education” was first used in 1948 at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (ICNU) conference.  The term did not gain much popularity until the late 1960s when UNESCO became concerned with several environmental issues (Palmer, 1998).  In 1977 at the first Inter-governmental Conference on Environmental Education in Tbilisi, USSR, UNESCO established definitions, recommendations and goals for environmental education. The Tbilisi recommendations state that environmental education is a life-long process.  It is interdisciplinary and holistic in nature and application. This means that environmental education is an approach to education as a whole, rather than a subject.  It is concerned with creating an environmental ethic that fosters awareness about the ecological inter-dependence of economic, social and political factors in a human community and the environment.  The major goal in the Tbilisi report aims to create new patterns of behavior towards the environment.  The acquisition of knowledge through information learned in the education process can lead to changes in values and attitudes, ultimately leading to behavioral modification.

     Consideration of future generations is a key element in environmental education as C.A. Bower notes in his discussion of trans-generational communication in the educational process (1995).  Bower expresses the need to shift away from student-centered learning and toward a process “of encoding, storing, and renewing a cultural group’s ways of understanding and valuing the primary life sustaining relationships between humans and the rest of the biome” or surrounding natural environment (p. 135). This is an eco-centered approach that emphasizes tradition and culture in a way that will require the elder generations to act as “carriers of essential knowledge and values.”  Bower’s description of the environmental education process triggers images of “stewardship”, “nurturing” and “emancipatory educational liberalism.”

     In closer examination of the environmental education process, this chapter first presents learning theories that may provide a better understanding of how information and knowledge are disseminated in community-based education programs.  Learning theories from both social and organizational perspectives are discussed.  The discussion then focuses on social interaction as a key variable in the acquisition of new behavior.  The following section borrows ideas from ecofeminist thought and ties them to an inclusive approach to environmental education.  The discussion on ecofeminism stresses the importance of equal representation in community participation across generations and among specific groups.  The next section discusses how non-formal environmental education and shared learning in socially valued pursuits can lead to community empowerment.  Finally, the role of NGOs and development agencies in education for empowerment is examined.

Learning Theories

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I may remember.  Involve me and I learn.”  In one sense, involve can mean to engage in social interaction with other members of a community. In another sense, involve can mean to learn through experiencing. These definitions of involve connect when discussing participation in social movements, community action or community-based education.  Involving members of a community in campaigns toward common goals creates an environment where social interaction and new experiences combine to prompt reflection about common values and build on shared knowledge. Shared learning that takes place in socially valued pursuits may add to the evolution of old values and the acquisition of new values.  Therefore, it is important to understand the intricate relationships that can develop within, between and among community organizations and how those relationships can influence learning.

     La Belle (1986) reasons that because nonformal education has a close relationship with social change, to be effective the educational program must foster change in the individual. “It is individuals who, acting alone are instruments for changing their own behavior and, acting in groups, can sometimes reshape the rules and institutions that support the social structure” (p. 59).  The ideas of individual or institutional change are embodied in Maples’ and Webster’s definition of learning (as cited in Merriam and Caffarella, 1999).   They define learning “as a process by which behavior changes as a result of experiences.” 

     To better understand how learning takes place in community programs, it is necessary to describe both the intra-organizational and the inter-organizational relationships of a community-based educational program.  The intra-organizational relationships refer to the person-to-person communication that involves social interaction among the individuals in a particular organization.  By nature, community-based educational programs promote social interaction among participants. An examination of social learning theories attempts to describe how interaction can affect learning in community-based educational programs. Since learning takes place on multiple levels, learning on an inter-organizational level might be best described by a review of organizational theories.

Social Learning Theory

Social learning theory combines aspects of reinforcement theories with cognitive theories (Rotter, 1982a).  However, in social learning theory the stimulus-response is not a physiological drive; instead, reinforcement comes from social interaction with others (Millard and Dollard, 1976; Bandura, 1976; Rotter, 1982a). Two major components of social learning theory are the acquisition of new behaviors and a change in learning to modify already acquired behaviors (Rotter, 1982a).  In social learning theory, the acquisition of new behaviors can take place either directly or indirectly (Andreasen, 1995).  Although social learning theory has been used to describe such cognitive processes as language and memory, it can also be used to describe the learning process of adults in community settings.  Since community-based education involves people in social dialogue, it follows that social interaction should be a vehicle that disseminates knowledge and information to initiate behavioral changes.

     One interesting example of how social interaction can play a role in the dissemination of information about environmental concerns comes from a case in Thailand.  Sudara (1999) writes about how Buddhist monks were able to use their important roles in society to become vehicles in consciousness-raising efforts about environmental concerns. Several environmental NGOs recognized the connection between Buddhism and respect for the natural environment. Accordingly, they helped to organize seminars on environmental awareness for monks.  The monks, in turn, incorporated newly gained knowledge into their teachings to people in their local areas.  In addition to raising consciousness about protecting natural resources, the monks’ efforts prompted the King of Thailand to declare over one million trees sacred, thus saving them from the saw.

     This spread of environmental information via respected community members exemplifies how NGOs can utilize existing community networks as vehicles to promote learning about socially valued issues.  The motivation in this case could be that the locals expected positive feedback from the monks as respected members of the community, or the desire to conform to Buddhist values, or positive feedback in the form of acceptance from other members of the community.  Cross (1981) maintains that societal motivation can be an important factor for encouraging adult learners to be more cognizant of issues relating to energy or ecology.  Rotter (1982b) claims that although the need for social approval varies among individuals, the strength of the need is enough to motivate most people to conform to group values. He cites the actions of millions of people during wartime as an example of how individuals change their individual behavior to gain social approval.   In the Thai example, societal motivation and social approval may be perceived or actual positive feedback from the monks or other members in the community. 

     A closer review of social learning theory can facilitate an understanding of how social interaction is key in the dissemination of information for community-based organizations.  In part, the reinforcement aspect of social learning theory can be credited to the work of B. F. Skinner.  Although he worked mostly with animals, it is appropriate to mention Skinner because in his learning programs he describes reinforcement as being relevant to perception and memory (Talyzina, 1981).  Perception and memory are cognitive actions that allow individuals to process information and make appropriate decisions based on experience and knowledge. Involving these cognitive processes would seem to be a departure from traditional behaviorism and a move through cognitive theory toward social-cognitive theory. 

     Bandura’s name is synonymous with social learning theory, a type of social cognitive theory that emphasizes social interaction as a primary source of information.  Bandura combines the reinforcement aspect of behavioral theory with the ability of the human mind to interpret and construct meaning (Simon, 1999).  Unlike Skinner, Bandura worked mostly with human subjects focusing on the impact people have on people (Hergenhahn, 1986).

     For Bandura (1997), social interaction begins with observing the behavior of others. Rushton (1980) relates observational learning to adult acquisition of altruistic behavior. He asserts that “if people see others valuing altruistic consideration for others, then this will become internalized as an appropriate standard of behavior” (p. 93).  Andreasen (1995) claims that observational learning can be more effective than direct learning, even when the observation takes place through a film or video.  Observing others enables a learner to witness a variety of valued behaviors or undesirable behaviors without having to go through a rigorous trial and error process.

     In spite of the fact that Bandura’s early work was with children, his learning theory applies to adults as well. Bandura’s theory has relevance to adult learning because it encompasses both the learner and the learner’s environment (Merriam and Caffarella, 1999).  Although Bandura (1997) recognizes the difficulty involved in acquiring cognitive skills through modeling, he contends that when covert thought processes are adequately reflected in modeled actions, observational learning takes on a cognitive element.  A higher level of social interaction than just observation needs to be involved for this process to be effective.  An example from an environmental program in Indonesia helps to illustrate how observation and higher levels of social interaction combine to influence proactive environmental attitudes and behavior.

     Research describing the campaign to promote cleaner coastlines on the island of Ambon in Indonessia reveals that obsevational learning alone is not enough to sustain long-term behaviorial change (Uneputty, Evans & Suyoso, 1998).  The local government on the island combined forces with two NGOs to organize a beach clean-up event for members of the coastal villages.  The organizers believed that modeling alone would not motivate villagers to keep coastlines clean so they organized a one-day community event with an opening ceremony, speeches about the importance of the marine environment and a group clean-up effort.  The mix of villagers participating in the event included community leaders, health department officials, students and common villagers. After clean-ups in four villages, the organizers held a seminar on marine pollution for about 100 government officials.

     The results of a monitoring study after the event showed that the clean-up activity had short-term effects (up to six months) on keeping shores clean.  During several months after the clean-up, monitors found that litter was being removed from adjacent beaches by those not directly involved in the clean-up event.  Although the researchers do not speculate on a reason for this, it seems likely that villagers from those beaches may have witnessed or heard about the clean-up and showed efforts of trying to emulate that behavior.  In spite of producing only short-term results, this project was successful in raising consciousness about environmental problems and solutions, a necessary step to effect change in the legislative decision-making process.  In the months following the clean-up event, the city of Ambon implemented a plan to reduce litter on shores and beaches.

     The impact that people have on people is dependent on the type of social interaction and the specific situation in which that social interaction takes place. Social learning theory considers how situational factors can influence behavior (Andreasen, 1995).  Lave and Wenger (1991) draw from Vygotsky in developing the theory of situated learning.  They borrow from Vygotsky’s idea that social interaction is fundamental to the development of cognition.  Social interaction is a key feature in situated learning (Kearsley, 2000).  Therefore, situated learning is a derivative of social learning.  Participating in communities of practice is learning that involves “the whole person acting in the world” (Lave and Wenger, 1991, p.48).  The situated learning approach promotes the learning of knowledge and skills “in the contexts that reflect how knowledge is obtained and applied in everyday situations” (Stein, 1998). In situated learning, “cognitive apprenticeship supports learning in a domain by enabling students to acquire, develop and use cognitive tools in authentic domain activity” (Kearsley, 2000). Learning advances through collaborative social interaction and the social construction of knowledge.  Learners engage in a “community of practice” acquiring group beliefs and behaviors.  Community-based education programs should have goals that include community activities designed to share knowledge and encourage socially valued behavior.  This sharing of knowledge on an inter-community level typifies a learning process consistent with the following principles of situated learning: 

(1) knowledge needs to be presented and learned in an authentic context, i.e. settings and applications that would normally involve that knowledge, and

(2) learning requires social interaction and collaboration. (Kearsley, 2000)

 

     Situated learning is a type of experiential learning that follows from a social process involving cognitive problem solving, social interaction and knowledge processing (Stein, 1998).  This social process makes situated learning an appropriate framework to describe how adults learn in nonformal education settings.  The experiential aspects of situated learning intensify its use as a framework for community-based education.  Kawashima (1999) affirms the benefits of experiential learning for environmental education in the formal system as not only allowing direct experience, but also nurturing the ability to analyze and solve problems.  It logically follows that these are benefits of experiential learning in nonformal education as well.

     Although no two community-based programs are exactly alike, an example may facilitate an understanding of how the learning process relates to social learning theory.  Stromquist (1994) compares two South American social experiments aimed at raising consciousness about gender issues and educational empowerment.  Both projects, though initiated by outside facilitators, involved participation and interaction on a local level.  The author attributes the success of the Brazilian case to the involvement of women in a mother’s club.  Stromquist’s description of this project fits the aforementioned principles of situated learning:

Rather than by means of instruction linked to specific issues of women’s conditions in society, the women in the Brazilian experience attained new knowledge through their involvement in an action-research project that placed them in the position of active agents from the beginning, evolving from a relatively passive stage (receiving training to administer a survey) to more active ones such as analyzing and interpreting the information and sharing the knowledge acquired from the research with the women in the mother’s club.

 

     In this example of adult nonformal education, experiential learning and social interaction were key to the learning process.  By being placed in an authentic situation where they were active agents, the women created a setting that involved the acquisition of knowledge through social interaction and collaboration.  The women acting as active agents in this example parallel the role of the monks in the previous example from Thailand.

     Social learning theory, like any theory, can only partially explain the intricate process of human learning.  It can, however, offer a framework to elucidate an understanding of the process.  One drawback in using this framework is, as Rotter (1982b) points out, social learning theory is both a process theory and a content theory; therefore, it is difficult to measure effects of an experience and infer the results in a broader sense.  Secondly, there are motivational factors and information sharing on levels outside the perimeters of a community-based organization that mere social interaction cannot explain. In spite of its conveniences, social learning theory has limitations that make it necessary to examine aspects of organizational learning theory to explain the dissemination of information and knowledge in a community-based educational program.

 

Organizational Learning

Striving toward the attainment of common goals, the members of a community should be continually learning from their individual or group ventures and sharing the knowledge they gain. In this way, learning is a continuous force that drives and shapes the organization or community. Since this study focuses on how environmental education is disseminated throughout a community, it is important to mention how organizations learn.  Bedeian and Zammuto (1991) describe four types of organizational learning:

(1)   Imitation- learning occurs though copying ideas that have worked for others.

(2)   Innovative learning; learning is a willingness to experiment.

(3)   Learning from Errors; learning occurs through trial and error.

(4)   Superstitious learning- despite varying degrees of uncertainty, decision makers act in hopes of getting a particular response.

 

     These four types of organizational learning may help to explain the learning process for community-based coastal resource management programs.  However, in order to understand the “intra-community” learning process (i.e., among community members) and the “inter-community” learning process (i.e., between and among coastal communities), two conceptual frameworks are suggested.  These complementing theories together frame the organizational level learning process for a community-based coastal resource management program.  The theory of liberating structure lends an understanding into how participants in an organization can learn or acquire a sense of shared purpose and shared goals.  The second framework applies Bandura’s idea of reciprocal causation to organizational learning.  This social learning perspective suggests that individuals can effect change within organizations; thus contributing to the evolution of the organization over time.

     Tobert (1978) describes his theory of liberating structure as being based on the authority of inquiry.  He claims it “challenges the leadership as well as the membership of an organization to inquire more and more precisely into the purpose, boundaries and ecology and into one’s own particular assumptions about the nature of reality” (p. 130).  Four meaningful qualities of a liberal structure are:

(1)   Leadership recognizes that participants may have different models of reality

(2)   Premeditated and precommunicated structural evolution over time.

(3)   The tasks are structured and the leadership functions to provide a constant cycle of experiential and empirical research.

(4)   The structure is open to inspection and challenge by organization members.

     In order to move closer to the goals of socially valued pursuits, communities need to somehow unite, decide on a common course of action and remember the lessons learned from that action.  Through unity of action a community begins its organizational learning.  The learning process should help the organization to recognize problems and devise ways to correct those problems. The process should move toward eliminating undesired behaviors while increasing opportunities for more socially valued behaviors. 

     There are definite aspects of social learning theory that apply to organizational learning. These aspects are particularly relevant when discussing the relationship between an individual participant and a community organization.  People not only impact people, but people impact organizations and organizations impact people.   Bandura (1997) stresses the significance of “reciprocal causation” between three major classes of determinants.  These determinants are behavior, internal personal factors and external environmental events. Bandura alludes to how this might apply to the group dynamics in social organizations, “Human adaptation and change are rooted in social systems.  Therefore, personal agency operates within a broad network of sociostructural influences.  In agentic transactions, people are both producers and products of social systems” (1997, p.6).

     The implication is that in addition to people impacting people, people create social systems that in turn influence the development of social values for the individual. This reciprocal learning between an individual and an organization expands Bandura’s theory to dimensions of organizational learning.  In discussing organizational theory, Agryris (1993) held a similar view that organizations learn through people acting as agents, and added, “The individuals’ learning activities, in turn, are facilitated or inhibited by an ecological system of factors that may be called an organizational learning system” (p.123).  In reference to non-governmental joint venture projects with local communities, Knowles (1995) affirms the need for reciprocal learning when working in cross-cultural situations.  Knowles reasons that if these ventures are to be successful, development workers need to learn from the people and share with the people both the organization’s knowledge and the local people’s knowledge. An example of how an organization can share the knowledge of the local people in reciprocal learning comes from the relationship of NGOs to indigenous people’s struggles in South America.  Hudson (as cited in Brisk, 2000, p. 228) explains that environmentalists working with indigenous tribes value the “moral legitimacy and local knowledge” they provide.  Brisk (2000) stresses the value of learning from indigenous people’s cultural funds of knowledge to supplement the NGOs’ environmental critique. McAllister and Ansula (1993) reiterate the importance of reciprocal sharing of knowledge in reference to coastal resource management in the Philippines.  They maintain that women’s roles in the fishing industry provide much expertise about coral reef eco-systems.  The women cleaning fish and gathering mollusks have first hand knowledge and generations of experience that can aid in the management of coral reefs.   

     Other perspectives of organizational learning include how an organization learns as a single entity and how organizations with common socially valued pursuits share and interpret knowledge. In seeking solutions to social challenges, an organization must make decisions based on relevant new information and past experiences. Huber (as cited in Malhorta, 1996; Stromquist, 1999) divides organizational learning into four processes:  (1) knowledge acquisition, (2) information distribution, (3) information interpretation, and (4) organizational memory. These divisions facilitate an understanding of how learning takes place in an organization.

     A brief description of the Jerusalem AIDS Project (JAIP) may offer an illustration of Huber’s four processes.  JAIP is an international NGO that trains professionals in HIV/AIDS health care.  The NGO offers five-day training workshops to health workers in Mideastern, Asian and Latin American communities. In addition, those workers learn how to give similar workshops to other health care workers on proper HIV/AIDS prevention and care (JAIP, 2000). To be effective in their work, the organization has a network of scientists and trained experts that gather information about the virus and about effective ways to instruct people to be AIDS educators in their respective communities.  The organization’s expansion in the last five years is evidence that experience has given the organization a wealth of information on effective training practices, efficient administrative programming and practicable budgeting. 

     Huber’s second process of organizational learning involves information distribution.  In this example, information distribution partially takes place through the social interaction of program participants and JAIP workers.  Two additional ways JAIP disseminates information are through workshops and a website.  Experts and advisors should interpret information gathered from the lab, the field or from other organizations and make appropriate adjustments to the organization’s behavior. Following the distribution and interpretation of new information, the process may begin again as reciprocal effects and environments change. At the same time though, the new knowledge gained through the process is recorded in individual memories, organization reports and in databases.  JAIP typifies the organizational learning process for many NGOs working to promote community-based education.  However, since organizational learning also takes place on a global level with organizations sharing knowledge via technology, inter-organizational learning is more complex.

     Bandura (1997) finds, “The relationship between individual and organizational effectiveness assumes special significance when individuals have to work interdependently to produce results” (p.472).  The same may be true when separate organizations are pursuing the same cause, goal or social value. For example, a community organization trying to build a health education program might ask for funding or planning assistance from a private sector organization that promotes public health.  Local or national governments may also assist-or possibly resist- the community’s efforts.  Finally, the community organization may share ideas and lessons learned with adjacent communities and even, via technology, with the greater global community.

     However, organizations are as different and as similar as individuals.  As individual change takes place naturally in growth and deliberately through behavior modification; social structures change naturally in a laissez faire manner and deliberately through planning (Kunkel, 1975). Inevitable individual- and organizational-change necessitate continual evaluation of new information and knowledge.  When this change takes place on very different levels, any one theory has limitations.  Thus, one difficulty in trying to explain the learning process that takes place in community-based education programs is the number of variables that might or might not influence behavioral change.  Among these variables are financial motivation, government interference, government assistance, media impact and available technology.  Therefore, the necessity of interdependent working among and between organizations increases the dimensions of organizational learning.

     The implication that this has for Huber’s four processes is that various individual organizations may acquire different or even conflicting knowledge.  The information may not be distributed evenly among organizations that are working interdependently.  Using the example of a community health program, the local or national government may have different perspectives of how certain issues should be addressed based on scientific, economic or cultural information.  Stromquist (1999) affirms that organizational structure, process and culture can create discrepancies in knowledge acquisition and information distribution within an organization.  In addition, organizational environments are “dynamic and changing” (Viswanath, 1991, p. 8). Therefore, it is important for organizations to continually evaluate their effectiveness. The “learning process approach” allows for organizations to continually adapt the implementation process and demonstrate an openness to learn from errors while adjusting to any new internal or external variables (Viswanath, 1991).

     Bandura (1995) claims that organizations, like individuals, learn from observation. Organizations model behavior in their successes and defeats. Bandura relates this type of organizational modeling to social movements. In a discussion about how bureaucratic structures hamper social action he writes, “Collective efforts at social change are sustained in large part by the modeled successes of other reformers and by evidence of progress toward desired goals. Long delays between action and noticeable results discourage many advocates along the way” (p.37).

     In addition to observing trial and error behavior of other organizations, inter-organizational learning can take place through interaction and exchange of knowledge.  Holdgate (1996) maintains that the increasing numbers of NGOs leads to new dialogues with governments and industry.  These new dialogues “advance the process of social learning” (p. 292).  One example of how this type of inter-organizational interaction resulted in heightened levels of environmental awareness and progressive measures comes from an evaluation study on several integrated coastal management (ICM) programs in Africa.

     One of the newest examples of the implementation of an ICM program is in East Africa.  In 1997, the Secretariat for East African Coastal Area Management (SEACAM) was formally established to work with stakeholders in 10 coastal countries; Comoros, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Reunion, Seychelles, South Africa, and Tanzania (Voabil, Engdahl & Banze, 1998).  The objectives of the SEACAM project are to assist the Eastern African coastal countries in implementing and coordinating coastal management activities in the region.  Following one year of implimentation, Voabil, Engdahl and Banze conducted an evaluation of the project (1998).

     The authors found SEACAM was able to implement the most intensive effort in coastal management training ever held in Eastern Afric.  Furthermore, almost 80 stakeholders benefited from SEACAM’s courses in Project Development and Management, and Environmental Assessment of Coastal Tourism.  A major priority in the first year of the program was the capacity building of local NGOs.  This effort included a series of five weeklong training courses throughout the region.  The courses were based on SEACAM’s training manual.  This program was able to reach over 60 NGOs in six of the countries.  The authors reported evidence that these programs help build confidence for designing projects among NGO representatives.  Self-designed projects alleviate the need for outside consultants. Therefore, this capacity building exemplifies increased inter-organizational interaction and exchange of knowledge.

     SEACAM has elicited the advice of other coastal management programs so that the projects in Eastern Africa can learn from the successes and failures of existing activities.  SEACAM brought together 66 coastal management practitioners from 18 countries around the world.  These practitioners represented research organizations, national and international NGOs, donor agencies and national governments.  Representatives from the World Bank were present at four of the courses.  Participation is an important component for newly established programs.  Shared experiential learning from other organizations can save time and money, thus increasing effectiveness (Voabil, Engdahl & Banze, 1998). 

     These examples describe a merger of learning theories by comparing the social learning that takes place in bottom-up grass roots educational campaigns to more organizational learning that occurs in top-down institutional sharing of knowledge. Although learning on an individual-to-individual level may take place within NGOs, a variation of social learning theory is needed to explain how an organization as a single entity learns and how organizations learn from each other.  One possible problem with trying to explain organizational learning in the context of a single theoretical framework is that there may be several organizations learning on different levels and with very different motivations.  Therefore several theories and the examples are used to describe how experiential learning settings that encourage social interaction and collaborative problem solving can facilitate the dissemination of information and knowledge at a community level.

Ecofeminist Theory

Although learning theories describe the acquisition of new knowledge and information, an ecological perspective is needed to frame the issues that environmental programs address.   Since environmental issues are often connected to social and political concerns, an appropriate framework needs to encompass a perspective that includes these aspects.  Deep ecology, institutional environmentalism, green political theory and possibly other schools of thought make connections between environmental, political and social concerns.  However, eco-feminism emerges as a more appropriate theory for framing the issues and answers of coastal resource management because an ecofeminist perspective more fully describes the connections between the degradation to coastal environments and the social inequalities that plague the people living on these small islands.  Additionally, ecofeminist theory complements the aforementioned learning theories in an explanation of how knowledge and information about coastal resource management issues become emancipatory education that empowers communities to better plan for their futures.  Finally, it is important to include ecofeminist theory in a discussion of environmental education because “in a patriarchal society, failure to recognize the interests, experience and needs of women must mean that the value and experience of men will determine the direction of green politics by default” (Mellor, 1997, p.128).

     Ecofeminism is a liberationist philosophy that combines emancipatory elements of feminism with the environmental concerns of ecology.  It has become a movement “that sees the connection between the exploitation and degradation of the natural world and the subordination and oppression of women” (Mellor, 1997, p.1).  Ecofeminists view women as victims of the same patriarchal tyranny that dominates nature (Castells, 1997).  Karen Warren (1996) identifies eight connections between feminism and the environment.   Although it is not necessary to discuss all eight connections, understanding several of Warren’s connections is essential in relating non-formal education at a local level to the fostering of environmentally proactive behavior.

Historical Connections between Feminism and Ecology

The first essential connection draws causal links from a historical perspective.  The argument is that at some point in human history a change occurred that lead to the concurrent male domination of females and nature.  Some scholars argue the change happened with the onset of the scientific revolution (Merchant, 1980) while others might argue it occurred much earlier. Warren aptly quotes Salleh (1988, p. 138, n.1) to epitomize the relevance of this connection: “Ecofeminism is a recent development in feminist thought which argues that the current global environmental crisis is a predictable outcome of patriarchal culture.” 

     If this is true, then it logically follows that dismantling domineering patriarchal behaviors will allow development to take new directions that consider the health and welfare of the environment in the future.  The magnitude of this challenge becomes apparent if domineering patriarchal behaviors are tied to capitalism.  In discussing feminism and ecology from a socialist perspective, Mellor (1997) uses the term “capitalist patriarchy” to explain productive and reproductive labor.  Gonzalez (1997) implies the current global environmental problem may be the result of the free market notions of capitalism.  Gonzalez suggest that capitalism may be an obstacle to global sustainable development.  Therefore, the dismantling of domineering patriarchal behaviors may include rethinking liberal approaches to development based on free market capitalism.  

Empirical and Experiential Connections Between Feminism and Ecology

The next essential connection that Warren includes in her list is the empirical and experiential tie between women and nature.  She claims documentation of this tie describes “the very real, felt, lived connections between the dominations of women and nature.”  Documentation of such connections should “motivate the need for feminist critical analysis of environmental concerns” (p. xiii).  In her discussion of this connection, Warren provides ample evidence of how environmental issues directly affect women; however, these examples do not include the relationship of coral reef degradation and women’s issues.  Therefore, it is important to give specific examples of how marine eco-system declines lead to further marginalization of women.

     According to McAllister and Ansula (1993), in addition to the over 600,000 people who work for municipal or small scale fisheries in the Philippines, another 600,000 people, mostly women, gather mollusks, seaweed and other reef resources.  Pomeroy (1987) investigated the roles of women and children in a small, typical Philippine fishing community.  He found that in Matalom, Leyte, Philippines, women and children participated in both non-income generating activities and income generating activities.  The majority of fishermen’s wives’ income-generating activities were related to the fishing industry.  These activities included marketing and processing of fish.

     It is important to realize the role of women and children in the fishing industry when analyzing causal relationships between environmental degradation and women’s issues. In this type of small-scale fishing industry, a strong causal relationship begins with human impact on coral reefs.  Degradation of coral reefs results in smaller bio-diversity in the marine environment consequently narrowing the food chain.  As certain prey become scarce; so do predators.  An unhealthy coral reef is not able to attract and sustain plentiful populations of fish and other sea-life.  This translates into fewer fish to catch, fewer to process and fewer to market.  Although lowered incomes and unemployment affect both men and women, it would seem that such sociological problems harm women more.  As jobs become scarce, women and children are the first to be pushed out of the market.  Some may leave rural communities for jobs in already overcrowded cities. The lack of skills, inadequate education or limitations of only speaking a provincial language is likely to make it difficult for some to find jobs in the cities; thus, forcing young women and even children into prostitution.  Less money often means less food in developing countries. Women and children are the most likely to suffer from lack of nutrition.  Lack of nutrition is often linked to high infant mortality, disease and problems during pregnancy.  Since these are issues linked to any women’s movement, the connection between coral reef degradation and feminist concerns is lucid.

     Warren’s empirical and experiential connection between the domination of women and nature deem women’s participation necessary for the success of community-based coastal resource management programs.  The UN Chronicle supports this position in declaring the “ women are among those who suffer most from environmental degradation and also among the most significant actors in the conservation and safeguarding of natural resources” (p. 47).  Because the conditions under which women must live are so contingent on healthy marine eco-systems, it is important that women play a decisive role in community environmental education. This type of participation is a step closer to empowerment.

Political Connections Between Feminism and Ecology

The last essential connection that Warren discusses is the political connection between the environmentalist movement and the women’s movement. Warren reasons “ecofeminist and other feminist concerns for women and the environment have always grown out of pressing political and practical concerns” (Warren, 1996, p. xvii).  Warren’s idea that both movements have related political concerns and issues justifies further the decisive role that women should have in coastal resource management programs.  Political activism and political decisions about the environment should be based on accurate and adequate knowledge about the environment.  Many women bring valuable knowledge to share in the non-formal education arena.  The benefits of women’s participation in the non-formal education process may best be realized in qualifying the knowledge they can share with the community.  McAllister and Ansula (1993) maintain that women’s roles in the fishing industry provide them with much expertise about coral reef ecosystems:

Women thus have the knowledge of the distribution and seasonal occurrence of [reef] resources.  When cleaning fishes they observe when the eggs are large and know the spawning season of individual species.  They know which ones are disappearing through over harvesting or through human impacts such as pollution and siltation.  The knowledge and observations of women are therefore necessary for management of coral reefs and the election of women would benefit coral reef management councils.  Women’s activities inland, for example in farming, may also affect marine resources and the supply of marine foods.  Inland and coastal women can play key roles in restoration of the environment, for example through planting of trees and seagrasses.  Women play key roles in developing attitudes about and awareness of the importance of nature.  (pp. 80-81)  

 

     Pomeroy (1987) reasons that since the active roles of women and children are a fundamental element for the success of agriculture and rural development programs, they should also be a fundamental element in the success or development programs in fishing communities.   The inference here can easily be extrapolated to include the necessity for women’s and children’s active participation in community-based coastal resource management programs.  This inclusion is the next step toward empowerment.  However, for the eco-feminist, empowerment should not exclusively refer to the empowerment of women.  On the contrary, it should refer to the empowerment of the community to effectively manage common resources and accept the responsibility of stewardship for the non-human world.

     The historical, political and experiential connections realized in ecofeminist thought justify its use as a lens for framing coastal resource challenges.  The historical aspect of ecofeminism postulates that a history of class domination has reproduced values and behaviors responsible for human degradation of environmental resources.  The empirical and experiential connections emphasize the advantages of using a feminist perspective to analyze environmental issues and plan proactive approaches to coastal resource management.  The political connections recognize that the power of collective effort is essential to minimize differences of class representation in the decision-making process.  This “flattening out” of the hierarchy fuels the empowerment process.  

Empowerment through Environmental Education  

A fundamental element of environmental education is its goal of freeing the environment from human domination. This becomes the paradigmal shift from domination to stewardship. Learning to nurture rather than control should also help to alleviate the impacts that destruction to the environment have on marginalized groups.  In this way, environmental education is emancipatory for nature, and for the victims of environmental degradation.  Emancipatory education is a feasible strategy to disseminate knowledge that promotes attitudinal change.  Stromquist (1992) defines emancipatory knowledge as “knowledge that questions the status quo and seeks its transformation” (p.5). This knowledge is essential when attempting to transform current detrimental trends of development into more appropriate sustainable development. Thus, emancipatory environmental education is a road to empowerment for communities wanting to protect themselves from threats of environmental degradation.  Stromquist (1993) defines empowerment as “a process to change the distribution of power, both in interpersonal relations and in institutions throughout society” (p.13).  Her “Theorized Chain of Events in the Empowering Process” (Fig. 2.1) can be adapted to explain the theoretical empowerment process of community-based environmental education. The modifications in Figure 2.2 illustrate a conceptual model of how community-based coastal resource management programs can inaugurate community empowerment and address environmental issues. The process begins with grass roots participation in an environmental education program that has a “collective agenda.”  An example of a collective agenda is the management of coral reefs to ensure the continued good health of marine eco-systems and to maintain a sustainable relationship with the environment.

Figure 2.1 Stromquist’s (1993) Theorized Chain of Events in the Empowering Process

 

 

 

 

 



Figure 2.2 Empowerment Process of Community-Based Environmental Education

Community-based non-formal education can facilitate an understanding of: 1) the need for resource management; 2) inappropriate behaviors that are harmful to the environment; and, 3) the power of collective effort through organization and mobilization.  Understanding of these concepts can help people expand their focus of environmentalism to include a wider political agenda.

 

Participation in grassroots, non-formal education programs that have a common goal to maintain a sustainable relationship with the environment. Sustainability is essential for long-term economic survival and for continuing community improvement.

 
Source:  This model is adapted from Stromquist’s (1993, p. 17) Theorized Chain of Events in the Empowering Process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



     Environmental education programs can facilitate an understanding of inappropriate behaviors that are harmful to the environment. Community-based non-formal education can also help people to accurately perceive the power of community effort through organization and mobilization.  This understanding can help people expand their focus of environmentalism to include a wider political agenda.  Knowledge and understanding give rise to attitudinal and behavioral changes. A sense of community that includes the natural world helps people reshape their values about the environment.  People renegotiate environmentally harmful behaviors and practices.  As this consciousness raising process continues and intensifies, people begin to realize the relationships between economics, politics, religion and environmental issues leading to expanded political agenda.

Eco-Centered, Non-Formal Education for Empowerment

Although ecofeminism can provide a theoretical framework to analyze humans’ relationship with the environment, human communities need a structural organization to disseminate knowledge as the first step towards emancipatory action.  Non-formal educational projects can provide the needed structure to raise consciousness about environmental issues and promote behavioral change.  In his critique of ecofeminism, Robert Sessions claims ecofeminism’s real challenge “is to articulate notions of community that include, in a comprehensible way, nonhuman nature” (1996, p.150).  This section will offer explanations and examples of how non-formal education can meet this challenge.

      Smith (1999) defines non-formal education as “learning settings and opportunities that are not tied into the acquisition of diplomas, or licenses.”  Smith’s discussion primarily refers to adult non-formal education; however, children can also benefit from programs outside the realm of formal education (Blunt, 1994).  For the focus of this study, non-formal education will more specifically refer to environmentally based and eco-centered programs that use proactive approaches to changing attitudes about the environment at local levels.

Criteria of Non-Formal Education

Some proponents of non-formal education provide specific goals and criteria that are helpful in understanding how programs can become deep-seated agents of change within communities.  Van Riezen’s (1996) explanation of the importance of integration in non-formal education is a guide for proposing a list of several desired criteria for eco-centered non-formal education programs.  First, such programs should maintain a flexible design so they can function as a “tool to reach development goals” by addressing the needs of the community and adjusting to ongoing interventions.  These development goals should consider present conditions, possibilities for change and the long-term perspective. This requires some sort of needs assessment to determine the community goals and needs.  One important point of consideration in the needs assessment process is deciding who can best evaluate the needs.  This may be the first difficult challenge in designing any non-formal education program.

     A second criterion for environmentally based non-formal education is the people in the community should be able to freely participate in the program organization and educational process. Participation has three basic features: decision making, implementation, and rewards. The people in the community must not only be part of the decision-making and implementation processes, they must also benefit from the educational program (Midgley as cited in Van Riezen, 1996).  Participation in the needs assessment stage will better prepare community members to more effectively make decisions and implement programs that benefit the community.

     Third, non-formal education should be a life-long process.  The concept of life-long learning should be a quintessential feature in eco-centered environmental educational programs that not only allow each member of the community to participate regardless of age, but also encourage trans-generational communication about environmental issues.  As previously mentioned, Bowers (1995) indicates the value elders’ knowledge and experience has for the educational process.   Elders can pass on essential knowledge so that tradition and culture do not compete with environmental education, but rather help to enforce appropriate values toward the environment. However, it is logical to expect younger community members will bring their own knowledge and perspectives into the trans-generational arena.  In this way, youth can be a bridge between formal and non-formal education programs. 

     These three general criteria are important features of community-based environmental education.  The involvement of community is a powerful variable in taking proactive steps to maintain sustainable relationships with the environment.  Matching the criteria with the goal of maintaining a sustainable relationship with the environment extends the concept of community to include the non-human world.  Through emancipatory environmental education, the community takes on a stewardship role to nurture the whole environment-including the human society- for a future based on sustainability.

Principles of Environmental Education

These three general criteria for non-formal education need to be aligned with the principles of environmental education.  Smith and Williams (1999) provide a concise, but complete list of their “Principles of Ecological Education” (p.6).  In context, their use of the word “ecological” is synonymous with this paper’s use of the word “environmental.”  Their seven principles are:

·        Development of personal affinity with the earth through practical experiences out-of-doors and through the practice of an ethic of care

·        Grounding learning in a sense of place through the study of knowledge possessed by local elders and the investigation of surrounding natural and human communities

·        Induction of students into an experience of community that counters the press toward individualism that is dominant in contemporary social and economic experiences

·        Acquisition of practical skills needed to regenerate human and natural environments

·        Introduction to occupational alternatives that contribute to the preservation of local cultures and the natural environment

·        Preparation for work as activists able to negotiate local, regional, and national government structures in an effort to adapt policies that support social justice and ecological sustainability

·        Critique of cultural assumptions upon which modern industrial civilization has been built, exploring in particular how they have contributed to the exploitation of the natural world and human populations

 

     The similarities among the concepts of ecofeminism, the criteria for non-formal education and the principles of ecological/environmental education are obvious.  These similarities are the foundation for a type of participatory community education that raises consciousness about environmental issues effecting attitudinal and behavioral change while encouraging emancipatory action. 

A New Environmental Paradigm

Environmental education is emancipatory if it leads to the creation of new values, especially new environmental values that become the cornerstones of a community-wide environmental ethic.  The passing on of environmental values from one generation to another begins the process of structuring a new social paradigm.  Within the theoretical framework of eco-feminism, environmentally based non-formal education can change the way people think about their relationship with nature.  Lester Milbrath (1989) aptly argues for the need to promote new social paradigms that focus on sustainability and reconsider the way society dominates the environment.  Some of Milbrath’s ideas are radical in that they require a massive restructuring of political institutions and society.  For a discussion on non-formal education and coastal resource management, it is not necessary to debate the feasibility or plausibility of radical change.  Still, some of Milbrath’s other points are relevant and can be addressed by environmentally based non-formal education programs.  These points include a shift toward placing a higher valuation on nature, carefully planning action to avoid risks and limiting growth.

     Through education and consciousness raising, non-formal education can help citizens realize the dependence humans have on the environment.  This could create a more holistic perspective that tightens the relationship between humans and nature.  The ultimate goal here, however, is to encourage behavior that favors environmental protection over economic growth.  Economic growth is not necessarily harmful; this simply means that environmental protection should be a priority.   To maintain a balance, careful planning is needed.  Planning should consider all short-term and long-term risks.  Education is an important element in the planning process because knowledge allows communities to make informed decisions about their lives.  A crucial element of informed planning is the ability to realize the limits of growth.  Thus, one major goal of community-based coastal resource management programs is to determine what types of growth could lead to the degradation of coral reefs.

Environmental Non-Formal Education in the Philippines

Historical and cultural variables may facilitate the workability and success of environmental non-formal education in the Republic of the Philippines.  A history of political struggle has laid the groundwork for grass-roots movements in the Philippines.  The 1986 revolution and subsequent ousting of Marcos are evidence of the power and possibilities that solidarity provides in the Philippines.  This is important in the development of environmental non-formal education programs because “few environmental movements in less affluent countries have their primary origins in ecological concerns or focus exclusively on environmental issues  (Taylor et al., 1993, p. 69).  Since grass-roots movements have an anchored base in the Philippines, the move to local, proactive environmental programs is facilitated.

     Women also play an important role in environmental movements. Through their participation and involvement they are able to address many environmental issues that parallel concerns about their position in society.  It is women who may be affected most severely by environmental degradation’s affects on the job market, economy and demographic trends. Despite any traditional or historical subjection of women in the Philippines and other countries, many of the environmental movements are “essentially women’s movements” (Taylor, et al., 1993, p. 71).

Examples of Environmental Non-Formal Education in the Philippines

Throughout the world there are a plethora of grassroots non-formal environmental education programs.  Some have been successful while others have little impact on improving conditions.  Taylor et al (1993) describe environmental movements in several countries that have had varying degrees of success. In the Philippines, much of the environmental non-formal education is limited to national parks and museums.  Bagarinao (1998) provides a detailed account of the national parks and protected areas in the Philippines.  Bagarinao asserts that “one way to popularize biodiversity and environment issues is by popularizing national parks and biodiversity exhibits such as museums, herbariums, zoos and botanical gardens” (p.230).  The author specifically mentions particular marine reserves and protected coastal areas.  Tubbataha Reef has become one of the more famous reserves since it was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Despite claims of it being a successful model, serious problems of management and enforcement still threaten the area (also discussed in Manamtam, 1995).  Bagarinao also names Puerto Galera as an example of a more successful reserve.  Puerto Galera has coral reefs and beaches that are in good condition partly because the area has been declared a “Man and the Biosphere Reserve.” Although designating some areas as protected areas has merit in terms of environmental education, other types of management are necessary to ensure against large-scale degradation of resources and eco-systems.

     Perhaps, the most impressive example of coastal resource management in the Philippines is Apo Reef (Bagarinao, 1998; Hinrichsen, 1997).  By the mid-1980s, the reef was almost totally destroyed by villagers’ inappropriate fishing practices.  The use of dynamite, cyanide and destructive nets to eke out a living from the failing reef nearly destroyed the island community’s livelihood. Apo reef has made a dramatic comeback in the last decade and a half due to proactive reef management by the local community and experts from Silliman University in Dumaguete.  The villagers have learned sustainable practices that are essential to maintaining healthy reefs. Hinrichsen comments on the hope that the Apo reef case provides for community-based coastal resource management programs:

Apo demonstrates that it is not too late to protect these wonderfully diverse underwater ecosystems and to preserve their productivity for the people who depend on them.  The model that Apo sets offers encouragement to the coral-reef nations that recently launched a new international protection plan, culminating in the designation of 1997 as the International Year of the Coral Reef. (p.14)     

 

Non-Governmental Organizations and Non-Formal Education

The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) offer a “bottom-up” inductive approach to bettering communities and addressing human concerns.  Fernandes discusses how NGOs in Latin America have promoted people’s participation in slum management and encouraged political involvement. In a specific report on NGOs in the field of education, Archer (1994) reviews how some NGOs have historically focused on providing educational services to communities throughout the world.  Although it is certain that many of these organizations serve causes not directly related to environmental issues, some of the other important literature on NGOs makes direct references to their involvement in environmental programs. In an overview of environmental politics in Asia, Schubert (1993) affirms that in most Asian nations, NGOs are “the primary impetus for environmental protection and nature conservation” (p.241).  According to Schubert, many of the thousands of environmental NGOs in Asia are “grass-roots movements of people concerned about specific conditions in local eco-systems.”

     Whether NGOs focus on environmental issues or seek to provide other services, they provide additional monetary backing for local community efforts.  Fernandes’ (1985) assertion that there are thousands of NGOs administering hundreds of millions of dollars in Latin America (p.7) gives an example of how NGOs can provide needed resources for grass roots efforts.  Schubert (1993) reasons that despite good intentions, many governments lack sufficient funding, training and enforcement to implement effective environmental protection policies and programs.  Therefore, there is a need for NGOs to augment environmental efforts of national governments. Schubert clearly states, “The insufficiency of resources available to most policy makers in Asian nations calls for, even necessitates, the active inclusion of NGOs in policy formulation, enactment and enforcement” (p. 242). 

     Although Schubert is referring to a broad view of NGO roles in developing effective environmental policies, there are definite implications for NGO roles in more specific environmental education programs.  NGOs can provide resources to greater the probability that community-based environmental programs will be effective agents of change.  Ideally, educational programs can promote attitudinal and behavioral changes to facilitate policy formulation, instigate action and reduce the burden of enforcement.

Invasive or Noninvasive?

Fernandes (1985) provides a list of organizational problems that many NGOs have. These include, designing goals to satisfy budgets and funding rather than vice versa; poorly paid staff and inter-organizational communication problems. Proposing solutions to these problems is beyond the scope of this paper; however, it is necessary to address criticisms of NGOs that are relevant to the theoretical design of eco-centered community-based environmental education. 

     Some critics of NGO involvement in local community concerns may argue that many NGOs are actually products of governments that are set up to implement official agenda (Quizon and Reyes as cited in Toh and Floresca-Cawagas, 1997). The argument would be that governments use NGOs to disguise political agenda.  Similarly, Toh and Floresca-Cawagas (1997) argue that, “there are differences in world views and motivations among NGOs, some of which may not be authentically dedicated to the well-being of their constituents” (p. 534).  If NGOs have goals that do not address the real needs of the community it is likely that their involvement will be seen as an outsider attempt to control local social institutions.  When locals view NGOs as outsiders, resentment will grow and participation will wane.

      It is important that NGOs avoid becoming invasive in their involvement.  This is especially true for NGO support in establishing community-based educational programs in rural areas. In addition to the theoretical reasons already discussed in this paper, there are the practical reasons of workability for NGOs to maintain a non-invasive approach to implementing educational programs.  In specific reference to non-formal education, Van Riezen (1996) reasons that since specific groups have specific needs, the curriculum used in an educational program must relate to the needs and resources of the local community.  People in rural communities will not profit from curriculum and textbooks designed for people in cities or more affluent countries.  Van Riezen explains that avoiding invasive involvement includes using the vernacular as a way of showing respect for the local culture. The inclusion of local culture sends a message to communities that their participation is valued.  This gives community members a sense of worth and purpose that encourages active participation.

       McCormick (1993) gives two factors that influence the effectiveness of NGOs.  These, too, apply to NGOs in general, but also have significant relevance to community-based educational programs. The two factors are:

·        their political influence (as measured by the level of political support they enjoy, and their ability to use political structures effectively);

·        the importance of having clearly defined constituencies and clearly defined avenues through which to make their appeals and to influence government. (p.142)

 

     Although McCormick contends that NGOs need clearly defined constituencies and strategies to be effective, others may reason that this is not necessary.  The famous Chipko movement in India is an example of an effective campaign that grew to a critical mass while remaining loosely organized.  The Chipko movement is a case where locals’ values and love for their forest homeland motivated them to unite in an activist campaign against foreign logging companies.  This campaign began without clearly defined avenues through which to make their appeals or to influence the government.  Although the group of activists better fits the definition of a movement than an NGO, it exemplifies one type of local organization in developing countries.  Viswanath more clearly defines the range of local NGOs in India as being a “mixed bag, ranging from service-oriented groups to militant movements, usually of the left” (p.37).  The Chipko is an example of one community organizing to campaign for a local cause but having far reaching influence in motivating other communities to form grassroots initiatives.

            In their discussion on people-centered education in the Philippines, Toh and Floresc-Cawagas (1997) suggest four themes.  The four themes are, a pedagogy of dialogue; a praxis of critical empowerment; active nonviolence for peace and justice; and walking in solidarity.  Consideration of these four themes allows community educators and NGOs to negotiate how to maximize the positive impacts of McCormick’s two factors.  The first theme can begin to clearly define participants, methods and approaches to achieving the goals of a community-based education program.  As previously discussed, empowerment, the second theme, can lead to political clout beyond the local level. Thus, the first two themes address McCormick’s second conditional factor for effectiveness.  The second, third, and fourth themes are all significant in optimizing the political influence that an NGO backed grassroots environmental program might have.

It is essential to carefully weave all four of the themes in the planning and implementing of community-based coastal resource management programs.  Inclusion of these themes will help to strengthen ties between any supporting NGO and the coastal community.  Inclusion of these themes will help to ensure a greater effectiveness in achieving the goals of a community-based environmental program.

Summary of Literature Review

This chapter has attempted to show how social learning theories may explain the dissemination of environmental knowledge and information through a community-based education program. Learning theories can explain how environmental knowledge spreads among community members leading to changes in attitude and acquisition of new behaviors for those members. Learning theories can also explain how information moves across community boundaries and becomes shared knowledge among communities.  Eco-feminism can be a philosophical lens to view community based environmental education as a vehicle for developing more ecologically appropriate attitudes and behaviors.  Eco-feminism is a lens to correct the myopic view of development in many coastal communities.  The empowerment process is compared and contrasted to ecofeminist philosophy.  Both, eco-feminist and empowerment perspectives to development complement the principles of environmental education and non-formal approaches to the dissemination of environmental knowledge.

     This brief review of theories intends to be a starting point from which to view a community-based coastal resource management program. It does not intend to set a definitive framework from which all community-based environmental education programs operate.  Community-based educational programs are social in nature; and therefore, each is as unique as the individuals who are the organization.  Elements of these theoretical frameworks can, however, serve as a tool for reflecting upon the social interaction involved in the transfer of knowledge.  The following chapter details this dissertation’s research methodology for gathering and analyzing data on the structure and learning process of a coastal resource management program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“As an uneven mirror distorts the rays of objects according to its own figure and section, so the mind in forming its notions mixes up its own nature.”

Francis Bacon, 1620

 

Chapter 3

Qualitative Research and Environmental Programs

Historically, civilizations have developed on the water’s edge. For thousands of years humans have had a close relationship with the sea.  The vast resources of the oceans are an essential element for the survival of coastal communities. Coastal communities’ populations continue to grow as a result of urbanization and expansion of tourism.  This increases the need for effective coastal management programs.  In many tropical island communities growing demographic pressure impedes maintaining a symbiotic relationship with the marine environment; therefore, effective coastal management programs are essential to the health and welfare of the current and future generations. Human impact on the marine environment is directly related to the depletion and destruction of vital marine resources such as coral reefs and their related eco-systems.  The survival of tropical island communities may depend on the establishment of coastal resource management programs that educate people about how to maintain a more sustainable relationship with the environment.  To be effective, a coastal resource management program should attempt to “find the means of making man’s demands upon the ecosystem compatible with the reefs ecology” (Craik, Kenchington and Kelleher, 1990, p. 459).  Since humans have become a dominant feature of the eco-system it is essential to understand not only how humans impact the environment, but also how humans can modify interaction with the environment so as to create a more symbiotic relationship with the marine environment.  A closer examination of a community-based coastal resource management program illustrates the role of education in consciousness raising of human impacts and campaigns to modify interaction with the environment. This case study uses qualitative research methods in gathering and analyzing data to describe several essential elements in the educational process of a coastal resource management program.

     Valadez and Bamberger (1994) claim the purpose for using qualitative methods for collecting data is “to understand reality as it is construed by the persons being studied” (p.329).  They also state that qualitative methods “should encourage researchers to try to understand the meaning of particular activities or beliefs in the context of the culture being considered” (p.329).  This enables researchers to study particular events in the context in which they occur.  Babbie (1995) indicates that field methods of research are superior when investigating behavior and attitudes about topics best understood in natural settings.  Babbie also says that qualitative methods are especially appropriate when studying social processes over time.  The learning process and behavioral changes that take place during an environmental education intervention at a local level would best be explored in a natural setting over a long period of time.

     Qualitative research methods satisfy some of the goals of social analysis because qualitative data lends valuable insight into how a local people cope with and contribute to development interventions (Gow, 1990; Derman, 1990).  Social impact assessments are particularly valuable in environmental protection movements because they can provide feedback on what resources and constraints people’s organizations have for development efforts (Ingerscoll, 1990).  Social impact assessments add to the local body of community knowledge.  Their results can indicate targets for educational programs or contribute to evaluation studies on existing programs.

     Although ethnographic techniques are qualitative methods, in some studies the approach may differ from that of traditional anthropological ethnography in terms of the “unit of analysis.”  Instead of a society or a culture being studied, the research may focus on a community, family, group, gang or even an individual (Valadez and Bamberger, 1994).  Ethnography that focuses on schooling or other forms of education is not fundamentally different from other ethnography (Spindler and Spindler, 1987).  Ethnographic accounts are valuable for investigating the educational process in community-base environmental programs because they can facilitate an understanding of how particular social systems work by providing detailed descriptive data on a particular group or about a particular phenomenon (Wolcott, 1987).  

     The data collected in qualitative studies can be useful in developing quantitative studies. Valadez and Bamberger (1994) believe that qualitative analysis can aid in the formulation of quantitative research hypotheses and data interpretation.

Research on Environmental Programs

Proponents of environmental education would agree that the major goals of environmental education programs are to raise consciousness about environmental conditions and to teach environmentally appropriate behavior (Milbrath, 1989; Bowers, 1995, 1997; Palmer 1998).  Consciousness raising should lead to the acquisition of an environmental ethic in peoples’ attitudes, ultimately developing into a more pro-environmental paradigm in society.

     Many researchers have used quantitative methods to describe relationships between knowledge about the environment and attitudes toward the environment.  In discussing attempts to measure the effectiveness of in-classroom environmental education, Dettmann-Easler and Pease (1999) cite numerous studies that indicate exposure to environmental education in the classroom has at least minimal effect on knowledge and attitudes.  Zelezny’s findings (1999) that “educational interventions can effectively improve environmental behavior” refuted previous studies (Cone and Hayes, 1980; as cited in Zelezny, 1999) that argued educational interventions have little or no effect on changing behavior.  Reviewing several quantitative studies, Najib (1999) found results showed inconsistencies between environmental concerns and actually behavior. Other studies suggest the influence of other variables such as religious beliefs, peer group, social norms and locus of control (Negra & Manning, 1997; Harris and Blackwell, 1996).

     From her qualitative research, Emmons (1997) speculates that environmental education in a participatory, non-formal setting encourages experiential learning that results in independent pro-environment action. Her research indicates “participants within the setting begin to actively influence the process of their growth and change” (p. 42).  Qualitative research can advance the understanding of that process and reveal how consciousness raising efforts lead to the acquisition of more environmentally sound behavior. Currently, there is a paucity of descriptive qualitative research on community-based environmental programs; therefore, the design of the current study contributes a different perspective to the literature on environmental education programs.  Although this is a case study of only one community-based coastal resource management program, the data and analysis intend to facilitate a general understanding of the learning process taking place in community-based educational programs.  Negra and Manning (1997) claim that it is important for more research to be done on non-formal long-term environmental education.  Eagles and Demare (1999) echo this view in their statement, “Environmental attitudes are formed by many influences over a long period of time.  For an environmental education program to be effective in influencing attitudes it must be part of holistic environmental education over many years” (p. 35).  Therefore qualitative research methods are appropriate to gather descriptive data on an established community-based coastal resource management program.

Research Design

Research Objectives

This case study of a community-based coastal resource management program attempts to address the following research questions:

(1)   How does a community-based coastal resource management program contribute to the dissemination process of environmental knowledge among community members?

·        What are the goals of the organization?

·        What types of environmental education does the program promote?

·        What types of activities does the program have?

·        How are women involved in the education process?

·        What are the foci of lectures, seminars and events?

·        Have the media participated in any activities or campaigns?

·        What types of information and knowledge are exchanged through informal education networks?

(2) What is the dissemination process of environmental knowledge in a coastal resource management program?

·        How does the program promote social interaction to exchange environmental knowledge?

·        How does the program utilize potential informal education networks to disseminate information and knowledge about the coastal environment?

·        Do the events and activities that promote social interaction contribute to attitudinal or change?

·        How do women contribute to the dissemination of information and knowledge about the environment?

·        How has social interaction contributed to the education elements of the program being spread to the formal education system?

·        How has social interaction contributed to the ideas and the goals of the program being spread outside the community?

(3) How has the organization evolved over time to develop a sense of community competence in being able to address local environmental issues while building stronger avenues of interaction between social institutions and community members?

·        How does the organization decide common goals?

·        How does a community-based coastal resource management program contribute to the empowerment process?

·        How are community members involved in the decision-making process?

·        How have local efforts grown to expand political agenda, initiate collective arrangements, and transform citizenship?

·        How does the organization attempt to meet the needs of women and children in the community?

·        How have women contributed to the change and evolution of the organization?

·        What is the implementation and planning process for programs, activities and events?

·        What are the participants’ (staff, clients and all community members affected by any action or lack of action) attitudes toward change?

·        What are the participants’ attitudes toward successes?

·        What difficulties does the program have in getting community support for its goals?

(4) What effects has the coastal resource management program had on the community?

·        Has there been any effect on employment?

·        Has the program created alternative forms of livelihood that promote the use of resources to replace practices that abuse coastal resources?

·        How have women and children been affected?

·        Has the inclusion or exclusion of marginalized groups resulted in a more sustainable community?

·        Has there been any population shifts since the program’s implementation?

·        How has the environment changed as a result of the program?

(5) What other factors affect the acquisition of environmentally appropriate behavior?

Methodology

The research process consisted of gathering information about a community-based coastal resource management program in several steps: 

(1)      A review of literature on community-based environmental programs and local environmental movements facilitates an understanding of conceptual frameworks and possible variables that can explain the dissemination of environmental knowledge and information.  This step addresses question five.      

(2)      Analyzing documents specifically pertaining to the selected program provided data on the program’s origin, objectives, history and process for determining the community’s goals.  This step addresses issues in questions one and three.

(3)      Volunteering to participate in various activities facilitated access to the program and initiated contacts with key informants.  Living in the community and joining in the coastal resource management efforts allow me to move from the etic, or outsider perspective, to the emic, or insider perspective. As a participant observer I not only had an excellent vantage-point to observe social interaction, but also participated to varying degrees in the activities that promote social interaction.  This method was valuable for gathering data to answer all five principal research questions.

(4)      Interviews with several of the core members of the program to help me learn more about the emic view of the community members.  The emic perspective of the local people is essential in explaining the variables that may influence attitudinal and behavioral changes toward the environment.  These interviews searched for in-depth perspectives on the more specific research questions.

(5)      Interviews with key informants in the community, such as community organizers, eco-tour guides, teachers, fishermen, politicians and law enforcement officials deepened the emic response and lent further insight into how community members view the environmental efforts of a community-based coastal resource management program.  This insight addresses all the research objectives. 

Selecting a Site

The following characteristics were considered when selecting a site to conduct this study. While some of the desired characteristics are practical considerations others arise from Tobert’s (1978) theory of liberating structure.  The Olango learning area in the Philippines was selected as the site for this study because the coastal resource management efforts in that area encompass the following key characteristics: 

1)      The primary characteristic for choosing Olango as a site was that the community has a community-based coastal resource management program and the members allowed me to be a volunteer for the program while conducting research as a participant observer. 

2)      The activities of the coastal resource management program promote social interaction of community members for the development of pro-environmental attitudes and behavior.

3)      The leadership of the community-based coastal resource management is open to input from the participants.

4)      The community also has, in its history, serious environmental problems that have significantly impacted the people and the eco-system.

5)      A preferred characteristic for choosing Olango was the organization has documentation relating to the pre-implementation environmental conditions, the implementation process, and the history of the coastal resource management program.  Such documentation was found in newspaper articles, resource assessment reports, academic papers, aid agency reports, local government records such as environmental impact reports and long-term development planning reports.

6)      The organization also revealed evidence of premeditated and pre-communicated structural evolution over time.  Therefore, it was representative of an organization with experience and evolving history. Thus, the community organization on Olango was preferred over a new organization at the nascent of learning the appropriate approaches to community-based coastal resource management.

7)      The leadership in Olango’s coastal resource management efforts functions to provide a constant cycle of experiential and empirical research.

Description of Site

Although there are many different sites with community-based coastal resource management programs throughout the Philippine Islands, this dissertation describes the efforts of the people on Olango Island and several of its surrounding islets.  Olango, one of six learning areas of the Coastal Resource Management Project (CRMP), is located in the Visayas, a group of islands in the central Philippines (see map on p. 69). This small island group is less than a two-hour trip from downtown Cebu, the center of the second largest urban area in the Philippines.  The urban area is a tri-city metropolis comprised of Cebu City, Mandaue and Lapulapu City.  The close proximity of Olango to this metropolis is why one CRMP informant describes it as, “A rural place in an urban setting.” Olango and two of the satellite island barangays fall under the jurisdiction of Lapulapu City which makes up most of Mactan Island, while the other islets fall under the jurisdiction of Cordova, the small city on the south end of Mactan Island.  This is important to note because it means that two separate municipalities have vested interest in the management of coastal resources for this small group of rocky islands.

     In better times, Mactan Island was hailed as a tourist’s haven and a diver’s paradise.  In lieu of hosting an international airport, tourism on Mactan has fallen off as is evident by the numerous run-down pension houses and resorts scattered about on the sunrise side of the island facing Olango.  However, attempts to boost the economy through tourism persist as new five-star resorts continue to fence off huge stretches of coastline for heavily guarded beach paradises complete with imported sand.  Although 250,000 tourists a year still come to Mactan, the residents of Olango “realize little benefit from the influx of foreign exchange” (Parras, Portigo &White; 1998, p. 1). 

     Today, in spite of the depleting food supply from the coastal resources, families continue to have children at a rate ensuring exponential population growth leaving these island communities a bleak chance to escape the downward spiral of poverty.  According to one community leader, girls get married as young as fourteen years old and begin having babies soon after.  Half of Olango’s inhabitants are less than 18 years old (Parras, Portigo &White; 1998).  In twenty years, nearly all of them will be raising families of their own.   

 

 

 

 

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Figure 3.1:  Map of Olango and Surrounding Islets

Source: “Coastal Environment Profile of Olango, Island, Cebu, Philippines” CRMP

(Geographical coordinates provided by the PAWB-DENR 7).

 

    

 

     “Poor and uneducated” are the adjectives one CRMP official used to describe the people of Olango.  Although eighty percent of Olango residents have some elementary school education, less than ten percent of the island residents complete high school.  This statistic is even lower for residents that live on the satellite islets, which have no high schools (Parras, Portigo & White; 1998). 

     The lack of education is not the only limitation for earning a living and supporting a family.  Since the island is composed of porous and cavernous limestone, plowing is impossible.  Thus, to eke out a living the island residents are dependent on the extraction of available coastal resources.  Seventy-five percent of the estimated 4,000 households rely on fishing, gleaning or harvesting other coastal resources for their livelihoods (Parras, Portigo & White; 1998).

     Unfortunately, the environmental problems that threaten this island cluster are complex and deep-rooted.  One CRMP worker described Olango as a “treasure of biodiversity” that “has been damaged because of lack of stewardship.” Another CRMP informant referred to Olango as “a microcasm of all the fishing problems in the Philippines.”  The fishing grounds around these small islands have fallen waste to destructive fishing methods forcing the present generation of fisherfolk to become transient fishers that must sail to far off islands such as Mindanao and Palawan to catch their fish.  

     Although there are several inhabited islets on the southern end of Olango, Gilutongan Island was the only primary site for data collection among the satellite islets.  This was mostly due to the involvement of the CRMP in the management of the marine sanctuary and closeness of the community organizers to the Gilutongan community.  The community of Gilutongan has close ties with the barangays on Olango and share common goals in protecting the coastal environment.  Gilutongan is only about 11 ha, but has approximately 1,100 residents.  It is a barrio on a rock surrounded by water.  If Olango represents “one of the worst case scenarios of coastal management challenges in the Philippines” (Parras, Portigo &White; 1998, p. 2), then Gilutongan represents the most challenging of the most challenging.  Ironically, one end of the island hosts an expensive resort hotel that does not employ any of the locals and forbids them from trying to sell shells to the hotel guests on the hotel pier.

     In addition to the depletion of the coastal resources, Olango and its satellite islets suffer from numerous other problems.  Health care, and even more so, dental care are luxuries that few can afford.  A few children showing signs of malnutrition and many young teens have severe tooth decay.  Locals openly tell stories of family members dying from dengue fever because there was no money to pay for the proper care.  Statistics on infant mortality are incomplete; however, one local community leader estimated that as many as two in ten children die before the age of two. Some of the satellite islands have no doctor and no pharmacy.  This means any type of health care is at least a boat ride away- and depending on sea conditions, a some times perilous boat ride.

     The lack of fresh water intensifies life’s struggles for these island people.  Although Olango has two freshwater lenses, most of the surrounding islets have no fresh ground water.  In spite of the fresh water lenses on Olango, many of the wells only yield brackish water that is not suitable for drinking.  Therefore, during the rainy months, residents will collect rainwater as it runs off rooftops and store it in huge vats.  When reserves of freshwater are depleted, small double out-rigger motorized boats called bancas are used to bring containers of water in from Mactan Island.  The water is then sold for a few pesos per five-gallon container. 

     This description intends to underline some of the issues that the community hopes to address in the coastal resource management process.  Chapter Four describes the program and how it tries to meet some of the specific needs of this site.

Interviews

Derman (1990) aptly states, “Informant interviewing provides the window to explore and analyze not only what a given population thinks about a given course of action but also how to draw upon its knowledge” (p. 108). Wolcott (1987) advises starting the interview process by “letting people tell their ‘story’ to an interested listener” or by asking informants to recount the routines, events and interactions of their daily lives (pp. 48-9).  Either approach should trigger ideas about topics for future elaboration.  Both styles should also help to foster more personal communication between subject and researcher.

     Babbie (1995) offers several guidelines for interviewing informants.  The interviewer should keep a pleasant demeanor and dress in a fashion similar to the respondents.  Looking too affluent may create difficulties in getting cooperation from less financially advantaged respondents. Conversely, dressing too casually may hamper communications with affluent, well-dressed respondents.  Babbie also stresses that recording responses precisely in the respondents’ words without paraphrasing will help the researcher in the coding process to develop more specific categories. Additionally, neutral probes are tools to elicit more specific information from respondents. A neutral probe can be a silent pause or a question like, “In what ways?”  Spindler and Spindler (1987) emphasize the need for an interviewer to ask neutral questions: “The management of the interview must be carried out so as to promote the unfolding of emic cultural knowledge in its most heuristic, natural form” (p. 19).   

     Lofland and Lofland (1995) assert that intensive interviewing of informants is a major aspect of participant observation.  During this study I maintained extensive interaction with a large number of people in the community, both active participants in the program and others not affiliated with the program.  Accurate records of relevant informal conversations were kept.  In addition, I conducted more structured interviews with key informants from the community. Key informants were targeted based on their knowledge of environmental problems, position in the community, experience with the program and access to vital information about the relationship of the community members to the organization. The interviews were conducted in a variety of settings.  Intensive interviewing of informants produced data that complements data collected through observation.

     Although interviews can be a crosscheck tool to establish more reliable information (Gow as cited in Derman, 1990), it is also possible that informants may differ in their versions of the same event.  According to Rubin and Rubin (1995) the researcher should understand that one person’s account of an event is not intrinsically more true that another person’s account of the same event.  Each person may be “reflecting different perspectives on what happened or observations of different parts of an event” (p. 10).  Therefore, it is important that the interviewer remain neutral and open-minded when analyzing responses.

     A tape recorder was used in several of the structured interviews.  The benefit of using audio recorders is that they aid in keeping gathered data in a form that is accurate and retrievable (Rubin & Rubin, 1995).  Before using any recording devices, the participants provided written permission by signing a consent form.  

     In the interviews I questioned informants about their attitudes toward the environment, toward environmental education and toward development.  I asked people about their opinions on the conditions of the coastal environment and the causes of those conditions.  Interviewing people from several generations also widened the view on community learning.   Interviewing project organizers gave perspective to the educational challenges that a community-based coastal management program faces in pursuit of its goals.  Exit interviews were conducted with key informants to provide insight into the dynamics of the program as well as fill in information gaps and check data.

      Although focus group interviews were originally planned to get a broader range of opinions on the workability of the coastal resource management program, language and logistical problems prevented focus groups from being an effective source of data.  Only one focus group interview was conducted, and only three teachers chose to participate in that interview.  Although this format can be useful in obtaining data on how a local community feels about a project, there are several disadvantages as were evident in this study.  Problems can arise because of difficulties in bringing a larger number of people together and trying to control them (Gow, 1990; Valadez and Bamberger, 1994).

Key Informants

Gow (1990) identifies four types of informants that researchers can interview; the individual respondent, the key informant, the confidential informant and the resident gadfly.  Gow suggests limiting questions for the individual respondent to those that concern only that person’s knowledge and behavior and avoiding questions about what they think of others’ knowledge and behavior.  Key informants, however, should be expected to answer questions about other people’s knowledge and behavior. Although better-off, better educated key informants may have a broader knowledge of community operations and systems, it is important to create a balance by consciously offsetting any bias with the inclusion of informants from marginalized groups.

     Gow (1990) defines the confidential informant as a person who can provide sensitive information.  In some cases, a government official, industry worker, teacher, or other person with access to sensitive information may be willing to divulge specific information under conditions of confidentiality.  On the other end of the spectrum is the resident gadfly who is more than willing “to criticize everyone and everything” (p.      155).  Although this type of person may give biased information, the resident gadfly may reveal topics for further investigation.

     Lofland and Lofland (1995) discuss the importance of cultivating key informants.  They suggest having multiple informants will lower the risk of relying on possible misinformation from only one informant.  In this study, some key informants were selected based on their position at CRMP, their position in the community, their willingness to be interviewed, their knowledge about the local environment and/or their knowledge about coastal resource management.  An important goal in the selection process was to establish several key informants that had varied profiles of involvement in the coastal resource management process.  Informants were identified and selected based on their knowledge and experience with the program.  Other informants included people from outside the core members of the program that have significant experience in the diving industry, law enforcement, community development, and local politics.  This ensured that the data was collected from a wider perspective.  

Participant-Observer

As a participant-observer, I volunteered to take part in various activities for a community-based coastal resource management program.  I participated in activities and interacted with the community for a period of five months in 2001.  My scuba diving experience qualified me for a variety of tasks during the Participatory Coastal Resource Assessment (PCRA) training and reef checks.  This participation aided in gaining access and trust to collect qualitative data.  In addition to facilitating access to a coastal resource management program, participant observing has other advantages.  Rubin and Rubin (1995) explain that active participation gives the researcher an opportunity to learn any vocabulary necessary for a better understanding of the data.  For this study, that vocabulary included vernacular, academic and professional terms.  Rubin and Rubin also hold that active participation may enable the researcher to learn enough to be considered an insider by the community (p.172).

      According to Valadez and Bamberger (1994) the three components of participant observation are pre-fieldwork, fieldwork and analysis.  Pre-fieldwork, as preparation for the study, includes finding a site and making the appropriate contacts with the local organization, group or community.  The fieldwork stage begins with the researcher adjusting to the community and gaining trust from the members.  It is in this stage that the researcher must develop a systematic approach to collecting data.  The analysis stage involves coding the data and fitting it into a logical framework that facilitates an understanding of certain aspects of the group.

     Mason (1996) suggests participant-observers may have varying roles that will determine to what degree they will participate and to what degree they will observe.  Throughout this study, periodic reflection on this point helped to maintain a balance between participating and observing.

     Observations provided a better understanding of how the people in the community respond to the efforts of a coastal resource management program.  Therefore, this study looked closely at whether, or not, people adopt environmentally conscious behavior as a result of the program’s activities. In addition to explaining individuals’ behavior, observations provided insight into the practices, the organizational structure and the organizational learning process of a community-based coastal resource management program.

     Despite the positive aspects of participant observation as a method to collect qualitative data there are some problems. One potential problem with observational research is that the very presence of an observer could alter the behavior of those being observed (Babbie, 1995; Valdez and Bamberger, 1994; Yin, 1994).  Yin (1994) refers to this as reflexivity and claims it is a weakness in observational data collection because the observation of an event could cause the event to proceed differently.  Other researchers refer to this weakness in observational methods as “reactivity” (Valadez and Bamberger, 1994). Reflexivity can be minimized if the researcher adheres to certain principles of participant observation. These principles are reviewed in the section on maintaining integrity in qualitative research.

Document Analysis

Mason (1996) views document analysis as “a major method of social research, and one which many qualitative researchers see as meaningful and appropriate in the context of their research strategy” (p.71).  Document analysis provided both meaningful and appropriate data during this study because legal documents, public planning documents, journalism articles and scientific reports aided in creating a chronological perspective on the events that led to organizational change of the coastal resource management program.  Knowing the history and background of the program facilitated the initial observation period.

     Valadez and Bamberger (1994) describe two valuable types of documentation as physical trace evidence and running records.  Collecting data from these sources is fairly unobtrusive; therefore, it is likely there would be less reactivity from those being studied.  Physical trace evidence is what a researcher can find in the immediate environment.  It can be any sensory input from the researcher’s surroundings that lend insight into cultural aspects of the community.  Some examples of elements to observe might be types of housing, condition of neighborhoods, objects in a classroom, pictures on the walls of a school, types of transportation people use, markets or street life.  Yin (1994) implies that physical artifacts such as tools, technical devices and art are also examples of physical trace evidence.  Photography can be an aid in recording physical trace data because visual stimuli activate reflection and jostle the memory (Dempsey and Tucker, 1994; Yin, 1995).

     Content analysis of documents can be an unobtrusive method of gathering data (Babbie, 1995).  Either formal or informal running records provide historical background information that enables the researcher to broaden the research perspective in terms of time.  For this study, organizations’ websites were used as informal running records that supply accounts of past events that may have shaped the present situation.  Political, economic, social, medical and religious institutions keep formal running records that are useful in analyzing data (Valadez and Bamberger, 1994). This study was able to obtain records such as resource assessment reports, municipal planning proposals, proposals to implement legislation that will protect the coastal environment, violations of municipal ordinances related to marine protection legislation and newspaper or magazine articles related to the coastal resource management.  Yin (1994) claims that using documentation can “corroborate and augment evidence from other sources” as well as lead to “new questions about communications and networking within an organization” (p. 81).  Content analysis can also be economical in terms of time and money (Babbie, 1995). However, researchers may have trouble retrieving records if there is biased selectivity or deliberate blocks on the part of the record holders (Yin, 1994).

Analyzing the Data

The analysis of the data stage in this research project began with an attempt to move from the emic perspective of a participant to a more etic perspective of outside researcher in order to better explain the data in terms of a conceptual framework.  Lofland and Lofland (1995) explain analysis in qualitative research to be “conceived as an emergent product of a process of gradual induction” or the “derivative ordering of the data” (p. 181).  In order to avoid a constricted perspective in the analysis stage, Miles and Huberman (1994) propose continual preliminary analysis to redirect the data collection and reveal any new categories that may have been lacking. 

     One of the first steps in analyzing qualitative data is the data reduction process. This is the process of selecting, focusing, simplifying, abstracting and transforming the raw data.  The data reduction process is a continual process and can be done concurrently with coding data.  Coding is a core activity of developing analysis (Lofland and Lofland, 1995). Codes have their roots in research questions, hypotheses, key concepts or important themes and they function as devices to retrieve and organize data (Miles and Huberman, 1984).  Coding generates new ideas about the data as the researcher reflects on emerging patterns. 

     Drawing diagrams and constructing charts also prompt the researcher to be more reflective.  Valadez and Bamberger (1994) suggest mapping out social networks to study how information is disseminated through a community.  This process is likely to aid the researcher in determining who key informants might be or how the power structures in a community operate.  Miles and Huberman (1984) comment that clustering, a process related to mapping, initiates the analysis stage.

     Miles and Huberman (1995) suggest designing a matrix as a tool for analyzing data that is easily “combined into a summative index or scale” (p.95). This is one way of organizing several components of a single variable. For example, a matrix could display the presence of conditions that support participation in a community-based environmental education program.  Some of the conditions may include time, distance, an understanding of environmental issues, previous involvement in community campaigns or social status.  Specific groups of people could be compared in a matrix for the presence of such conditions. Lofland and Lofland (1995) give an example of crossing a list of units with a list of aspects (p.114).  For data in a study of community-based education the units could represent different social settings such as church groups, activist meetings, classrooms, work environments or home environments.  The aspects could represent types of learning that take place in those social settings; such as direct learning, learning through observation, learning through social interaction or cognitive learning. Another type of matrix is a conditional matrix.  This can be an analytic aid that is useful in distinguishing and linking a “wide range of conditions and consequences related to the phenomenon under study” (Strauss and Corbin, 1990:158). 

Maintaining Research Integrity

LeCompte and Goetz (1982) reason the problems of reliability in ethnographic and observational research stem from the nature of the research itself.  The very nature of social settings and the fact that human behavior is never static makes ethnographic type research difficult to duplicate.  Duplication, however, may not be necessary to generate, develop and refine constructs and postulates that frame a particular event or action.  Yin (1994) gives three principles to aid the researcher in maintaining construct validity and reliability during the data collection process.  Researchers should use multiple sources of evidence, create a case study database and maintain a chain of evidence.

     Using multiple methods to gather data enabled me to juxtapose interpretations of the phenomena.  Mason (1996) claims that this method of triangulation helps the researcher to interpret social phenomena from a multi-dimensional perspective.  Shipman (1997) explains that triangulation “is useful as a check on the credibility of evidence but not an insurance against the unreliable and invalid” (p. 106).  This study uses observation, interviews and document analysis in an attempt to triangulate data.

      Yin’s second principle is to create a study database as a procedure for organizing and documenting case study data.  Yin argues that the “case study project should strive to develop a formal, presentable database, so that, in principle, other investigators can review the evidence directly” (p.94).  A case study database enables other researchers to review relevant evidence without being limited to only the written report.  In addition to increasing the reliability of a case study, this openness and sharing of data encourages social interaction among researchers.

     The third principle for insuring construct validity and reliability is to maintain a chain of evidence.  The goal is to facilitate the understanding of how events changed over time.  An external observer or a report reader should be able to follow the chain of evidence from the research questions to the researcher’s conclusions and vice versa.  Yin recommends sufficiently citing specific documents, interviews or observations in the report to assist the reader in interpreting and following the reports analysis.  Explicit reporting of evidence reflects the researchers concerns for construct validity and reliability. 

     Since learning in social situations is a life process, one major limitation of this study is the time period allowed for doing the research.  The intra-community learning and the inter-community learning through social interaction are an on-going process and the observation time is finite.  It is plausible that the levels of learning taking place within the community are much deeper than this study is able to detect.  It is also plausible that this study can only begin to detect the intricate ways knowledge is exchanged and acquired through social interaction or experiential learning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.”

Charles Darwin



“We must become the change we want to see.”

Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

Chapter 4

The Challenges of Coastal Resource Management in Olango

Coastal resource management is about change.  For the people and the coastal environment of Olango, it is also about survival.  Although many island residents have a vision of the change they would like to see, the process is slow and challenging.  Those campaigning for better coastal resource management are optimistic about change; however, there remains a question of how responsive to change the greater community will be over time.

     This chapter begins with a detailed description of the Coastal Resource Management Project (CRMP) and its efforts in mobilizing community organization to promote sustainable interaction with the marine environment.  Proceeding by themes the data begin to reveal the role of social interaction in the dissemination of environmental information throughout the community.  As learning takes place in the context of a socially valued pursuit, empowerment emerges as a theme during the education process.  The empowerment process includes organizational change and organizational learning as well as individual change and individual learning.  Successes and challenges of the coastal resource management efforts have resulted in additional learning among community members.  Challenges include addressing other factors that influence or hinder the acquisition of an environmental ethic in human behavior.

Local Informants

Several key informants have major voices throughout the narrative.  As community organizers, Maria and Pedro provide essential information about the community’s efforts, accomplishments and setbacks in the campaign to protect and conserve environmental resources on Olango.  Their long experience of working with the fisherfolk gives them a special perspective on the local environmental challenges.  Two local fisherfolk also voice their perspectives in the narrative.  Joseph and Saul were early activists and since have become fundemental in organizing the local coastal resource management effort.  Joseph is the vigilant guard and project director for the Gilutongan Marine Sanctuary.  Saul is a community leader working hard to develop the bird sanctuary’s eco-tourism project.  These local voices in the presentation of the data blend with the voices of Glen and Theresa, two staff members from the Coastal Resource Management Program.  Their technical expertise and organizational background added a “top-down” perspective to local environmental efforts.

The Coastal Resource Management Project

The Coastal Resource Management Project (CRMP) is being implemented by the Philippine Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) and is funded by the United States Agency for International Development.  It is a seven-year (1995-2001) project that aims to provide coastal resource management technical assistance and training to local government units and communities.  The project is in partnership with the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), local government units (LGUs; i.e., barangays and municipalities), and various NGOs.  The project was initially implemented in six learning areas in the Philippines: Olango Island, Cebu; San Vincente, Palawan; Malalag bay, Davao del Sur; Negros Oriental; Bohol; and Sarangani Province.  These learning areas are intended to be centers from which coastal resource management practices will spread outward to adjacent municipalities and provinces (CRMP, 2002).

Goals and Strategy

     CRMP envisions better resource management for coastal communities throughout the Philippines.  CRMP has a nationwide goal of establishing coastal resource management programs in a variety of communities.  The target has been to improve the management of 3000 kilometers (17% of the nation’s coasts) of shoreline by 2002.  CRMP asserts its mission is to, “catalyze coastal resource management in the Philippines to a threshold that will expand nationwide and be sustainable beyond the years of the project” (CRMP, 2002)

     CRMP’s strategy is to begin consciousness raising for environmental awareness by having community residents assess their own resources. After community members assess the resources of their coastal area, resource management program planning and implementation can begin.  In the case of Olango, even though the process has moved far past the initial assessment, locals continue to reassess the environmental resources.  Based on findings from the original resource assessment, a variety of educational and training programs have been implemented.  A later section will discuss these programs in detail.  

     After an assessment of coastal resources and environmental issues, CRMP works to involve community members in the planning and decision-making process for resource management.  CRMP attempts to empower locals through the development of leadership and self-reliance.  The project also works to build an inter-community bonding through institutional networking that promotes the sharing of ideas and experiences.  The desired outcome of this networking is to spread effective coastal resource management practices to other areas of the country and South East Asia.

     In addition to the bottom-up approach of promoting community empowerment, CRMP also aims to raise consciousness about resource management concerns among politicians and legal authorities to influence policy at the national level.  The hoped for results are top-down assistance and bottom-up building initiatives blending together in attempts to meet the needs of the community.

Divisions of CRMP

     Three divisions of CRMP work together to enhance the effectiveness and ensure the sustainability for coastal resource management in the Olango learning area.  The specific divisions are the Information, Education and Communication Division (IEC), the Enterprise Development Group, and the Coastal Law Enforcement Alliance in Region 7 (CLEAR 7).  The IEC efforts in the Olango area aim to teach ethics, literacy and advocacy that can lead to community betterment and sustainable use of environmental resources.  Theresa, a CRMP learning area coordinator, defined IEC as “a tool to transform people’s behavior toward their environment.”  According to her, the goal of IEC is to, help bring the community members together so they work as one.  “In short, to help people you have to get them to tell you where they would like to be in resources.  Then get them to discuss and think about how best to utilize those resources so there are some left after this life.”  Basically, IEC aims to change attitudes and practices through education and community development.

     Since Olango and the other islets are less than two hours from the CRMP headquarters in Cebu City, the office staff and field workers are able to maintain close relationships with the island residents.  The IEC staff meets frequently with local government units (LGUs) and community leaders to plan management strategies.  Maria, the Olango area community organizer and a member of the IEC team, visits the islands several times a week to meet with community leaders, plan workshops, schedule events and discuss current issues.  As a key informant, Maria contributed to this study by sharing her experiences and background knowledge.

     To entice illegal fishermen to give up their destructive practices, a coastal resource management program needs an occupational training program that can provide reformed fishermen with an alternative source of income.  The Enterprise Development team at CRMP seeks to meet this goal through the continuing development of two enterprises in the area.  Eco-tourism and seaweed farming are potential industries in the Olango area that can provide an alternative livelihood.  Rex, one of the project coordinators, explains that the focus has been to get the community of Sabang on Olango and the fisherfolk on Gilutongan., “organized and registered as a legitimate business entity” and then to “set up there systems for running the business.”  Rex refers to enterprise development as the icing on the cake for effective coastal resource management because with proper care of the Olango shores and tidal flats can spawn eco-friendly sources of income for the island communities.

     Keeping the eco-tour “community-based” is a more specific goal and an additional challenge for CRMP.  Keeping the money in the community and preventing outside agencies from reaping a majority of the profits is why it is important to train the locals in proper business communications.  To accomplish this goal, Rex explains that CRMP has modified the traditional model:

We have reversed the process. I think the traditional way of doing it is the tour guides organize something and then mobile certain people and then pay them. The CRMP model is the reverse of this.  We organize the community, come up with a product and give them a sufficient understanding of how to run their own businesses.  Then they name their price.  In the traditional model the communities are just paid for their labor.  They are not paid for their product.  With the community in Olango they get paid for their labor plus they get paid for their product.  So they have greater control over the money they are being paid.  Tour operators just do a mark up of it.  In the traditional model, maybe if you were paying 3000 pesos, the tour operator has full control on how to spend that 3000 pesos.

 

     In addition to eco-tourism, the CRMP Enterprise Development staff has helped to establish seaweed farming as an alternative livelihood program.  CRMP has pulled back on the promotion of this business for two reasons.  Mainly, the locals learn the techniques and methods of farming from their peers and neighbors; therefore, it is not necessary to hold seminars or lectures on seaweed farming.  The second reason CRMP has lightened its focus on seaweed farming is that profits have fallen due to poor weather conditions increasing the price of the seedlings and the initial investment for the farmers.  Middlemen also keep profits down by lowering the price at which they buy the mature plants.  Seaweed farming was not a major focus of this study.

     Finally, since the success and sustainability of a coastal resource management program require proper law enforcement, CRMP has a division that specializes in working with law enforcement agencies.  CLEAR 7 aims to increase public awareness of both laws and the consequences of not abiding by those laws.  In terms of education, CLEAR 7 also targets law enforcement officers with their seminars and workshops.  The in-service training that CLEAR 7 provides for local law enforcement agencies increases awareness about environmentally detrimental and illegal practices.  Proactive approaches to minimizing those practices are part of CLEAR 7’s solution to illegal fishing and exploitation of coastal resources.

Other Agencies

Although the Coastal Resource Management Project has had a major presence in the area since 1995, other agencies have also contributed to the building of community awareness about environmental issues.  These aid agencies assist in the coordination of barangay level initiatives.  In addition to periodic collaboration with CRMP, these organizations play important rolls in the education process on Olango and the surrounding islets.  Two of the more prominent organizations are reviewed below.

Philippine Business for Social Progress

The Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) is a private, non-profit organization of national business leaders that are dedicated to lessening the pangs of poverty by helping the nation’s poor help themselves.  This national NGO assists groups of farmers, indigenous people and island fisherfolk in founding and fortifying business ventures aimed at community development.  PBSP will take over the duties of CRMP when the seven-year bilateral project finishes in 2002. 

     In anticipation of this transition, PBSP has worked closely with CRMP.  PBSP has used their community organizer to build closer ties with CRMP and the community members.  Pedro, the PBSP community organizer runs leadership workshops and gives lectures on social development for the members of the community organizations. Although Pedro is employed by PBSP, he works directly with Maria, the CRMP community organizer, and other members of the CRMP staff.  Pedro is also a key informant for this study.

      PBSP’s ideas for alternative livelihood training go beyond those of CRMP.  Pedro explains some of PBSP’s future strategies for eliminating dependency on illegal fishing methods:

[We need to make] them aware that beyond illegal fishing we could still survive as a family.  That’s why PBSP has put into its master plan this component of workforce development.  It is a kind of intervention where PBSP is going to provide technical and vocational non-fishing skills and knowledge to the community. Then once they are skilled, PBSP will [assist them in finding] employment with PBSP member companies.

 

      Since PBSP will be taking over much of the work CRMP has done, the national NGO has drafted a new five-year plan (2001-2005) along with the City of Lapulapu.  In the most recent draft, the resident-supported goals for the Olango and Gilutongan Management Area are:

To protect and manage the coastal resources of Olango and Gilutongan Islands in order to ensure environmental integrity, sustainability, and the health of island residents so that the community can continue to benefit from the biodiversity and environmental quality by maintaining and supporting the traditional natural resource based economy and by promoting appropriate and sustainable development endeavors through eco-tourism and alternative livelihood opportunities. (Fourth draft, 2001)

 

     This goal statement for the next five years reiterates the objectives and intentions that have been guiding CRMP and the community development efforts of the past few years. 

International Marinelife Alliance

The International Marinelife Alliance is an international NGO that works closely with coastal communities all over the world. The IMA has had a special presence in the Philippines since 1986.  The IMA’s consciousness raising campaign has pushed for reform and better enforcement of Philippine laws.  Since 1987, the organization has produced numerous articles that have appeared in magazines and scientific journals that document the details of the cyanide problem.  Staff members from IMA and CRMP often collaborate on environmental initiatives for Olango.

     Like CRMP, IMA projects emphasize information, education and communication programs that foster community enterprise and environmental awareness. The NGO explicitly states its goals as fostering a tradition of environmental awareness that begins in children’s schooling, and assisting in the sharing of environmental knowledge obtained through the use of geographic information technology (IMA, 2000).

     The IMA encourages women, tropical fish pet trade operators, local officials, and all community members to participate in lectures and activities.  Targeting the broader population with educational programs helps to ensure community support in conservation and resource management efforts (IMA, 2000).  Although the IMA teaches and encourages sustainable use of marine resources, their approach to enabling reformed fisherman to become successful in their business is slightly different from CRMP.  The IMA works to train fishermen in legal, non-destructive methods of fishing, whereas CRMP develops alternative livelihood opportunities for island residents.

      The International Marinelife Alliance (IMA) has had a role in the establishment of a coral farm on the north side of Olango.  It has evolved into a community project and there are intentions of making it part of the Olango eco-tour.  The coral farm is located 3 to 10 meters beneath the sea’s surface.  There is a guardhouse with photos and a guard to answer questions about illegal fishing or coral farming.  Several “fish trap restaurants” have been built on the water, less than 100 m from shore next to the coral farm.  Tourists and divers dine at the restaurants to enjoy the fresh seafood and beautiful view.  The Coral Farm Project is a potential alternative source of income for islanders.

Protected Areas

     There are two protected areas of coastline in the Olango learning area.  These areas are especially important to the development of eco-tourism as an alternative livelihood for reformed illegal fisherfolk.  The protected areas are also “open classrooms” for environmental learning to take place.  Local island residents and visiting tourists alike benefit from these environmentally unique sanctuaries.

Olango Island Wild Life Sanctuary  

In spite of the poverty and environmental problems that plague many of the island residents, the topography of the area has evolved into a beautifully unique coastal area rich in resources.  Olango’s extensive intertidal mudflats, wide fringing coral reefs, immense seagrass and thick mangroves make it a paradise for both fish and fowl.  The southern portion of Olango Island is a stopover for “about 60% of the 77 species of migratory birds that use the East Asian Migratory Flyway” (CRMP, 2001).  Thousands of birds migrate every year to and from Siberia, Northern China, and Japan to Australia and vice versa.  An additional 42 species of birds are local residents of the wetland area.  Therefore, in 1992 a 920 ha area was officially declared as the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary (OIWS).  In 1994, in recognition of its international importance, it became the first Ramsar site in the Philippines (Sotto et al, 2001).  The residents of Olango hope that developing eco-tourism in the sanctuary will prove to be an alternative source of income and help to promote more environmentally friendly behavior in the area.  In February 2001, Conservation International (CI) awarded the Olango Birds and Seascape Tour (OBST) the 2000 Ecotourism Excellence Award.

Gilutongan Marine Sanctuary

In addition to the OIWS, Gilutongan Island has a 14 ha marine sanctuary on the west-end of the island that is a community project providing alternative income to several families.  Joseph, the project director and vigilant guard of the marine sanctuary, compares it to a bank:  “A sanctuary is like a bank, a venue for withdrawing resources…the problem is that the fisherman can not make a deposit, they only withdraw.  A sanctuary gives the ability to build the resources.”  

     That building of resources has made the sanctuary a popular tourist spot for diving and snorkeling on island hopping day trips.   Moreover, it has become a refuge for fish and coral among a wasteland of coral rubble and a reef blown to bits by years of dynamite fishing.  Despite laws prohibiting the use of dynamite, almost daily, divers in the sanctuary can feel blasts rock there bodies from over several kilometers away as the vibration travels farther and stronger underwater.    

Coastal Resource Management Issues

     Attempts at effective coastal resource management have targeted a number of environmentally destructive practices.  These activities have already taken a toll on the environment; therefore, aid agencies in the area are making efforts to eradicate destructive practices and at the same time initiate alternative sources of income.  A brief description of these targeted practices and related issues will help provide a better image of the challenges that a coastal resource management program must face.

Cyanide fishing

Olango is said to be the birthplace of cyanide fishing (Rubec et al, 2000) and by some accounts, the birthplace of dynamite fishing as well.  The IMA was one of the first organizations to put the cyanide fishing problem in the global spotlight (IMA, 2000; Rubec, Pratt & Cruz, 2000).  The growing demand for tropical pet fish in North America has fueled the use of sodium cyanide as a stunning device to aid in collecting specimens.  For years, collectors have used cyanide because it is an easy way to increase their profits. However, either without knowledge or without concern, these collectors risk their lives and damage the environment for needed income. In the beginning, the pet trade hindered the IMA’s efforts by claiming the cyanide was not harmful.  In spite of this initial resistance, the IMA’s perseverance finally pressured the industry to recognize the need for change.

     From the accounts of both IMA community workers and island residents themselves, the use of sodium cyanide in the area is still common, although not as rampant as it once was.  Although no evidence was found that cyanide-caught fish are being sold to consumers in markets, there are disturbing accounts of fishermen using sodium cyanide to catch fish for human consumption. 

Dynamite Fishing

According to the vendors at the marine sanctuary guardhouse, dynamite fishing gained popularity as a fast, easy way to catch a lot of fish sometime after WWII.  One middle-aged vendor speculated that ammunitions left behind by both the US and Japanese troops at the end of WWII were used to make blasts for fishing.  Another man supported this claim from stories his grandfather had told him about using dynamite to catch fish.  Years ago his grandfather had told him about making dynamite from left over bombs.  His grandfather and the other fisherman would then use the blasts for fishing “because they could make a better living that way.”  Therefore, dynamite fishing emerges as an historical connection between the aggressive colonization of the Philippines and the victims of a capitalistic patriarchy, who have subsequently become the aggressive dominators of nature.  Those at the bottom of the hierarchy have learned to use the same weapons to conquer the environment as aggressors throughout history have used against them.

     Although many residents in Cebu city are surprised to learn that fisherman a few miles away still use dynamite to catch fish, the residents on the islands give testimony as to how common it is.  One woman, living a kilometer inland, claims she hears an average of two blasts a day.  The guard at the coral farm said he hears an average of six blasts a day; mostly in the mornings, but sometimes in the afternoon. Dynamite fishermen use small banca boats to find schools of fish in shallow reef waters. A blast thrown into the school can produce a splash more than ten meters high. Within minutes the dynamite fisherman paddle away with their kill. One blast can yield up to 5 kilograms of fish.

     Often illegal fishermen are brazen enough to use dynamite in plain view of their neighbors.  An IMA worker explained that although most people are against blast fishing, they are also very tolerant of it.  Sometimes after the blast fishermen leave, people who actually oppose the use of dynamite may go and gather the remaining small fish floating on the surface to feed their families.

Transient Fisherman

The degradation to the Olango fishing grounds is forcing fisherman to go farther and farther away from Olango in search of more plentiful fishing grounds.  Paulo, the IMA community organizer explained that since many of the resources in the Olango area have been depleted the fisherman go off to other areas like Palawan and Mindanao to fish either legally or illegally.  These fishermen are called transient fishermen.  Fishing trips may be as short as a few days or as long as six months.  The fisherfolk earn little from their hard labor while the boat captains and the middlemen are the ones who profit most from any catch.  In addition to risking their lives, transient fishermen must be away from their families for long periods of time. 

     Despite the poor condition of the coatal environment and the related difficult living conditions, the people of Olango have joined in their efforts to create a more symbiotic relationship with their environment.  The next chapter describes the programs and processes that offer hope for a solution to the current resource exploitation and environmental degradation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 “People have to be able to work together if they are to realize the shared destiny and to preserve a habitable environment for generations to come.”

                                                            Albert Bandura, 1995

 

Chapter 5

Disseminating Environmental Knowledge at a Community Level

In the case of Olango, the CRMP bilateral aid program has worked to unite community members in an educational and consciousness raising campaign for the sustainable use of coastal resources.  The Olango area benefits from several CRMP educational initiatives that overlap and intertwine to encourage community participation in managing coastal resources.  The data help to provide a clearer picture of how a community-based coastal resource program contributes to the dissemination of the environmental knowledge in an attempt to change attitudes and behavior.  In this chapter, a description of CRMP’s major educational foci is followed by an analysis of how the local environmental innitiative works to change attitudes and behavior through education and training.

Training for Resource Assessment and Monitoring

CRMP’s major foci in the Olango area have been teaching resource assessment skills, developing a marketable eco-tourism package and sponsoring consciousness raising programs that aim to change attitudes and behavior.  Table 4.1 summarizes the most important programs and activities that CRMP sponsors in the Olango learning area.  Beginning with training for resource assessment and monitoring, the following three sections detail the programs listed in Table 4.1. The Participatory Coastal Resource Assessment (PCRA) training and the seasonal reef monitoring events teach locals proper methods of assessing their resources. This is important because a better understanding of environmental impacts facilitates the stewardship of resources.

Participatory Coastal Resource Assessment Training

Since an awareness of the environmental problems and issues of a coastal zone must precede the planning of a resource management strategy, CRMP has developed the Participatory Coastal Resource Assessment (PCRA) process.  Gathering information during the PCRA is the first, and perhaps, one of the most important steps toward community empowerment that promotes sustainable local development through responsible sharing of common environmental treasures.  Theresa, CRMP’s IEC team leader commented that the knowledge gained during the PCRA process, “gives people a sense of identity; a sense of ownership of their resources.”  She further stated that the sense of ownership needs to foster stewardship for community empowerment in coastal resource management. A better understanding of the coastal ecosystem can lead to better resource management.


Table 5.1--CRMP Sponsored Programs in the Olango Learning Area

 

CRMP

Program

Principal Activities

Program Goal

Knowledge Providers

Knowledge

Recipients

Type(s) of Learning

Outcomes

Training for Resource Assessment and Monitoring

 

PCRA Training

Lectures, hands-on data collection and analysis training

Empower communities to assess resources for CRM

CRMP

And collaborating agencies

LGUs and local participants

Experiential, social interaction,

participant observation

Communities develop CRM plans based on the PCRA results

Reef Check

Hands-on data collection and analysis training

Monitor protected area of local reef

CRMP, collaborating agencies & LGU

Marine sanctuary stakeholders

Experiential, social interaction,

part.  observation

Community involvement in reef protection

Enterprise Develop-ment

Tour Guide Training

Lectures, mock tour

Train locals to be eco-tour guides

CRMP, local travel agencies

OBST participants

Experiential, social interaction

Alternative livelihood

Eco-tourism

Guided sanctuary tour, demonstration, discussions

Raise consciousness about the Olango environment

CRMP and local OBST participants

Filipino and foreign tourists

Experiential, observational, social interaction,

participatory

Increased environment-al awareness/ cross cultural exchange

 

Table 5.1 (cont.)--CRMP Sponsored Programs in the Olango Learning Area

 

CRMP

Program

Principal Activities

Program Goal

Knowledge Providers

Knowledge

Recipients

Type(s) of Learning

Outcomes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Workshops,

Seminars, and

Activities

“Social Develop-ment Workshop

Lectures, group discussions

Develop leadership skills, and eco-values.

Community organizers

Community participants in CRM initiatives

Social interaction

Participants become agents of change

“I Love the Ocean” Movement

Media awareness campaigns, beach clean-ups

Coastal beautification, increase awareness

CRMP, LGU, the media

The general public, local volunteers

Social interaction, participant observation,

informal

Cleaner coastline  & awareness of pollution effects

Youth

Sea Camp

Beach  talks, art projects, drama, lectures

Teach values of preservation and concern for the marine environment

CRMP Peace Corp volunteer, school teachers

Selected students

Experiential, social learning, informal

Heightened eco-awareness among teens

CLEAR 7

Lectures and seminars

Raise consciousness about environmental laws

CRMP legal specialists

Communities and law enforcement

Social interaction, observational, informal

Increased awareness of illegal activities

Waste

Manage-ment

Lectures, discussion

Modify waste disposal habits

CRMP, LGU

Coastal communities

Social interaction, observational

Not fully implemented


     The PCRA is an information-gathering event designed to initiate local awareness of the issues, problems and benefits that are directly related to the use of coastal resources.   It begins with four-day orientation during which experts teach locals various methods of assessing their coastal area.  After the orientation the locals continue to evaluate the condition of local resources and livelihood issues related to the use of those resources.  The PCRA training teaches community members how to gather quantitative and qualitative data that will help them more fully understand the limits and assets of their coastal resources.  When CRMP co-sponsors PCRA training in coastal communities, any members of the community are welcome to participate.  Municipal governments help in recruiting local volunteers.  Most volunteers are active members of community organizations.  The training enables local community members to accurately assess their community resources and realistically understand the issues related to those resources so they are better able to make decisions about how to protect those resources while planning for sustainable levels of development.  This awareness can help communities to make well-informed decisions about development and can lead to a betterment of living standards for all. 

     One CRMP informant referred to the PCRA as, “a continuing process of giving feedback”, because it encourages the participants to share their newly-learned, data-gathering skills with other members of the community.  In this way it becomes a continual process in which locals consistently monitor, evaluate and reevaluate any coastal resource management program that the community initiates.  A program coordinator at CRMP explained that this process begins with an understanding of the situation and problem analysis.  Then, after the PCRA comes the planning and capacity building.

      PCRA is an integrated approach to coastal resource management.  It is integrated in a dual sense.  The training is a combined effort of several agencies while the assessment itself combines several types of research methods to gather data about geographic, demographic and social issues affecting the community.  Although the PCRA training was originally designed to be a three-day event it has been extended to four days to give the participants more time to digest the information they gather and prepare a presentation of their findings.  A group of trainers from the CRMP, the DENR, certified participants from other communities and members of academic organizations work directly with the municipal governments of various coastal communities.

     Since the PCRA training teaches methods of resource assessment as groundwork for practice, the first day of the training consists of a series of lectures to prepare the participants for the field surveys and data analysis.  The first lecture sets the stage by describing the problems related to overuse and abuse of coastal resources.  The CRMP speaker emphasizes the importance of a participatory approach to assessing the communities’ environmental resources, “What you hear, you may forget; but what you do, you will learn.”  The theme of the lecture underlined the need for proper management of coastal resources at the community level.  One lecture described interviewing techniques for gathering qualitative demographic data while another dealt with transect methods of gathering secondary data and mapmaking. The other lectures focused on methods for surveying corals, mangroves and seagrasses to determine the abundance and health of these resources. 

     The lectures are conducted in the local dialect and meals and snacks are provided for the participants.  One CRMP member commented that providing food is a covert strategy to boast the attendance of the local participants.  Getting local fisherfolk to attend the training is one of the challenges for CRMP because as one informant stated, “It is difficult to get fisherfolk to take away a days work.”  However, the fisherfolk and other local participants that do commit to the training remain attentive during all the hours of lectures, participate enthusiastically in group exercises and often ask the trainers questions.

     The second day, five groups of participants begin the “hands on” part of the training.  The groups are named “coral”, “mangroves”, “seagrass”, “transect”, and “interviews.” The coral group, mangrove group and seagrass group must all gear up to sedulously survey the conditions of the tropical coastal environment.  In these three groups experienced botanists and biologists teach local participants how to identify changes in the environment by closely monitoring the health of the eco-system.  Using snorkeling or diving gear, the participants view the destruction of the marine environment from illegal fishing methods.  The mangrove group surveys the various mangrove species and records the environmental condition of the area looking for illegal cutting, dumping of garbage or improper waste management.  The seagrass participants not only learn how to identify types of seagrasses, but also how valuable the seagrasses are for the breeding of fish and shellfish.  Participants record observational data about various types of coral, target species of fish, mangroves and seagrasses.  The data can be compared over time to identify changes in the ecosystem’s health.  This helps the locals to better understand the condition of their island eco-system and the health of their coastal resources.

     The transect group, is jokingly referred to as the “chismoso and laquacherro” group.  That is Tagalo for “talking and walking”.  The transect group has the responsibility of walking along the coastal roads, recording information on existing resources (e.g., coconut trees, banana trees, fresh water, fish ponds), listing problems (e.g., litter, pollutants) and talking to people they meet along the way about issues related to the management of resources.  This is a good opportunity for the local participants to talk with people in neighboring barangays and learn more about their greater community.  It is also, an opportunity for the CRMP trainers to hear testimony about issues affecting the coastal residents.

     The interview group visits people in their houses and asks questions about education, economic conditions, standards of living and health issues.  These demographic data are valuable in all steps of planning management strategies and implementing community programs.  In both, the transect group and the interview group, participants are reminded 

     On the fourth and final day of the training, the participants and the trainers begin analyzing the data through calculations and map making.  The participants draw detailed maps with notations showing resources and issues.  Each group presents their data and makes connections between the results.  Afterward, the participants receive certificates signed by representatives from CRMP, DENR, the local government, the German Development Service, and the Japanese International Cooperative Assistance Agency (JICA).  Participants have a responsibility to share their newly gained knowledge about the environmental issues to spark action from their friends and relatives in the community.  Realizing what they have learned during the training should inspire participants to recruit others for the continual task of resource assessment.

Reef Checks

Twice a year, CRMP and the Cordova Municipal Government sponsor coral reef assessment events called “reef checks” to monitor the changing conditions of the Gilutongan Marine Sanctuary.  The events are in coordination with the global coral reef monitoring program Reef Check.  Experts from the DENR and San Carlos University train new participants and supervise the collection of data.  The experts train locals to collect data marine life abundance by counting species along sample transect lines.  After the training the experts supervise the actual collection of data.  Teams work together counting specific target species and indicator species of fish and invertebrates.  They also record information on bottom composition (i.e.,  sand, seagrass, rock, live coral or coral rubble).  Therefore, one goal of a reef check is to periodically survey the conditions of the marine sanctuary and thus provide data for a long-term study on the sanctuary’s environmental impact.

     Since another goal of the reef checks is to promote community awareness of environmental conditions, it is important to teach the locals how to properly assess their resources.  One DENR informant described the March 2001 reef check for the Gilutongan Sanctuary as a “mini PCRA” because it was essentially a training session for the local community.  Although a reef check intends to be a community-based monitoring of fish abundance and coral conditions, it differs from the PCRA in that the participants observe only the conditions in the marine sanctuary and the surrounding buffer zone.

     Reef monitoring is for the community, but the participants are not limited to community members.  In fact, just the opposite is true.  For all the reef checks, Joseph extends an open invitation: “Anyone who is willing is welcome.”  Invitations are primarily by word of mouth.  The IEC staff members cooperate with the local government, community leaders and field experts in the planning of these monitoring events.  The CRMP and PBSP community organizers actively recruit volunteers during their frequent visits to the local community.  Consequently, participants and equipment come from a variety of institutions.   For example, a sign on the guardhouse door at the March 2001 reef check welcomed participants from the DENR, CRMP, local dive shops, the University of the Philippines and University of San Carlos.

     The local volunteer participants receive an orientation one-week prior to the reef check.  The orientation provides new participants with background into the purpose and procedure of reef monitoring, it informs them of the historical results of past reef checks, and it teaches them resource survey methods.  At the March 2001orientation, women participants out numbered men eleven to nine.  Maria first reasoned that many of the men had been out fishing every night taking advantage of seasonally favorable conditions to feed their families. She further explained that many of the men had participated in previous reef checks, therefore they did not need to go through the orientation.  Maria added that the favorable turnout of new women participants is characteristic of the expanding participation of wives and mothers in coastal resource management efforts on Gilutongan.  A local informant added that some women were participating in hopes that involvement might lead to additional income, if the sanctuary attracts more divers and tourists to the island.

     The local volunteers are vendors, guides and their wives.  All benefit in some way from the sanctuary.  Like many social gatherings in the Philippines, the orientation begins with a prayer.  The speaker prays for guidance and wisdom to protect the marine sanctuary and to address the social problems of the island.  The prayers tie religion to the campaign for resource management by reminding fellow worshipers and community members that they are bond in faith of Creator who will provide everything they need and that each creation exists for a purpose.  Although religion may have a part in unifying the community, outside the ceremonial opening and closing prayers the group does not openly use religion to change attitudes and behavior toward the environment.

     After the opening prayer, the CRMP community organizer explains the purpose of the reef check is to document the changes in the marine environment since the establishment of the marine sanctuary.  Maria also discusses the history of the sanctuary and its importance to the community.  Joseph proudly presents the results of the previous biannual reef checks showing an increase in fish since 1999.  The participants react with smiles and applause.  During the second half of the orientation the participants learn proper techniques for conducting transects and recording data.  Finally, Maria reminds everyone of the personal requirements for the reef check.  First, participants must wear appropriate attire for snorkeling while conducting monitoring activities in the tropical sun. Second, participants need to maintain an appropriate frame of mind. Maria explains that reef check is an important event so the participants should try to forget about any household problems and focus on working as a team.   

     The March 2001 reef check got off to a late start because tidal conditions prevented boats carrying participants, food, and equipment from leaving until midday.  The delay left community members looking slightly disappointed, holding donated masks and snorkels and wearing new “reef check” attire.  In spite of their apparent disappointment in the late start, they joked while waiting for the visiting participants to arrive.  One participant from the vendors association facetiously explained Filipino time; “You come to a meeting or work two hours late, but you come to a party or wedding two hours early.”

     As in the orientation, the reef check operations begin with an opening prayer, greetings and introductions.  A short briefing and review of data gathering techniques follow.  People break into groups according to their assigned tasks.  These tasks included observing, timing intervals, and recording the data.  New participants first watch the experienced participants demonstrate how to set up a transect-area and then how to gather survey data about the marine environment from the transect area.  After observing, the participants practice their tasks individually and as a group to prepare for the following day.   

     During the following two days, the group gathers survey data by counting species of coral and fish in specific quadrant areas.  For some new comers using snorkeling gear, this is the first time they have ever seen a coral reef from underwater.  In addition to those snorkeling and free diving, experienced scuba divers also gather data from reef quadrants that lie in the deeper water on the edge of the sanctuary and in the buffer zone.

     In between data collecting dives, the sanctuary guardhouse takes on a picnic atmosphere.  Some of the locals prepare food on open fires.  The food is provided by CRMP and the Cordova Municipal Government to show their appreciation to the volunteers and their families for taking part in the reef check.  Participants gather in the guardhouse lounging and talking.  It is during these informal discussions that additional exchanges of knowledge take place.  Common topics of conversation are dynamite fishing, plans to expand the sanctuary, getting more support from the LGU and conditions of the local reef.  Several participants crowd around a marine life book asking and answering questions about the species of fish and coral found in the sanctuary.

     After dinner, the participants work with the IEC team to learn how to analyze the data.  The new participants observe the calculation procedures first and then try it themselves. Although several of the experts admit that it is impossible to guarantee the preciseness and accuracy of the sample surveys, the data indicate the numbers of fish and percentage of coral have been increasing since the sanctuary first started doing reef checks in 1998.  In addition, there has been a greater increase in fish and coral inside the sanctuary than outside the sanctuary.

     In addition to gathering another set of data for the long-term study of the sanctuary, local volunteers learn how to conduct a reef survey; therefore, they will be less dependent on expert help in the future.  The current plan is for the locals involved in the protection of the sanctuary and those benefiting from the tourists visiting the sanctuary to gather data every March and November.  Some marine sanctuaries in the Philippines have been gathering data for more than 15 years.   Although Reef Check survey data from the Gilutongan Marine Sanctuary (see Fig. 5.1 and 5.2) indicate that coral cover and fish populations have increased in the Gilutongan Marine Sanctuary and adjacent buffer zone, the true environmental impact of coastal resource management in Olango may not be known for years. 









 



X
X
X

X
X




Figures 5.1 and 5.2: Reef Check Survey Data. Source: Ross et al, (2001), CRMP.

Eco-Tourism

The eco-tourism initiative provides alternative livelihood training for reformed illegal fishermen and their wives.  In addition, it promotes environmental awareness and encourages cultural exchange between the residents of Olango and their visitors.

Tour Guide Training and Enterprise Development

In order for eco-tourism to be successful as an alternative livelihood, the community members need to learn not only guide skills but also business skills.  Therefore, CRMP has designed their enterprise development program to include multifaceted training.  In addition to lectures and training workshops, community members also receive hands-on training in luring prospective customers to the eco-tour and then ensuring those tourists have an enjoyably rewarding experience on the tour. 

     Rex describes the program as holistic because “it doesn’t only institute conservation measures, but tries to help these communities find a way out from the question that they have to ask, ‘If I conserve, what shall I eat now?’ So it tries to address the food problem.”  Rex believes the eco-tour component of CRMP is an essential part of the solution to some of the communities’ problems.

     For almost three years, CRMP has been working closely with community members in Sabang and Gilutongan in hopes of establishing sustainable businesses that will provide alternative sources of income.  Although the Olango International Wildlife Sanctuary (OIWS) and the Gilutongan Marine Sanctuary have been in place longer than that, initial attempts at profiting from eco-tourism failed because of lack of organization.  There were often incidents of competing vendors scaring off tourists with shouting frenzies as they tried to sell their goods or services.  There were also reports from tourists that they had been over-charged or ripped-off by locals.  Hence, part of the focus of the eco-tour training is to teach local guides effective communication skills for interacting with both Filipino and international tourists.

     Early in 2001, CRMP held a workshop as part of the eco-tour guide training.  The participants included environmental experts from academia, professional tour guides from area travel agencies, CRMP community organizers, the CRMP enterprise development staff, and community members from Sabang and Gilutongan.  Tour guides from the local tourist industry in Cebu volunteered to lend their business and communication expertise for the training workshop.  The three professional guide participants all expressed an interest in learning more about the eco-tour on Olango and Gilutongan Islands. One professional guide that sells various tour packages granted he volunteered for the workshop to gain more knowledge about the OIWS so he could give tourists accurate information about what they can expect to see.  The environmental experts participating in the workshop came form local academic institutions and have established relationships with the CRMP, the sanctuaries and the communities.

     The enterprise development staff had a conscious process for selecting the locals that would participate in the workshop.  Rex affirmed that the focus was on the community leaders because they are likely to have the influence to pass on knowledge to other community members:

There are always leaders in each community.  And it is only natural for them to be the “targets” for this kind of seminar because in some way they have all ready that leadership capability.  We have one great theory for choosing the participants...that they have the power to re-echo what they have learned here, down there.  What they learn in the office or whatever seminar they are sent to; if they could reflect it back or teach it back to the local community. So, in a way that gives you an idea on who to select. 

 

     Time and availability were also factors for deciding which community members would attend the workshop.  Many of the male participants are fishermen and they may be fishing in the day.  Consequently, they lose the chance to participate in some seminars because they have to feed their families.

     The three-day workshop on eco-tourism was a very professionally run initiative to bring experts from several fields together for the common cause of developing the Olango Birds and Seascape Tour (OBST) into a sustainable, community-run enterprise.  Each participant receives a workshop workbook that they can keep for future reference and review. The following words are on the cover of the book:

The Birds and Seacape Tour is a special group tour conceived by the Coastal Resource Management Project as a way to develop the eco-tourism potential of Olango and encourage residents to give up their destructive fishing practices, which have already severely damaged the coastal resources.

 

     During the first two days, participants joined in lectures and discussions at the CRMP headquarters in Cebu.  Themes included tour interpretation, tour leadership versus tour guiding, specific environmental foci (bird, mangroves, and marine life) and techniques for translating technical information to lay person’s terms.  Although much of the lecturing was in Cebuano, the transparencies and other visual aids were in English. Many of the exercises were interactive which helped the participants maintain enthusiasm.  Pedro, one of the community organizers commented that the workshops are “hitting two birds with one stone.”  He reasoned that the teaching methods also help the locals who did not finish high school improve their literacy skills.

     The third day of the workshop was a mock tour giving the community participants a chance to go through a dress rehearsal.  All the participants went to the Olango Bird Sanctuary in Sabang and the Gilutongan Marine Sanctuary to enjoy the tour.  The locals went through the actions of a regular tour using the professional tour guides and CRMP staff members as mock customers.  This is a way of incorporating experiential learning into the tour-guide training.  The guides-in-training then receive advice and criticism from their “mock” tourists, the experts, and professional tour guides.  After the mock tour, 15 community participants received certificates of completion.

The Olango Birds & Seascape Tour

“The tour is a theater production.  The guide has to be an educator, a storyteller, an entertainer, an advocate of environmental values, and an advocator of social ethics.” An enterprise development staff member uses these words to explain the difference between the Olango eco-tour and other island hopping tour packages.  The Olango tour intends to be an educational experience both in cultural exchange and environmental awareness. 

     Although it is contingent on the tide schedule, the tour usually starts on Olango and then moves on to Gilutongan.  A 30-40 minute boat ride brings the tour participants to the southeast point of Olango, where the sandy bars of Sabang roll into the tidal flats and mangroves of the bird sanctuary.  The local guides brief the tourists on how the sanctuary came to be and on what they can expect to see in the sanctuary.  The local guides and the tourists then pair up to venture into the mangroves in search of wildlife in the sanctuary.  The guides paddle small two-person bancas into the heart of the sanctuary explaining facts about the environment and providing their guests with personal anecdotes.  The guides also try to answer any questions the guests have.

     After the paddling and picture taking, local women wearing colorful island attire and carrying refreshments greet the guests on the beach.  The guest participants and the local participants mingle while waiting for lunch.  Some of the community members try to sell T-shirts advertising the Olango bird sanctuary.  Guests take photos with the locals and soon all are enjoying a buffet lunch that consists of locally harvested fresh shellfish, fish and seaweed.

     After lunch the community members give demonstrations in shell crafting, preparing local delicacies and fishing.  The shell craft demonstration is another opportunity for the local women to sell souvenirs to the guests and make additional profits from the eco-tour.  Rex and other tour organizers encourage the guests to ask questions, taste the dishes and even try their hand in making some of the pastries.  Locals play guitars, beat drums and sing local Visayan songs during lunch and the demonstrations.  From the demonstrations the guest participants gain a deeper understanding of how the fisherfolk have been living for many generations.  Maria claims that the demonstrations also boost pride among the community on Olango for their culture and for their unique coastal environment.  She adds this pride is necessary to preserve both the culture and the environment.

     An ornithologist gives a short lecture on the migratory habits of birds and explains how important the birds are to the eco-system.  He stresses that any changes in the number of birds using Olango as a stopover on their migratory travels may signal changes in the environment.  Therefore, it is as important to monitor the birds in the sanctuary as it is to watch the canary in the coal mine.

     The final interactive activity that the guests have with the people on Olango is a discussion on the efforts and challenges of the community-based program.  One by one, community leaders explain their efforts in trying to mobilize the community for common causes such as establishing a waste-management system, abolishing illegal fishing methods and making eco-tourism a sustainable livelihood.  From these presentations the guest participants learn of the challenges the community has in trying to manage their coastal resources.

     The Olango half of the tour ends with the locals performing traditional dances while singing some traditional songs.  The guests then re-board the boat and move on to the Gilutongan marine sanctuary.  At the marine sanctuary, Joseph gives a short and friendly presentation and answers questions on the history, purpose and successes of the marine sanctuary.  Then the guests who would like to snorkel in the sanctuary pair up with local “lifeguards” who act as guides while swimming in the sanctuary.  Other locals prepare food for the guests.  By this time, the exercise, the food and the hot afternoon sun usually have taken a toll on the guests so many will just relax in the sanctuary guardhouse chatting with the local vendors and their families.  This “chismoso time” becomes a medium for two-way informal learning between the visiting tourists and the local sanctuary guardians.  Whether the tourists are Philippine nationals, Asian vacationers or Western travelers, the islanders are always enthusiastic about sharing information on the local coastal resource management efforts.  Some guests choose to walk around the small island stopping to chat with the friendly residents.  The tour ends with a sunset boat ride back to Mactan.

    The tour is expensive compared to many of the island hopping options.  It costs about $70 US for non-Filipinos and about $50 US for Filipinos.  The high price eliminates the budget backpackers and most Filipinos sightseeing in their own country.  There are also no, or at least very limited, overnight accommodations.  The CRMP coordinators argue that the package justifies the price.  Therefore, they promote the package as more than just a boat ride to a few islands.  Rex explains that the tour is a cultural experience, a lesson in sociology, and a testimony to the closeness humans have with the natural environment.

     The community women benefit from the additional employment that the tours bring.  Several of the women are employed through the business venture to do the accounting and the meal planning for the tours.  Still, the Olango eco-tour business is only able to supplement the income for approximately thirty families, leaving many island residents without benefits from the program.

Workshops Seminars and Activities

CRMP also uses lectures, seminars and one-day events to raise consciousness about environmental and social issues.  These include leadership workshops, beach clean-ups, law enforcement seminars and multi-organizational meetings for waste management.

Social Development Training

One of Pedro’s duties as the community organizer is to conduct periodic seminars aimed at developing strong leadership qualities and an environmental ethic among a core group of community members.  Attendance at the seminars is voluntary; however, those community members having a role in the management of the sanctuaries or the management of resources are strongly encouraged to attend.  Still, attendance is often lower than Pedro expects.  Women usually outnumber men slightly because the seminars are always in the day and many men are fishing or working as vendors.  However, Pedro makes special efforts to encourage members of the youth group to come the social development and leadership workshops.  He reasons that they will soon be the ones making decisions for the community.

     Reoccurring themes for the seminars include participation, community, organization, cooperation and unity.  Pedro uses both lectures and interactive group work to seed an understanding of leadership and moral commitment to the community.  In one lecture he stresses that “vices kill potential” and uses several infamous Filipino leaders as examples. A group activity follows with the participants brainstorming ideas on what makes a good leader, how they can improve leadership in their community and what the problems are with today’s leaders. 

     The seminars emphasize the need for social development both on an individual level and a community level.  Pedro draws on both his studies in social work and his experience working with Catholic priests to stress the relationship between self-development and social development.  He explains that the acquisition of healthy mental factors such as insight, foresight, confidence, modesty, impartiality, and patience can enable an individual to be a leader in social development. 

     Pedro always tries to work the idea of family planning into his seminars drawing a parallel between over population and depletion of coastal resources.  He openly raises the issue of birth control as a solution to the islands’ exploding population problem.  He frames the population problem in the context of an environmental problem and a coastal resource management issue by explaining how increases in the number of people living in the area put added stress on coastal resources.  Some participants giggle and joke about using contraceptives.  Others joke that if they had television there would not be so many babies.  Two women breast-feeding babies during the discussion on birth control just smile. 

     The seminars also become a forum for community members to voice their ideas and concerns about development issues. Together the participants discuss barriers and constraints to area resource management projects.  While discussing the plans for projects, the seminar participants work toward establishing specific goals, attempt to pinpoint effective strategies to reach those goals and try to identify change agents that may facilitate the workability of the projects.   

“I Love the Ocean” Movement

The CRMP staff conceptualized the idea for an “I Love the Ocean” campaign as a way to celebrate the United Nations designating 1998 as International Year of the Ocean.  The campaign has grown to have more than 13,000 members throughout the Philippines and continues to gain momentum by expanding its consciousness raising efforts.  Although the initial public awareness campaign used bumper stickers to send a message, the movement now sponsors activities such as Sea Camp, beach clean-ups, and celebrity events.

     Sea Camp is “a field-based experimental coastal resource management appreciation course” that targets youths in an attempt to instill an environmental ethic in the next generation of community leaders.  During the four-day event, the participants learn the values of preserving the marine and coastal environment.  Upon completion of the course, the participants vow to be advocates of conservation both in their activities and their interaction with others.

     The IEC staff of CRMP, the CRMP Peace Corps worker, and science teachers from the local high schools all work together to organize Sea Camps for some of the Olango Youth.  Although some student-participants are selected based on their academic performance for the first Sea Camp, other participants for the Sea Camps are selected based on teachers’ opinions of who might benefit most from the Sea Camp.  During the four days the participants paint murals, plant trees, and clean stretches of coastline.  Lecture topics include waste management, ocean navigation, leadership skills, development, and ecology.  One participant, Elosia Roa (2000) wrote of her experience:

The Sea Camp brought about an obvious change for the better in the way participants view their environment.  It helped us recognize the integral and interdependent relationships between humanity and the rest of creation.  We now fully appreciate that, as humanity is dependent on the fruits of nature, so is nature’s very survival greatly dependent on humanity. (p. 14)

 

     In addition to the Sea Camp, “I Love the Ocean” also sponsors some celebrity events in which popular Filipino entertainers join in conservation activities to model environmental friendly behavior.   Television and movie celebrities go scuba diving to clean marine sanctuaries of unwanted debris or take part in planting of mangroves to reforest the thousands of acres of marshlands lost in the last century.  Newspapers and television stations, attracted by the celebrities, cover stories about the “I Love the Ocean” campaign and celebrity awareness-raising dives. The celebrities not only attract the attention of the media, but they also become role models to encourage environmentally friendly behavior among the greater population.

     To gain media attention and to optimize the effect of an event, “I Love the Ocean” promotional activities are planned to coincide with international or local events like International Coastal Cleanup Day, Month of the Ocean, World Food Day or Fisheries Week.  Keeping the media informed about “I Love the Ocean” events lead to additional national and cable stations broadcasting programs about the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary and the Gilutongan Marine sanctuary.  In addition, the Cebu Sun-Star, a local paper, consistently reports on CRMP activities.

CLEAR 7

The Coastal Law Enforcement Alliance for Region 7 (CLEAR 7) attempts to coordinate the efforts of law enforcement agencies through education and communication.  Since effective law enforcement an integral part of CRMP’s plan for coastal resource management in the Olango area, it is necessary to share information among agencies, provide in-service training for officers, and pool resources for patrolling coastlines and enforcing the law.  The CLEAR 7 division of CRMP organizes seminars to educate officers about laws protecting the environment.  Experts provide training in how to address problems of illegal fishing and mangrove cutting through increasing awareness of the laws and then properly enforcing the laws.  The seminars are also opportunities for various agencies to share information and discuss strategies for the future.  One strategy that CLEAR 7 is currently working on is to build a database to keep the names of known dynamite fishermen and other information on dynamite fishing.  So far, there has been a greater awareness of the legal side of environmental issues among law enforcement officers; however, a lack of resources hampers attempts to use the law as a deterrent to illegal fishing and mangrove cutting.

Waste Management

Since much of the ground is rocky, it is difficult to bury waste on the island.  Many residents of Olango dispose of waste directly in to the ocean in hopes the tide will carry it away.  Although island residents have been doing this for generations, the increase in use of plastic byproducts and cans makes the practice of dumping garbage into the ocean a pressing environmental issue.  Therefore, proper waste management is essential for the protection of coastal resources. 

     Beginning with local officials, the CRMP staff has been working to educate communities about effecting waste management.  Discussions at community meetings have led to preliminary plans for an island recycling center and alternatives for other waste disposal.  The hoped-for outcome is to change residents’ attitudes about the disposal of waste while provide them with disposal alternatives.

Women’s Involvement in the Education Process

Trans-generational communication among fisherfolk women who supplement family incomes by gleaning and shellcraft activities has built an important body of shared environmental knowledge.  Therefore, women’s contributions in assessing the condition of the coastal environment add a valuable perspective to the planning for coastal resource management.  The value of those contributions are more clearly understood in the context of the experiential aspect of ecofeminism that recognizes the cumulative generational experience of women gives balance to the community approach of resource management.

     From a top-down perspective, CRMP models an organization that values that contribution and experience of women.  Women are well represented among the CRMP staff and especially among the IEC team.  Moreover, CRMP recognizes the importance of involving the community women in any environmental initiatives or resource management proposals.  The IEC coordinators agree that it is important to go to the wives first because, “Most often wives are power.” Since it is most often the wives who handle the family budgets, it is the wives who most easily understand the concepts of resource management.  Therefore, according to the IEC staff, it is the wives who are able to more easily understand the need for change. 

     Furthermore, once the wives understand the need for change, they become agents of change for their husbands and children.  In addition to contributing to the body of shared community knowledge, women also facilitate the dissemination of that information through established social networks.  Pedro gives the example of how women become agents in the informal education process by sharing knowledge they have gained with their husbands.  Women often attend the social development seminars and coastal resource management training activities in place of their husbands because their husbands are fishing or working day labor on other islands.  The women then share what they have learned when their husbands return.

     Likewise, since many of the men are gone fishing for days or even weeks at a time, it is the women who spend the most time with the children during the formative years. Because women usually spend more time with children during the formative years, they have a greater opportunity to promote an environmental ethic and model environmentally friendly behavior for the next generation.  It is through mothers that young children can most easily learn environmental values. One member of the Gilutongan women’s organization explained that the active members of the group understand this responsibility, “We need to give an action so we can give education to our youth so that they will know how to care for our surroundings.” 

     However, another member of the organization qualified the scope of this understanding as not including many of the women in the greater community.  That member believed a majority of the island women are unable to fulfill this responsibility due to a lack education about environmental issues.  Many of the local informants during this study also believe that some mothers model types of behavior that hamper the development of an environmental ethic.  These types of behavior are the ubiquitous gambling and improper waste disposal.  The informants stated that they felt gambling instills a “get-rich-quick” mentality into the island youth; thus contradicting principles of resource management.  If these feelings are viewed from an ecofeminist perspective, the daily gambling activities reinforce a capitalist patriarchy in which “money today” triumphs over “resources tomorrow”.

     The IEC group members also recognize that women in the greater community have a weak understanding of environmental issues; therefore, they actively recruit island women for participatory roles in all CRMP activities and events.  The IEC members stress the importance of recruiting women for the assessment events, such as the PCRA training, because their knowledge and experience valuably contribute to creating an accurate profile of environmental conditions and related social issues.  First, many women and children who have worked as gleaners and fish vendors are directly affected by degradation to the environment and depletion of resources.  Therefore, they can be beneficiaries of improved coastal resource management.  Furthermore, their work in the fishing and shell-fishing industries has already given them some awareness of the environmental problems affecting the coastal resources.  A building on that awareness during the PCRA training can nurture commitments to participate in a collective effort that seeks proactive solutions to coastal environment issues. 

     One IEC staff member spoke of how the women become more motivated to participate in resource management after realizing the connections between the health of the environment and the health of their families.  Many of the women attending meetings and seminars voiced similar accounts of their participation fostering a new understanding of local environmental issues.  Some women mentioned that they now better understand how illness in their villages can be related to poor environmental conditions.  Other active women participates expressed a better understanding of environmental stewardship for the sustainable use of coastal resources.

     Recognizing the need to be involved in the management of their coastal resources many of the community began taking on duties and participating more actively.  Now, the women often outnumber the men at meetings and never hesitate to voice their opinions or make suggestions on budgeting funds, planning events and assigning tasks.  One example of the growing influence of women in the coastal resource management community initiative is that women have been most active in creating the island’s branch of the Barangay Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Council (BFARMC).  This is a community organization that works to coordinate coastal resource management efforts on the barangay level and provides input for development plans at the municipal level.  The members of BFARMC are working to expand the community’s political agenda and establish new collective arrangements.

Social Interaction in the Exchange of Environmental Knowledge

In the coastal resource management process, social interaction can work to ensure ample “bottom-up” and “top-down” communication in planning and decision-making.   Social interaction aids in the dissemination of environmental knowledge on various organizational and individual levels.  Three common levels of social interaction are organizations sharing information with other organizations, organizations passing on information to target individuals and finally, the target individuals sharing newly gained knowledge with family and neighbors. The following three sections detail Figure 5.1 that shows how each level of social interaction works to educate communities about the environment.

Social Interaction between Organizations

The type of coastal resource management that CRMP teaches is often referred to as Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) because part of the strategy is to integrate the knowledge, skills and power of stakeholder organizations and agencies. Sharing of knowledge at the inter-organizational level involves publishing and presenting research findings to augment the pool of existing “lessons-learned” in resource management.  For CRMP, the entire staff works together to record data and publish documents.  These publications include Tambuli, a monthly news journal for coastal management practitioners; environmental profiles from PCRA data; articles about alternative livelihood projects; training manuals for resource management; and, theoretical based research findings.  Although local fisherfolk greatly contribute to the assembling of the environmental profiles, they rarely read other publications available through CRMP.  These publications are primarily a vessel for organizational sharing of information.  

     Conferences also provide a forum for organizations to share information and discuss the implication of specific research findings in the planning of coastal resource management programs.  The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) sponsors regional and global conferences that bring together experts contributing to the advancement of coastal resource management.   The ICRI chose the Shangra-La Resort on Mactan to host the 2001 regional conference.  Experts representing
various stakeholder organizations throughout Southeast Asia engaged each other for several days with ideas for improving coastal resource management.  Although it is usually only CRMP staff members that are able to attend coastal resource management conferences, the close proximity of the Shangra-La to Olango made it possible for several of the sanctuary caretakers to attend the conference.  In addition to giving a few of the local community leaders a chance to act as “information bridges”, their participation put CRMP and the Olango learning area in center stage for the conference.

     Network building at conferences works to build partnerships among organizations with common goals.  These partnerships facilitate the long term planning of effective resource management for coastal communities.  Therefore, from the nascent of the coastal resource management process, sufficient inter-organizational communication is necessary.  CRMP begins this communication by forging partnerships to share in the coastal resource management process during the planning stages for the PCRA training. This invites a sharing of skills and resources.  The PCRA training extends the bonds of partnership to the community.  The four-day intensive PCRA training is a period in which individuals from various organizations form friendships through collective effort.  It is an event that pulls together the efforts of the municipal government, the DENR, various NGOs, academic institutions and community organizations.  Like the PCRA training, planning for a reef check requires input and collective effort from the municipal government, NGOs, academe and community members.  Agencies and organizations participating in reef checks use the results for resource management planning and for on-going research projects.

     This collective effort works to maintain inter-organizational communication after the PCRA training has been completed.  In the case of Olango, the organizational partnerships led to the creation of the Olango Synergy Group to coordinate the sharing of information for island development and resource management.  Primarily through word-of-mouth, community leaders and organization representatives disseminate information about regular meetings and current issues affecting island residents.

Target individuals as Information Bridges

For organized word-of-mouth transmission of information and knowledge to take place, specific individuals must act as liaisons between organizations.  Community organizers, teacher facilitators and community leaders are all liaisons acting as information bridges in the coastal resource management process. 

     Essentially, community organizers bridge the information gaps between the CRMP office staff and the fisherfolk on Olango and Gilutongan. Their relationship with the community accords community organizers a position to be active agents in the dissemination of information and knowledge.  In their field visits they relay information to the island communities about upcoming events.  They also hold seminars and lectures during which they pass on knowledge to community members about resource management, leadership skills, enterprise development and other issues relevant to the local coastal resource management initiative.  Community organizers visit municipal government offices, universities and other NGO offices to exchange information about coastal resource management sites and plan community events.  As information bridges, community organizers also pass information in the opposite direction; that is, they report their observations and the voiced concerns of the fisherfolk back to CRMP.  Therefore, they are critical in the reciprocal learning process of the organization.  The input that community workers provide is helpful in developing strategies for organizational development, boosting community interest, assessing the effectiveness of initiatives and planning new initiatives.

     Teacher facilitators and community leaders also act as information bridges between groups by bringing CRMP’s awareness campaign to the formal education system.  Teacher facilitators relay information to principals and teachers about ecology and consciousness raising activities for the island youth.  Teacher facilitators work with CRMP’s IEC staff and schoolteachers to conduct environmental awareness activities with schools such as field trips to the wildlife sanctuary and the marine sanctuary.  The facilitators also help in the planning of the Youth Sea Camp, inter-island trips for students, tree planting events for students, beach clean-ups and a proposed eco-center in one high school.

     Sandra, the Peace Corps volunteer working with CRMP, became a bridge between CRMP and the two schools in Barangay Tingo.  In her time on Olango she taught ecology lessons at the Tingo schools covering subjects such as waste management, conservation and resource management.  Her efforts have motivated other teachers to add environmental elements into their lessons.  For example, with the aid of  Peace Corps resources the science teacher has been developing an eco-center to provide students with more hands-on learning about the environment and marine eco-system.  The same teacher has substituted a final exam for his high school class with a research project on environmental awareness.  Instead of the final exam, his students conducted surveys on environmental awareness in their communities.   

     However, his trend is apparently limited to only a few schools in the Olango area.  Teachers and students from other schools claim there is no environmental education in their schools. This is partially due to teachers feeling compelled to follow lessons exactly as they are in the assigned books.  According to Pedro, teachers are eager to incorporate environmental education into their lessons, but the policies of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) strictly dictate the material that teachers must cover; consequently, limiting the opportunity and motivation for improvised environmental education in schools.  CRMP and several environmental NGO’s continue to lobby DECS to adapt curriculum that builds a greater awareness of environmental issues. Teacher facilitators have a role as information bridges in strengthening the ties with DECS during these lobbying efforts.

     Much the same as community organizers and teacher facilitators, community leaders are pivotal in the dissemination of coastal resource management information.  Community leaders are constantly learning more about coastal resource management from seminars, visits to other communities, municipal government meetings, and agenda setting sessions with the CRMP staff.  They in turn pass this information on to their friends and neighbors during daily interaction.  As information bridges, community leaders move from a passive role of receiving training from CRMP to an active role of sharing knowledge with the greater community.  Therefore, an essential step in the process of disseminating information is the informal learning that takes place through social interaction of individuals.

Informal Learning through Individuals Interacting

During the PCRA training, more active participants emerge as the community leaders for the coastal resource management initiative.  Awareness is a key quality that the IEC team looks for in targeting community leaders to act as bridges in disseminating information about coastal resource management.  A high level of awareness enables individuals to better communicate to others the need for and process of coastal resource management.   The IEC staff at CRMP utilizes these individuals’ enthusiasm to fortify the bonds between the island communities, local government units and NGOs working in the area.

     Joseph typifies a community leader who has become a pivotal voice in the campaign to protect the marine environment and conserve coastal resources.  As the marine sanctuary guard, he interacts with visitors discussing the history and successes of the sanctuary in a well-rehearsed speech that is also a call for support from the groups of divers and snorkelers that visit the Gilutongan sanctuary daily during the tourist season.  Additionally, Joseph is an unofficial consultant for other communities that consider designating a section of their coast as a marine sanctuary.  In 1990, he went to Apo Island to observe a successful marine sanctuary and learn the steps to establish and care for a protected coastal area.  Just as the Apo Island residents shared their knowledge of marine protected areas with Joseph, he now receives groups from as far away as Mindanao that have come to visit the Gilutongan sanctuary and hear his advice on implementing and caring for a marine sanctuary.  At the marine sanctuary guardhouse, visitors relax, chat, swim, snorkel and eat with the folks on Gilutongan opening the gates for more informal exchange of culture, knowledge and information.

     Reef checks provide another opportunity for individuals to share environmental knowledge informally since members of various organizations and agencies spend several days working, eating and sleeping together.  Similar to the PCRA training, reef checks are events in which individuals from various organizations form friendships through collective effort.  The atmosphere of collective effort combines work and social interaction.  During both the PCRA training and reef checks, non-participant island residents become more aware of local coastal resource management efforts. They see their neighbors gathering data about the environment.  Curiosity leads to questions and further discussions about coastal resource management issues and strategies.  In this way, the event participants become role models for other community members.

     Women on the IEC staff are also leadership role models for the women on Olango and Gilutongan.  The island women see the IEC members negotiating with local officials for funding.  They see them organizing and managing environmental activities and events.  And they see them working side by side with community members during the PCRA training, reef checks and beach cleanups.  Over the years, the IEC members’ involvement with the communities has built strong bonds and friendships.  However, since CRMP will be leaving the community in 2002, it is important that people from Olango and Gilutongan are ready to fill in for the IEC team.  Therefore, certain women in the communities have been targeted as leaders based on their commitment to coastal resource management.  One IEC member has gone as far as to reward several women with a modest monthly salary, paid out of her own salary, for their help in organizing events, workshops and tours.  Realizing that community involvement may create jobs in the community has motivated other women in the community to get involved.

     Individual to individual exchange of information is fundamental to the Olango Bird and Seascape tour.  Rex defines eco-tourism “as not only natural conservation, but also as a way of social education.”  Members of the Paddlers Association (the individual boat guides that take tourists into the bird sanctuary mangroves) provide tourists with endless information about the natural environment.  Other members of the community provide the tourists with cultural information through shell craft, fishing and cooking demonstrations.  These demonstrations generate questions and promote more in depth social interaction between community members and their guests.    

     Finally, community groups facilitate the flow of information from core participants in the coastal resource management process to the greater community.  Various organizations on Olango provide opportunities for men, women and youths to interact and exchange information.  These include church groups, employment organizations, school groups, political campaigns and basketball teams.  Through their additional involvement in such groups, proponents of coastal resource management can reach out to the greater community in an attempt to raise consciousness about coastal management issues.

Social Interaction and the Learning of Inappropriate Behaviors

Unfortunately, the residents of Olango not only learn appropriate environmental behavior through social interaction, but some also learn environmentally inappropriate behavior as well.  While CRMP, other development organizations, and individuals involved in the coastal resource management collective effort strive to promote protection and conservation, other groups work to profit from the inappropriate and unsustainable use of coastal resources.  Paulo, the community organizer for the IMA, explained that cyanide fishing began in the 1970s when an American introduced the method as a more effective way of catching fish for the pet industry.  The technique of using sodium cyanide quickly spread among those gathering exotic tropical fish from the local reefs.  Social interaction and observational learning contributed to the widespread use of this illegal fishing method.

     Social interaction and observational learning also contribute to the spread of dynamite fishing. According to local newspapers and accounts from informants, the major center for manufacturing blasting caps and detonators used in dynamite fishing is Talisay, a short boat ride from Olango.   Several small groups in Talisay are allegedly responsible for supplying dynamite fishers throughout the Philippines.  Local fisherfolk corroborated a coast guard informant’s testimony that fishermen from Talisay use their products in other island areas as a way of advertising.  Talisay fishermen make periodic trips to Olango to sell their products and recruit new dynamite fishermen.  In fact, one local dynamite fisherman who was apprehended and released with a warning is said to have spent several months in Talisay helping to manufacture blasting caps.

     Social interaction may also work against desired change in attitude and behavior by continually reinforcing common, but environmentally inappropriate behaviors.  The most visible example of this is people freely tossing food wrappers, drink containers and other trash on the ground or in the sea.  Children witness this behavior daily and grow up thinking that littering is not only social acceptable but it is also the social norm. 

     One American tourist visiting the area speculated that litter is an endemic problem in some parts of the Philippines because plastic and other non-biodegradable containers are a relatively new introduction to some areas.  He reasoned that it was not so long ago that most people living in coastal areas served food on leaves instead of on Styrofoam plates and snacked on fruit or berries instead of candy or chips in plastic wrappers.  Old behaviors, such as tossing leaves that had been used for plates on the ground, were never unlearned when people started using plastic for convenience.  Therefore, the old behavior is still common practice and is reinforced through observational learning.  However, since what people are now discarding is not biodegradable the behavior is environmentally inappropriate.  Without protests against this behavior, people have no negative feedback that would promote reflection on the consequences.

     It is not just littering that children may learn from their older siblings, relatives and peers.  One teacher informant spoke of how the children on Olango learn to gamble, fish with cyanide and use dynamite from watching others.  In reference to a gambit of behavior she termed undesirable, one teacher commented, "The little ones see what the big ones are doing and they follow.  The little ones learn from the big ones."

Social Interaction in Program Monitoring

The continual interaction of the community organizers with the community is one way of monitoring programs to insure the sustainability of the coastal resource management process.  From his experience as a community organizer, Paulo understands a need to maintain a presence in the community even after projects have been turned over to the community.  Paulo says,  It is hard to leave the people.  You should be there to do the monitoring.  If they see you they will be reminded.”  The continual interaction with the community organizers and discussions about ongoing environmental projects renews enthusiasm for community betterment.  Paulo also asserts that a “cat and mouse” mentality among some community members make it necessary for NGOs to maintain ties with communities through community organizers.  “When the cat is away the mice will play—It is different when you are always there.”  Community organizers, therefore, aid in monitoring programs by reporting back to their organizations about the status of community projects and they help to ensure the sustainability of projects through their continual interaction with the community.

Evolving Toward Community Empowerment

The intervention of CRMP and development NGOs intends to be a temporary phase in the community empowerment process.  The dissemination of information and consciousness raising about environmental problems are the first steps in the empowerment process for community management of coastal resources.  Successes demonstrate the power of collective efforts and consequently strengthen the bonds in socially valued pursuits.  Still, community empowerment is an evolving process of rethinking common goals and strategies to attain those goals.  New information and knowledge—products of both successes and failures—guide the rethinking of approaches to resource management.  Successes minimize skepticism; hence, encouraging passive members of the community to join the collective effort.  The power of collective effort gives the community a voice in the expanded political agenda and establishes new collective arrangements to fortify the campaign for coastal resource management.  This section will describe how community-based coastal resource management in the Olango area has evolved toward empowering the community to more effectively steward their environmental assets.

Consciousness Raising

The empowerment process begins with awareness.  In the coastal resource management process, awareness begins with the PCRA training.  Theresa, the IEC team leader, recalls the PCRA as a definitive point at which some local residents started looking at the environmental situation and understanding the implications that proper coastal resource management has for their families and for future generations.  She says gathering data during the PCRA helped some community members “come to terms with the condition of the environment.”  Community members voiced similar feelings after conducting their first reef check assessment in which they compared marine life inside the sanctuary and marine life outside the sanctuary.  Several community members testified that after seeing the contrast they understood more fully the potential that proper coastal resource management has for improving the marine environment and replenishing resources.  

     Since consciousness raising is a continual process, the CRMP staff schedule several lectures and workshops each month to discuss local environmental issues and strategies for more effective resource management.  Maria and Pedro organize these events that reinforce previous learning and aim to broaden the understanding of the connections between the quality of life and the quality of the environment.  Theresa adds that CRMP determinedly encourages the community members to think of solutions to environmental problems, plan strategies to address environmental issues, and reflect on the implementation of programs.  A core group of community members have emerged as leaders in the campaign for better resource management.  Along with CRMP staff members, these community members actively participate in development planning meetings at the barangay and municipal levels.

      To effectively guide the coastal resource management process CRMP and other development organizations need to be aware of the community issues and the feelings of the community members.  Therefore, the IEC staff collects periodic data from consultations, focus groups and discussions.  Maria asserts that the interactive information gathering methods give the local residents a more secure feeling that they have an informed role in the decision-making process.  She explains that inclusion of community members in the needs-assessment and development of activities promotes a feeling of program ownership. 

The Role of Community Organizers in the Empowerment Process

Whenever CRMP’s community organizers, Pedro and Maria, arrive in the island villages they are welcomed with smiles.  Children follow them as they make their way through the narrow village paths stopping to greet everyone and exchange the latest news.  In the years Maria has been working with the fisherfolk, she has grow to be part of the island family.  Although Pedro has only been working in the Olango area for about a year, his experience as a social worker and an activist have enabled him to quickly gain the confidence of the locals.  Many of the island youth view Maria and Pedro as role models.  This respect is useful in organizing youth groups to take part in environmental awareness events and activities.

     The adult community also relies on the community organizers for guidance in planning events, mobilizing non-participants, and networking for new collective arrangements.  There is a consensus among the active members that Maria and Pedro have been vital in building a collective effort to address environmental issues.  This collective effort gives change to the process of deciding common goals. 

     Pedro describes the process of deciding common goals as “tedious” because of the “strong cultural silence” that community members maintain when NGOs or development agencies first come to a site.  He says that the people may be aware of various environmental issues in their municipalities, but they are afraid to speak out or mobilize to address the issues.  Pedro feels that community organizers have to begin by building a trust with the community so the people “will have the confidence to verbalize their issues and the courage to take action.”  According to Pedro, it is not enough that community organizers build trust and confidence; they must also provide advice and feedback on how the community can proceed effectively in clearly identifying their goals. 

     Maria states part of her role as a community organizer is to help ensure the decision making process is one of “informed decision making.”  She works to keep the community informed about local political, social and environmental information.  The information exchange also works in the reciprocal route.  Maria conducts periodic interviews, consultations and focus group discussions to gather information about the community for the CRMP staff.  She believes the community members feel a greater sense of ownership when they have a voice in deciding common goals for resource management.

     In the Olango area, community organizers strengthen the organizational base by going home-to-home telling families about the purpose of specific programs. They also periodically run workshops to raise consciousness about issues affecting the health of the community and the health of the environment.  Finally, community organizers help in brainstorming ideas on how to respond to specific issues.  They are critical in the process of providing feedback on organizational development, organizational leadership and enterprise development.

Decision-Making, Change and Resistance

The data CRMP and community organizers collect in the consultations, focus groups and discussions is useful in developing a strategy to better meet the needs and goals of the community.  Maria refers to this as part of the process for informative decision-making.  Consequently, through the guidance of CRMP the community is then able to develop strategies toward achieving their goals. 

     Specific community goals may become part of the barangay level development plan, which in turn serves as input for the larger municipal plan.  A series of all-day workshops have brought together government officials, CRMP representatives, PBSP representatives, and representatives living on Olango to discuss coastal resource management strategies and plan for more sustainable interaction with the environment.  CRMP and PBSP lobby on behalf of the island residents to include coastal resource management in the wider political agenda.  As large organizations, CRMP and PBSP are able to provide institutional support for the proponents of coastal resource management on Olango.  An example of this is how these organizations try to pressure political leaders at the municipal level to reconsider plans for land reclamation that could negatively impact the coastal environment in the Olango area.  Since these lobbying efforts involve leaders from the island communities, there is a greater sense of community competence to continue dialogue on environmental issues with the municipal government.

     However, not all the residents on the islands welcome the change CRMP is promoting.  Theresa recalled that there was some resistance from the community when the bird sanctuary was initially declared a national wetland in 1992.  Still today, many island residents feel they receive no benefits from the tourists visiting the sanctuary.

     Additionally, CRMP’s measures to stop illegal fishing in the area have not been completely effective in modifying behavior among all illegal fishermen.  Therefore, some fisherfolk remain intransigent.  Often the initial reaction to consciousness raising efforts about the poor condition of the coastal environment has been one of denial.  The CRMP informant explains that some island residents maintain an “It’s not us; it’s them” attitude and blame other groups for dynamite fishing and illegal mangrove cutting.  The campaign to eradicate illegal fishing has also created a feeling among some fisherfolk that if they cannot fish using illegal methods, then the aid agencies and the government should provide for them and their families. 

     Likewise, on Gilutongan, the initial attempts at designating a specific area as a marine sanctuary and making it off-limits to fishing were not received well by some of the local fishermen.  Joseph recalls the general reaction,  People didn’t like us telling them they could no longer fish in a place where their fathers and their fathers’ fathers had fished.”  Joseph explains that one of his challenges has been to get local fishermen to understand that one of the basic reasons for establishing a sanctuary is to aid in the replenishment of fish populations and coral covering that have dwindled due to inappropriate fishing methods.  As fish populations and coral increase within the sanctuary, marine life in adjacent areas also becomes more abundant.  Joseph’s wife, Rachael, and several of their daughters who are active members of the Gilutongan Women’s Group campaign for community support of the sanctuary by informally discussing the benefits of a marine sanctuary with neighboring fishermen and their families.

    Some island residents are leery of aid agencies and government workers regarding them as outsiders.  Theresa explains that a history of broken promises that have created a distrust of government for many island residents.  Some residents claim loopholes in the legal system allow those with influence to circumvent environmental regulations.  Others blame corruption for the ill fate of past aid projects.  There is also a distrust of private investors with plans to develop tourist accommodations.  One example of a private investment that has marginalized the people living on Gilutongan is a small, exclusive resort that caters to wealthy tourists.  Although a few locals were allowed to work on the construction of the resort, no locals currently work there.  The resort requires employees to have a high school education, however, Gilutongan does not have a high school so few of the local residents have high school degrees.

     Paulo, the IMA community organizer, theorizes that resistance to outside intervention of coastal resource management is common with any project.  He says that as long as the resistance is limited to a small percentage of the people, the resistance is unlikely to jeopardize the project.  Paulo adds that in the Olango area, the resistance is usually passive because the island residents take a “Wait and see” attitude toward new projects.  As an example, he discusses the early stages of the coral farm.  The initial reaction from the community was that the project would not involve the local residents because a German national had initiated the implementation.  Therefore, from the start, the IMA was on the defensive in regards to the coral farm.  However, as the project has grown, management has been turned over to local residents augmenting interest in expanding the coral farm as an alternative livelihood for the families of reformed illegal fishermen.

Women’s Involvement in the Evolution of the Program

From the initial planning of the PCRA training, the participation of women in the coastal resource management process has contributed to the direction of the program.  Women have widened the perspective for gathering information, analyzing data, planning activities, and making decisions for the protection and conservation of coastal resources.  The inclusion of women in this process allows women to voice their concerns and give their perspective on how environmental issues affect the community.  That voice has uniquely shaped the process to better address the needs of women in the community.

     The Women living near the Olango Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary have been pivotal in developing the cultural interaction section of the eco-tour.  Several of the women are very active in the business management of the eco-tour project.  With the help of the CRMP enterprise development staff, these women have been learning various skills needed to effectively run a tour business.  These skills include the sales and promotion of the tour to attract customers as well as budgeting and accounting.

     The women’s involvement in the eco-tour on Gilutongan has not been as successful as on Olango Island because the Gilutongan part of the eco-tour is restricted to the marine sanctuary.  Therefore, the tourists rarely enter the island as they do on Olango.  Several members expressed a growing sense of apathy within the organization.  They reasoned this was primarily because of their limited opportunity to generate revenue from the sanctuary visitors.  However, there are plans to involve the Gilutongan women when tourists arrive at the sanctuary guardhouse.  The plan has been for the women to help in catering and selling souvenirs or T-shirts.  Although another idea has been for the women to entertain tourists by giving walking tours around the island, some community informants feel that waning interest among the women on Gilutongan to get involved in the eco-tour have kept the plans from materializing.

     Members of the Cawoy women’s group are active in the development of the coral farm.  They work closely with Paulo and local IMA employees.  In groups, the women take part in attaching coral transplants to limestone blocks with wire and make mesh nets used in anchoring the corals to the sea floor.  It is a social activity in which the participants exchange ideas for community betterment and resource management.  After the coral is attached and the nets are made, the IMA divers plant the blocks on the sea bottom.

     The group has grown out of the community shell crafters whose incomes have suffered from degradation to the coastal environment.  In this way the IMA has built upon an existing organization and uses the existing skills and knowledge of the women in coastal resource management activities.  Their close relationship with the coastal environment and acute awareness of the condition of the resources motivates members of this neighborhood women’s group to attend local political meetings ensuring that conservation, management and enterprise development are on the agenda.

Individual Change in the Empowerment Process

On a micro level, the empowerment process involves individual attitudinal and behavioral change.  Although the process of individual change differs from person to person, one person’s increased awareness of environmental issues can effect change in others through sharing knowledge about the environment.  Bonds between individuals develop and strengthen the influence of socially valued pursuits.  Momentum grows with the collective efforts of a group to raise consciousness about environmental issues for a renegotiation of environmentally harmful behaviors. 

     Testimony from key informants and residents of the Olango area provide a variety of perspectives on attitudinal and behavioral change.  This section uses a range of those perspectives to illustrate general characteristics of change at both a local and a personal level.  The accounts follow a somewhat chronological order culminating with two individuals’ self-reported recollection of personal change in developing an environmental ethic as a standard for behavior.

     Although the PCRA training was a definitive point of enlightenment for some participants, Joseph recalls that the reaction of many locals to the PCRA was “Ah, it is useless. It is wasting our time.”  Joseph credits the community organizers for their perseverance in continuing to recruit people to participate.  In spite of the passive resistance for some residents, the community organizers were able to recruit enough participants to make the event a success.  Joseph also recalls the barangay captain was indifferent to the PCRA, but politely decline to participate.  In the few years since the initial PCRA, the barangay captain has become a supporter of coastal resource management.  However, Joseph explains that the barangay captain’s pride and public endorsement for the marine sanctuary have come only since the barangay recently received approximately US$ 2,000 for its share in the sanctuary revenues. The revenues are divided 30% for the barangay and 70% for the municipal government with specific guidelines for using the funds.

     Thersa echoes Joseph’s perspective with her claim that there is a growing trend on Gilutongan to view the marine sanctuary as a community resource.  Increasing support for the sanctuary arises from the realization that it has economic value for the community because it can provide tourist revenue and aid in the natural replenishment of fish populations along adjacent coastline.  According to Theresa, this realization has changed past cynics of the sanctuary into current supporters.  She says that although people once had a “wait and see” attitude, the success of the sanctuary has now moved the people to contribute their share.  She adds that most importantly the barangay captain is now proud of the sanctuary because the barangay captain’s support is essential in order to expand the focus of environmentalism to include a wider political agenda.

     Pride in the sanctuary is most evident among those that work as vendors, snorkeling guides and caretakers.  Although some of their pride is a product of the benefits they receive from the project, much of it comes from their sense of accomplishment.  They relish the fact that their group efforts have turned a protected section of coastline into a popular recreational dive site for foreign tourists.  Many of the active members also expressed a sense of individual accomplishment at having received certificates for the tour guide training and PCRA training.    

     Rex’s perspective on change at a local level brings attention to former illegal fishermen that are now actively pursuing alternative livelihoods. Rex sees the reformed dynamite fishermen as the most obvious examples of individual change.  Many of the paddlers and vendors working on the eco-tour are former dynamite fishers.  The development of eco-tourism as an alternative livelihood enterprise affords these fishermen an opportunity to earn a living while making a commitment to promote environmentally friendly behavior through their own actions.  Although dynamite fishing continues in the area, these reformed fishermen are both role models and agents of change for the eradication of such illegal fishing practices.

     Sandra and Diego, a science teacher, provide a perspective on how the area coastal resource management efforts have effected change in some of the Olango youth.  Both feel that consciousness raising efforts in the Tingo High School have had at least minimal impact on the youth.  They described one of their more critical teaching moments as happening during an environmental activity at the beach.  The students were counting dynamite blasts as Sandra and Diego lead a discussion on how illegal fishing destroys the environment, ultimately effecting the local fishing industry.  At first, many students were indifferent to the blasts because some of their fathers are dynamite fishermen.  During the discussion, the students showed signs that they were beginning to understand some of the deeper cause-and-effect implications of environmentally inappropriate behavior.  They began asking questions and Sandra reports the discussion turned to why some fishermen use dynamite.  With some reluctance, several students admitted that members of their families were dynamite fishermen.  One student verbally expressed his new perspective on illegal fishing and vowed to share the knowledge he gained from the discussion with his relatives in the fishing industry.  Other students agreed they would do the same.

     Diego feels that in his time working in the Tingo high schools the students have been progressively showing signs of developing an environmental ethic in their behavior.  He says that in conversation they are able to discuss local environmental issues such as illegal mangrove cutting and the importance of coral reefs.  They also make posters in art class to promote environmental awareness through in the school community.  Finally, Sandra’s efforts in promoting waste management have prompted the Tingo schools to begin separating trash for recycling.

     Consciousness raising efforts in schools may contribute to developing an environmental ethic in youths; however, some locals attest to having always had an understanding of the links between a healthy environment and a healthy life.  Although not necessarily typical, Joseph represents the type of person who remembers being aware of coastal environment issues at an early age. Having tacit knowledge of the detrimental effects of blast fishing, Joseph asserts he has never used dynamite since he began fishing at age thirteen.  He recalls how plentiful fish were when he was a young boy in the 1950s.  Fishing with his father, he saw the average catch in the area decline from 20 kilograms per day to 2 kilograms per day.  As a young man, he was forced to go on long fishing trips to earn money to feed his growing family.  However, Joseph had a brush with death when pirates confiscated his boat during a raid on a fishing village.  Although he escaped without physical injury, the incident was terrifying enough to detour him from going on long fishing trips that would keep him away from his family for months at a time.

     Joseph recalls the changes he went through that led to his guardianship of the marine sanctuary on Gilutongan began with attending workshops and seminars on the detrimental effects of illegal fishing. After learning about marine sanctuaries, he went to Apo Island to visit the highly acclaimed marine sanctuary there.  With the help of the Cebu Resource Management Office, Joseph and his supporters were able to designate a ten-hectare area as the original marine sanctuary.  Joseph volunteered to patrol and guard the sanctuary from violators for several years before finally being given the paid position of program director.  Not all his nights of vigilance have been silent.  Up to several times a month there is some sort of confrontation.  Most are resolved quickly, others may require the barangay captain’s mediation.  However, Joseph’s constant guard and the growing support for the sanctuary from the community have reduced the number of violations in the sanctuary and surrounding buffer zone. 

     Joseph’s pride and dedication to the sanctuary are infectious.  The vendors and guides waiting for dive boats full of tourists speak with affection for their sanctuary.  Their hard work at maintaining the sanctuary and their vigilance to keep it safe from dynamite fishermen are proclamation that their bonds to this community project go beyond the limits of their income.  Joseph even jokes that the guardhouse is his first house.  Although he was impressed enough with the Apo Island Sanctuary to build one for the community on Gilutongan, he believes that in time the Gilutongan sanctuary is going to be more successful and more beautiful.

     Despite Joseph’s dedication to preserving and protecting the coastal environment, some local traditions conflict with more global issues.  An example of this conflict is the collecting of turtle eggs.  Although turtles are an endangered species, local islanders believe find a nest of buried eggs to be good fortune and good food.  During the reef check several locals found a nest of about 120 turtle eggs.  Joseph and his neighbors understood this to be a fortunate occasion because many people could enjoy the healthy delicacy.  However, from a global perspective, sea turtles are a protected species and the eggs should not be bothered.  Joseph reasons that the men had taken the eggs because “the turtle left them there and probably wouldn’t come back.”  This is instinctual behavior for turtles; the mother always leaves when she has safely buried her eggs.  After learning that protecting the sea turtle population is an important environmental issue, Joseph explained that he would discuss the issue with the men and try to persuade them to return half the eggs to the nest as a compromise.

     As mentioned above, individuals may have very different accounts of personal experiences that lead to a greater affinity with the environment.  In contrast to Joseph’s early concerns, Saul is more characteristic of a convert to environmental ethics.  Unlike Joseph, Saul did not have the tacit knowledge about environmental issues nor fully understand the consequences of environmental inappropriate behavior.  Saul learned how to use sodium cyanide while free diving to catch exotic fish for the tropical pet industry at age eleven.  Although his father would sometimes rely on cyanide fishing to earn a living, Saul learned the techniques from fishing with some the older boys.  It was a way to earn some extra spending money during the southern monsoons that hit the area between May and August.

     In his teens, Saul was fascinated by the foreigners that would come to his village to see the migratory birds nesting and feeding in mangroves and mudflats.  Although most of the villagers were too shy to talk to the hunters, backpackers and occasional scientists, Saul revealed in meeting them.  He would offer to take them on tours of the wetland area that has since been declared a sanctuary.  Sometimes the hunters would fill several sacks with their kill.  They would eat some of the birds with Saul’s friends and others the hunters would keep to be stuffed for wall trophies.  Ironically, his own experience at hunting birds with a slingshot taught him much about their migratory and nesting habits, therefore qualifying him as an ideal freelance tour guide for scientists, as well as hunters.

     As a freelance tour guide, Saul learned about other countries and other cultures.  His perspective on the world grew and from some visitors he learned that the unique mangrove area in his backyard is a vital nesting and resting haven for thousands of birds on their transcontinental migrations.  Through informally exchanging information with amateur ornithologists and botanists, Saul was able to gradually understand the fragility and importance of his local environment.  He recalls this gradual understanding at age sixteen coincided with the designation of the mangrove area as an international wetland and Ramsar site.  At that time, there was much discussion among his neighbors about the local environmental issues, because the government and several NGOs began showing more interest in coastal management issues.  Saul recalls that while some people welcomed the intervention, others felt threatened.  Saul describes the opposing arguments as coming from illegal fishermen who felt outsiders were infringing on their right to earn a living from the sea.  Some demanded that in order for them to give up their illegal fishing activities, the government and NGOs must provide them with an alternative source of income to care for their families’ needs.

     To learn more, Saul attended a conference for the designation of the wetlands as a Ramsar site.  He recalls the conference as a baptismal experience that prompted him to make a personal commitment to protect and preserve the environment.  Essentially, he began to realize how his community relies on the environment for survival; therefore, the community has a responsibility to protect the environmental resources for future generations.  He continued to attend local coastal resource management meetings and even enrolled in a university to study marine biology; however, financial problems prevented him from ever attending classes.

     Perhaps, some of the same qualities that helped Saul profit from environmentally inappropriate behavior in his teens have been re-channeled to further consciousness raising efforts about coastal environment issues.  Saul’s youthfulness, friendly disposition, commitment to learning and ability to share his knowledge with others make him a candidate for leadership in the coastal resource management efforts.  Completing the PCRA training and the tour guide training gives him additional skills and knowledge to share with neighbors and visitors.  He is one of the most active participants in the eco-tourism project and a role model for youth in area.  Saul’s participation in the collective effort for coastal resource management has prompted his additional involvement as a political campaign worker and a volunteer vote counter in the municipal and national elections.

     According to Saul, the resistance to outside intervention has quelled and today there is a general acceptance and feeling of gratitude for CRMP, NGO and government efforts in coastal resource management.  He reports that support for coastal resource management has grown strong enough to sustain community efforts even after CRMP has pulled out of the area.  Most people in the community have begun to view the sanctuary as a legacy to pass on to their children.  However, Saul admits, to do that his generation must learn and practice effective coastal management.  Otherwise, he fears his children will only see the birds, mangroves and coral in textbooks. 

The Impact of Coastal Resource Management on the Environment

Perhaps, one challenge in trying to develop an environmental consciousness in a community is that the rewards are not immediate.  Especially for those who rely on the coastal environment for their daily sustenance, the natural replenishment of resources may come too gradually.  Several decades of over fishing and using destructive methods have damaged the coastal area so severely that it will take many years to heal.  Since some illegal fishermen still use these destructive methods, an even greater challenge is to keep faithful participants from feeling their efforts are futile.  Therefore, even the smallest indications of improved coastal conditions are reasons for optimism among the proponents for coastal resource management.

     The increase in coral cover and growing fish populations within the Gilutongan Marine sanctuary are the most obvious improvement to the environment.  Comparing the data collected in the sampling surveys of marine life from a series of reef checks indicates that coral cover has increased significantly in the sanctuary and in the surrounding buffer zone.  CRMP’s most recent analysis of the data show a 25% increase in live coral and a 70% increase in the abundance of target species of fish within the Gilutongan Marine Sanctuary from 1999 to 2000 (Ross et al, 2001).  However, between 1998 and 1999 the warm El Nino currents had caused a coral bleaching phenomenon reducing live coral cover by almost ten percent. 

     The unofficial results of the March 2001 reef check indicate a continued steady increase for both coral and fish inside the sanctuary as well as in the adjacent buffer zone.  Furthermore, the anecdotal testimonies from local free divers, scuba divers and coast guard officials all add promise and optimism that the sanctuary reef is beginning to reblossom.  Although there is evidence of dynamite fishing in adjacent areas, the only coral rubble evidence in the sanctuary in years old and slowly disappearing with time. 

      Unfortunately, in other areas around Olango there are daily incidents of blast fishing.  The sea grass beds are spotted with barren areas reaching ten meters in diameter from the blasts.  Fresh coral rubble on nearly ever part of the reef gives further evidence that dynamite fishing continues to destroy the coastal environment.  Participants in the coastal management efforts are saddened when they see evidence of dynamite fishing or hear the blasts.  However, instead of becoming discouraged, most participants realize that continued destruction to the environment means that even greater efforts to promote coastal resource management are needed.

     During the May fiesta and the annual elections, former residents return to Olango to vote and spend the holiday with family and friends.  One woman who had fond memories of growing up on the “beautiful island” but who has since moved to Cebu City, described her annual returns as a retreat from the stress and pressure of the city.  Although she referred to Gilutongan as a beautiful island, she admitted that every year the impoverished living conditions for the island residents grow worse.  She believes this is primarily due to the rapidly increasing population.  Voicing her fears that “there will be no fish for the next generation” the woman blamed illegal fishing for the demise of the local fishing industry.

     Accounts from locals indicate that illegal cutting of mangroves has been minimized.  Community members report that in the past there were many people involved in mangrove cutting to supply fuel for cooking, but recently it is a rare occurrence to see someone selling fuel from illegally cut mangroves.  Although consciousness efforts may be one factor the contributed the behavioral change, the increased use of alternative energy sources, such as propane and electric generators, have also been a contributing factor. 

Other Factors in Developing a Common Environmental Ethic

Thus far the data have presented a case describing how social interaction aids in the dissemination of environmental knowledge and how that knowledge can effect change individually and collectively.  Collective effort reinforces shared values and vice versa.  Although collective effort may have reciprocal implications for developing a shared environmental ethic, there are other factors that contribute to a community’s ability to sustainably manage common environmental resources.  Additional data help to describe how other factors can contribute or hinder either the attitudinal development or the behavioral manifestation of an environmental ethic.  These factors include education, money, law enforcement and land tenure.

Education

Poverty and low high school completion rates combine to limit the formal education of most island residents.  Consequently, literacy levels are low; thus, increasing the need for direct communication.  Despite the added logistically difficulties of maintaining direct communication in awareness campaigns, Theresa explains that it is necessary because many people in the community are “less inclined to read.”  Therefore, relying on printed material to raise awareness of environmental issues is not enough to reach the all members of the community.  Low literacy levels deem it necessary for community organizers to interact with as many people in the community as possible during consciousness raising efforts.  

     Low levels of attainment in the formal education system create gaps in background knowledge about the connections between health and the environment.  Without basic science education, it is difficult for some island residents to understand the intricate connections between health and the environment.  Several examples illustrate this point.  First, the on-the-water fish trap restaurants pose sewage problems on the north side of Olango.  Only one out of three actually has a septic tank.  The lack of a septic tank could be a problem if people (workers/customers) defecate in the toilet because the sewage goes under the restaurant where the restaurants keep their live crabs and fish in traps.  Although the actual risk is low, a possibility exists that the consumption of the fish and shellfish raised near the raw sewage will contribute to the spread of diseases such as hepatitis, typhoid, or cholera.

     A second example comes from a youth informant who has two cousins who are active cyanide fishermen.  She explained that they started using cyanide to catch fish for sale to middlemen in the pet industry; however, the income is not steady because they do not always find the colorful tropical reef fish that are marketable.  When their business is bad, they result to catching common edible varieties of fish using cyanide for their own personal consumption.  She further explained that they believe if they cover the cook fish with onions and garlic the residual cyanide in the fish will not harm them. 

     A final example of how local residents fail to make the connections between health and the environment comes from Sandra.  Sandra reports that few people she had talked to during her stay actually understood that proper waste management can reduce the threat of dengue fever.  She explains that the commonly-seen unattended trash heaps become breeding grounds for mosquitoes; and mosquitoes carry the potentially fatal dengue virus.  Although it is difficult to assess people’s understanding of environmental issues, it is reasonable to postulate that the lack of background knowledge needed to make the connections between health and the environment are a result of low levels of educational attainment.  The implication here is that coastal resource management should include an element of health education.

Money

Perhaps, the most ubiquitous factor that affects the behavioral change needed to effectively manage environmental resources is money.  From a broad perspective, those with money usually desire more; and those with little or no money seek the quickest familiar methods to meet their daily needs.  Fishing companies, large boat owners, pet trade middlemen, shell craft middlemen, resort developers, and tour companies are part of the first group.  It is this group that often puts profits before environmental concerns.  It is also this group that dangles the carrot in front of the desperately impoverished second group by offering monetary incentives to engage in environmentally inappropriate activities.  The short-term rewards for the poor reinforce behaviors that damage the coastal environment. Money itself, with the necessities and pleasures it can buy, is an incentive to make more money.  That incentive drives people to make more money faster; sometimes, without considering long-term consequences for the environment. 

     Although money is an incentive to plunder resources, it can also be an incentive to manage resources.  Profiting from resource management takes much longer than profiting form exploiting resources.  However, if people do not understand that the two approaches to profiting from resources differ in their environmental effects, then the quickest approach to making money would be the most desirable.  Several CRMP informants believe that the desperation of poverty prevents many illegal fishermen from understanding the potential long-term benefits of coastal resource management, and consequently, opt to satisfy their daily needs.  One informant summarized the dilemma of getting people to accept long term plans for coastal resource management in a question, “How can they think about five years from now when they are worried about what they are going to have for dinner tonight?”

     Several informants including teachers and CRMP staff members believe that poverty adds to the “get rich quick” fantasy that is prevalent among many residents.  The informants base their claims on observations such as the widespread gambling among villagers that risk a day’s earnings in a card game.  Another example that supports the “get rich quick” mentality comes from local residents discussing the population growth on the islands.  Some local informants explain that having a lot of children increases the chances that one child will be financially successful and take care of the rest of the family. 

     These examples have mixed implications for the CRMP enterprise development projects.  The first implication is that the behavior of illegal fishermen poses specific challenges because with a “get rich quick” mentality they are more apt to opt for short-term rewards in spite of long term effects.  The second implication is that if the eco-tour business sustains its success, competing groups may form to jump on the bandwagon.  The unfortunate aspect of that could be the under cutting of prices and inability to regulate the flow of tourists in an environmentally fragile area.  A similar situation is already happening on the north shore of Olango.  The success of one on-the-water, fish trap restaurant has sparked the establishment of several more.  To avoid this catch 22 situation, the enterprise development division of CRMP and PBSB have plans to expand the focus on alternative livelihoods to include occupational training.  

     Proponents of coastal resource management also have adversaries among those who are able to understand long-term development plans.  There has been an ongoing debate over proposals to reclaim land for a port and shopping mall from large wetland areas on the south end of Mactan Island.  Supporters of the plan argue that it will have long term economic benefits that can translate into alternative livelihood for present day illegal fishermen; whereas, environmentalists worry that the effects to the local coastal area could be detrimental.

     Another challenge in getting local island residents to consider long-term resource management plans is the absence of an “ownership” feeling that can be a foundation for stewardship responsibilities.  This is the land tenure issue on Olango.  Demographic results from the Olango PCRA indicate that between eighty and ninety percent of the population are not land owners.  Most people are living on the land of absentee owners and could legally be evicted at anytime.  Some local informants describe themselves as “squatters,” and feel that the threat of eviction hinders motivation to invest time and effort into environmental protection for the future.  From her years of working with the fisherfolk, Thersa also believes that the lack of ownership diminishes locals’ feelings of responsibility to care for the coastal environment.  Some locals feel that if it is not their land, it is not their responsibility to take care of it, but rather, the responsibility of the “rich” landowners themselves.  Therefore, the lack of land ownership is another challenge that community leaders face in their attempts to foster community stewardship and gain local support for coastal resource management. 

     Money also determines the effectiveness of law enforcement.  The relationship between poverty and corruption is evident in the daily newspaper stories about pay offs and bribes throughout the Philippines.  However, even honest law enforcement officials are restricted from doing an effective job because the agencies lack the proper resources to combat illegal activities in coastal areas.  The inability to afford necessary equipment to patrol coastal areas that are popular with dynamite fishermen only frustrates having to compete with profitable illegal activities.  One Australian boat operator residing on Mactan Island jokingly claims the only time he sees the Coast Guard is when they are asking him for fuel donations.  Members of the Coast Guard admit that the lack of funds for boat fuel is a major restriction in trying to enforce existing laws.  

Law Enforcement

Although lack of funds may be one factor affecting the ability to enforce the law, other factors further complicate the problem.  Since family loyalty is emphasized in Filipino culture, family ties between the person enforcing the law and the person breaking the law create a conflict of interest.  In the Olango area, there have been several incidents in which law enforcement officials or community leaders have pleaded for leniency in cases involving their extended family members or neighbors accused of dynamite fishing.  Family ties to accused dynamite fisherman, coupled with the threat of stiff fines or prison time for the crime, readily evoke enough sympathy to release the violator with only a warning.  Even if the offence only merits a fine, it is difficult to collect from an illegal fisherman that can barely feed his family.

     The Coast guard has discussed plans to establish a reward system for informants that turn in dynamite fishermen.  This would be financial incentive for locals to put pressure on their neighbors who break the law.  However, skeptics of the plan claim that fear of retaliation may keep people from coming forward to give information.

     Additionally, law enforcement officials claim to have little power in enforcing laws that prevent illegal commercial fishing in the municipal waters.  Since funding problems limit the Coast Guard’s ability to patrol the area, commercial fishers know there is little risk of being cited for illegally dropping their nets in restricted areas.  Therefore, illegal commercial boats that fish in the Olango area waters are putting the local law abiding fisherman at an additional disadvantage and encouraging illegal methods to compete for the dwindling resources. 

      Law enforcement officials trying to enforce environmental legislation are frustrated with their limitations.  Consequently, they are seeking partnerships with local resorts to share in the funding of concentrated efforts to apprehend and prosecute those who violate laws protecting coastal resources.  Several resorts in the area have offered to provide the authorities with monetary and technical assistance in an effort to put pressure on all illegal activities in the area.  However, protecting the coastal resources to maintain a beautiful destination for foreign tourists is not the primary motivation for the resorts’ assistance.  In lieu of political friction and tourist kidnappings in other parts of the Philippines, the future of Mactan area resorts may depend on effective the authorities are in ensuring the area is a safe and desirable destination for foreign tourists.

The Global Environment

Although the research scope for this study involved collecting data on community coastal resource management efforts in the Olango area, there are factors on a national and global level that may effect the Olango coastal environment.  Wind and ocean currents can disperse air and water pollution from large urban coastal areas throughout the central Philippines.  The brownish haze from vehicle emissions that sets over Mactan Island and Cebu City is evidence of poor air quality from the traffic that crowds the city streets less then 10 kilometers from rural Olango.  The daily tides dump plastic bags and other floating debris on the Olango shores.  Presumably, chemicals and other waste dumped into the oceans also reach the unique shores of Olango.  To address these more global issues of coastal resource management requires not just cooperation at a local level, but a unity among coastal communities that empowers environmentalists to effect behavioral change at a national, a global and a big business level.

The Natural Elements

Weather is an uncontrollable, and for the most part, unpredictable factor that may effect not only the dissemination of environmental information, but also the condition of the environment.  Monsoons storms and their aftermaths can delay projects, postpone workshops and cancel eco-tours.  Other weather conditions including the tropical heat sometimes contribute to low attendance at meetings and activities.  Basically, the weather is an additional challenge to face for community leaders as they do the campaign legwork while trying to get support for local environmental causes.  Furthermore, severe El Nino conditions are likely to increase the area of coral reef that suffers from bleaching due to warm water temperatures as well as affect the presence of fish populations that follow warm or cold currents.

The Response of the Greater Community to Change

Although a number of factors influence the success of coastal resource management, the most important is the response of the greater community to change.  In the years that CRMP has been working with the residents of Olango and the surrounding islets, support has steadily grown.  Consciousness raising efforts have been successful in increasing awareness about environmental issues throughout the community and more importantly changing attitudes and behavior of those actively participating in the collective effort for coastal resource management.  The power of their collective effort through mobilization and organization is being manifested in the community’s growing voice at the municipal government’s resource management meetings. 

     However, the intransigence of some fisherfolk is evidence of resistance to change and opposition to coastal resource management.  This resistance presents a challenge for the proponents of coastal resource management because the refusal by some to give up illegal activities that damage the environment offsets the successes of the organization.  Converting those who are still skeptical about the benefits of coastal resource management can help to ensure the sustainability of the community efforts.  Despite the slow process of change, the successes to date are reasons to be optimistic that the people of Olango are developing a community-wide environmental ethic that can ensure future generations will have the ability to meet their needs while maintaining a symbiotic relationship with the marine environment.

 

 

 

 

 

“Everybody want a better future

So we got to stop destroying the nature

Every single one of us here want to survive

So we got to do the right things to stay alive

We wanna live we wanna love we wanna see what life is worth

The children wanna love they wanna live to see what life is worth”

 

Jimmy Cliff

From “Save Our Planet Earth”

 

 

Chapter 6

Discussion and Implications

Jimmy Cliff’s lyrics melodically paraphrase the call for change that is a common cry in environmental movements.  Without this change, the survival of future generations is in question.  Whether the strategy for that change is “think global and act local” or “think local and act global”, the goal remains the same:  Modifying behavior to ensure the present generation is able to meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.  Coastal communities throughout the Philippines working together with CRMP and other aid agencies blend both strategies in an attempt to foster an environmental ethic that will influence behavior and guide sustainable development.  CRMP has a global perspective and a local focus.  The island residents on Olango have a local perspective; however, their actions are a summons for people around the globe to address environmental issues for a better future.

     This final chapter begins with a brief summary of coastal resource management in the Olango learning area followed by key findings of the case study.  Matching those key findings with the theoretical frameworks mentioned in Chapter 2 facilitates an understanding of the issues and factors that influence coastal resource management.  Discussing the key findings in context of aforementioned theories reveals how applicable each theory is to the case of Olango.  That discussion gives rise to considerations for future theoretical and practical research.  The chapter ends with a few concluding statements on the importance of environmental education as one strategy in development aid.  

Summary

Using qualitative data this study explains community efforts to nurture an environmental ethic of stewardship in the management of coastal resources.  As a case study of a community-based coastal resource management program, this dissertation adds to the body of literature on how acquisition and learning of environmentally appropriate behavior takes place through increased knowledge and attitudinal change.  Social learning theories frame possible avenues for exchange of environmental knowledge and information.  Organizational learning theories lend insight into how learning takes place within and among organizations.  The historical, experiential and political aspects of ecofeminist theory help to frame the process of community empowerment, a necessary step in the behavioral change process.  As tools for empowerment, community-based environmental programs stress the importance of education to promote attitudinal and behavioral change.

Key Findings

The study specifically explains how CRMP mobilizes community members in the Olango area to collectively work for coastal resource management.  The CRMP initiatives include consciousness raising campaigns about environmental issues, enterprise development for an alternative livelihood, and strategic planning for law enforcement.

     The CRMP multisectoral approach to consciousness raising emphasizes information, education, and communication.  A synthesis of these three areas solidifies an approach that intends to fortify the roots of a community environmental ethic through the dissemination of information.  The IEC strategy is to begin the consciousness raising process with an assessment of environmental resources and related local issues.  This is the Participatory Coastal Resource Assessment (PCRA) and involves participants form CRMP, NGOs, LGUs, universities and the local community.  The gathering of data during the PCRA also strengthens the bonds of collective effort.  In the Olango area, CRMP and community leaders use the assessment data to plan strategies for stewardship of the environment.  Involving community members in the planning process is a step toward empowerment.  Since CRMP aims to promote community empowerment in the management of coastal resources, community organizers encourage participation from all members of the community.  Men, women, and youth join together in a collective effort to assess resources and disseminate information about local environmental issues.  CRMP acknowledges and values women’s contributions in knowledge and their position as potential agents of attitudinal and behavioral change.

     In an attempt to persuade illegal fishermen to cease their practices, CRMP’s Enterprise Development division works with local island residents in the building and promoting of an eco-tour business.  The CRMP staff provides the participants with tour guide training, business management assistance and technological support.  In addition to being an alternative source of income for some island residents, ecotourism also provides an opportunity for cultural exchange between the locals and the tour guests.  Although the ecotours provide supplementary income for approximately thirty families, the financial rewards fall short of answering the hunger pangs from all Olango’s fisherfolk.  Therefore, CRMP is studying additional possibilities for alternative livelihoods, such as seaweed farming.

     Another problem in trying to eliminate illegal fishing in the Olango area is the lack of effective law enforcement.  Inadequate funding and outdated technology put the coast guard and other law enforcement agencies at a disadvantage.  Moreover, family ties often complicate prosecuting offenders; hence, most cases result only in a warning after pleading from other family members.  CRMP holds workshops and seminars with law enforcement agencies to raise awareness of laws protecting the coastal environment as well as discuss strategies to discourage illegal fishing activities. 

     Ranging from published reports and articles to word-of-mouth communication, social interaction is a vehicle in the dissemination of environmental knowledge and information.  Social interaction plays a pivotal role in that dissemination, both horizontally (i.e., organization to organization; individual to individual), and vertically (i.e., organization to individual and vice versa).  Community organizers and community leaders are essential as information bridges because they facilitate inter-organizational communication.  However, just as social interaction can lead to the acquisition of proactive environmental attitudes and behaviors, it can also result in the imitation of environmentally inappropriate behavior. Additionally, other factors such as education level, money, law enforcement and land tenure affect how successful collective efforts are in instilling an environmental ethic in the community. 

    

General Conclusions

“Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I may remember.  Involve me and I learn.” Reflecting again on these words from Benjamin Franklin, their meaning holds a special relevance for community-based coastal resource management.  CRMP’s approach of involving members of the community in an environmental awareness campaign creates a social network where interaction and new experience combine to prompt reflection about common values and build on shared knowledge.  The essence of Franklin’s words define the theme of the PCRA training which is the nascent of the consciousness raising process in community-based coastal resource management.  The emphasis on involvement justifies applying principles of social learning theory to the information-dissemination process of environmental knowledge in Olango.

     Applying Rotter’s (1982a) two major components of social learning theory to the coastal resource management program in Olango provides an additional example of how social learning theory frames the acquisition of new behaviors and the modification of previously acquired behaviors.  First, the modest successes of the Gilutongan Marine Sanctuary and the development of eco-tourism as an alternative livelihood are evidence that there has been an acquisition of new behaviors for some island residents.  Furthermore, the participatory approach to coastal resource management creates a change in the educational approach to behavioral modification.  The participatory element of the approach parallels the conditions of situated learning (Lave and Wenger, 1991; Kearsley, 2000), which require new knowledge and skills to be obtained through daily contact and interaction.

     As in the case of the Thai monks (Sudara, 1992) discussed in Chapter 2, dissemination of environmental information in Olango is via respected members of the community that form the core of a social interaction network.  However, in Olango the social interaction network that becomes the vehicle for passing on information is more structured with planned workshops and training sessions designed to empower the core members of the community initiative to effectively reach out to the greater community.  At the core of the network the CRMP community organizers and local community leaders function as the information bridges promoting an environmental ethic among the greater community.

     Social motivation, a factor in social learning theory (Cross, 1981), helps to explain the attitudinal change among some residents of Olango.  That is, social motivation is a factor in encouraging community members to be more cognizant about coastal resource management issues.  Additionally, social approval, as Rotter (1982b) claims, is a factor in getting most community members in Olango to conform to group values.  However, the group’s influence is not strong enough to eliminate all inappropriate behaviors among all island residents.  Since illegal fishing remains an environmental problem in the Olango area, other factors, such as money and lack of law enforcement also influence the behavior of residents.

     Bandura’s (1997) discussion on social interaction and observational learning further contribute to an explanation of how behaviors are acquired through vicariously observing others.  In Olango, this acquisition takes place both in nonformal educational settings, and in informal settings. CRMP creates non-formal settings, such as workshops and seminars, that incorporate observational learning in to the education components.  Eco-tours, beach cleanings, and other special events are examples of informal settings in which appropriate behaviors are modeled as a stimulus to prompt the observers to respond by imitating.  However, environmentally inappropriate behavior is also acquired through observation.  Accounts from participants indicate that boys learn how to use cyanide and dynamite from watching others catch fish illegally.

     Applying social learning concepts to organizational learning is a way of highlighting information exchange between and among organizations.  Imitation, innovative learning, learning from errors, and superstitious learning (Bedeian and Zammuto, 1991) are four types of social learning that occur in community-based coastal resource management programs.  Organizations, such as CRMP, share lessons learned from successes and failures.  CRMP and other aid organizations maintain exchange of field knowledge by having representatives share in the PCRA training, Reef Checks and other events that take place in target communities.  Organizations also maintain academic exchanges through the conferencing and publishing.  These exchanges facilitate the emulation of practices that are comparatively advantageous for the success of coastal resource management.  Therefore, inter-organizational exchange of knowledge involves both learning through imitation and learning from errors.  However, intra-organizational learning involves more innovative learning (i.e., a willingness to experiment) and superstitious learning (i.e., having an uncertain outcome).  One example of this in coastal resource management is CRMP’s Enterprise Development division.  The seaweed farming endeavor and, even more so, the eco-tour business venture are experimental alternative income ventures that use coastal resources without abusing them.     

       Thus, far for Olango, social learning theory can explain the pathways of information exchange between individuals and between organizations. However, since coastal resource management is a process of continual change evolving with respect to the community needs, reciprocal causation (Bandura, 1997) is a significant factor that influencing the evolution of collective effort.  CRMP community organizers and local community leaders work to merge individual participation into a collective community effort that manifests the group’s environmental consciousness; a consciousness that grows and evolves with the gaining and sharing of knowledge.  Therefore, individual participants are agents of change, and in turn, change individually through participation in collective effort.

     Although social learning theories can guide the mapping of avenues for information dissemination, as a complementary theory ecofeminism is an additional lens with an alternative perspective.  Aspects of ecofeminism present a useful perspective that exposes new layers of the environmental issues that plague Olango.  These aspects, as discussed in Chapter two, are historical connections, experiential connections and political connections.

     The historical connection between feminism and ecology raises the question, “How is the current environmental crisis a predictable outcome of patriarchal culture?”  Although it is possible, it is not necessary, to argue that colonialism began a patriarchal system in the Philippine Islands.  A more plausible argument may be to apply Mellor’s (1997) idea of “capitalist patriarchy” to explain how productive and reproductive labor account for fisherfolk using illegal fishing methods that are environmentally destructive.  While destroying common resources illegal fisherman create an unfair market advantage over fisherman who choose to use sustainable methods.  This represents, on a local scale, a capitalistic patriarchy in which the practitioners of an environmental ethic are marginalized because the inappropriate behavior of another group negatively affects their livelihood resources.  Thereby, threatening many of the fisherfolk with a life sentence to poverty.

     The empirical and experiential connections between women’s issues in Olango and the local ecology emerge from the data presented in the previous chapter.  In general, coastal environmental problems affect the many women and children who earn part of the family income from marine resource.  As the environment deteriorates so does the ability to earn a living from the environmental resources.  Although poor environmental conditions also affect the ability of men to earn a living from coastal resources, it is important to emphasize the need for a feminist perspective that stresses inclusive participation in coastal resource management.   In the case of Olango, women’s participation fortifies the struggle for community empowerment through the expansion of collective effort and the contribution of additional environmental knowledge.

     The political connections between women’s issues and ecology further justify the consideration to view coastal resource management in the Olango area from an eco-feminist perspective.  In Olango, practical concerns about health and future livelihood have motivated women to engage in local political activism in the campaign for effectively integrated coastal resource management.  Through encouraging local political activism in various communities throughout the Philippines, CRMP attempts to bind local efforts into national and even global campaigns.

     The realization of these three connections between feminism and ecology stresses inclusive participation for community empowerment.  From community empowerment comes collective effort to recognize and to dismantle social structures and learned practices that threaten common environmental resources and recapitulate an oppressive cycle of poverty.  Eliminating behavior that threatens the sustainable use of community resources and replacing it with more environmentally symbiotic practices is also a part of the empowerment process.  As environmental information is disseminated via social interaction, individual and community awareness expand to promote a reactionary change in the status quo through collective effort.  Collective effort to instigate change is evidence that a community is pushing for voice and clout in the decision-making, planning, implementing and monitoring phases of the coastal resource management process.

Practical and Theoretical Implications

The Olango learning area is only one example of a community-based coastal resource management program that has an inclusively participatory approach. There are dozens of similar programs throughout the Philippines; each unique as the participants and the coastal environment.  Beyond the Philippine Islands, NGOs, governments and communities continue to implement various types of coastal resource management programs in both affluent countries and impoverished countries.  Since these programs share common goals it is important that they share knowledge and lessons learned.  Therefore, one implication from this study is that the global actors in the campaign for coastal resource management continue to make new information more easily accessible.

     A greater sharing of information allows program participants an opportunity to compare and contrast coastal management profiles and approaches.  This generates new ideas that can challenge the direction status quo effecting appropriate change through informed decision-making.  Although this study has focused on a community-based approach to addressing environmental issues, programs in Nicaragua and Ecuador are more top-down approaches.  Therefore, the lessons learned from each program may be helpful in modifying the other.  For example, the importance of community organizers as information bridges in this study could influence change for how information is disseminated in nationally centralized approaches to environmental education. 

     Another implication that emerges from this case study echoes the old question about the chicken or the egg.  However, in this case the question is: “In developing an environmental ethic, who should be taught first, children or parents?  Although the obvious answer would be “both”, feasibility limits such as time and money may force choosing to concentrate on one group more than the other.  The advantage of going to the parents, and especially the mothers, is that they can become teachers and role models for their children.  Certainly, parents on the periphery of community activism are an untapped potential for educating youth about the environment. 

     However, in the case of Olango, impressing an environmental ethic on the adults in the greater community appeared to be more challenging than nurturing eco-friendly ideals in the youth.  One of the most common comments I hear while discussing environmental issues in the Olango area is, “You have to start with the children.”  One American, living on Mactan Island and involved in community development, explains that it has been his experience to see children from his youth group modeling environmentally appropriate behavior for their parents.  He adds that the children often say something to the parents when the parents litter.   A high school teacher on Olango explained, “Students are the best tools, those students are our tools to really disseminate the information we have taught to them.”  Just as anti-smoking campaigns find greater success in targeting youth before they start smoking; so might environmental campaigns find greater success in teaching an environmental ethic early in life to begin an attitudinal and behavioral change process that will likely take a generation.

     Another implication emerges from the relationship between health and the environment.  Although this dissertation has been primarily concerned with the dissemination of environmental knowledge and information, the connections between a healthy environment and healthy people cannot be ignored.  Paulo, the community organizer for IMA, made the observation that there is a serious lack of health education on Olango and all of the surrounding islets.  He also makes a strong case in reasoning why health care and health education should be included in a coastal resource management plan, “Health is in an indicator of the environment.  If the environment is not healthy, the people are not healthy.  A healthy environment equals healthy kids.”  Although the government does have some free vitamin programs, according to Paulo, it is just, “Line up. Drink up. See you next week.”  Those bringing the vitamins offer little nutritional or health education.

     Finally, the power of money has implications for alternative livelihood development.  The inability of seaweed farming and eco-tourism to meet the needs of the greater community means NGOs and aid agencies need to explore other sources of income.  Although PBSB has plans to train some islanders for occupations unrelated to marine resources, schools have a responsibility to provide an education that will encourage young people and give them confidence to seek careers outside of the fishing industry. 

Suggestions for Further Research

The importance of nurturing an environmental ethic in children during their formative years deems it necessary to expand research on the effectiveness of environmental education curriculum.  Additional research can give input to what types of experiential and hands-on learning are best for developing pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors.  Furthermore, research can help to develop teacher-training programs so that teachers across the curriculum can work environmental themes into their lessons. 

     The question of project sustainability raises another topic for further research.  One CRMP affiliate postulates, “As soon as the dollars go away, the program collapses.” 

Therefore, future research on factors that contribute to the sustainability of environmental projects and campaigns can yield valuable data for maintaining those programs.  Currently, researchers from the University of Washington, Silliman University, CRMP affiliates, and other groups involved in coastal resource management in the Philippines are conducting such a study on the sustainability of community-based coastal resource management programs.  Additionally, comparing data between community “bottom-up” approaches and government “top-down” approaches could provide valuable information about program sustainability.

Concluding Comments

The enthusiasm among virtually all the active members gives optimism to the issue of sustainability for the Olango coastal resource management efforts.  CRMP is scheduled to pullout of the area as their seven-year contract with the DENR comes to a close.  PBSP will fill the void so the local fisherfolk will still have technical support for their environmental campaign.  However, lack of education and a rapidly growing population remain issues that need to be addressed.  Although it would seem that the national government should have some responsibility in addressing these issues, the political environment in the Philippines appears too troubled to effectively lend assistance.  This, unfortunately, leaves a heavy burden on local governments, NGOs and aid agencies.

     One informant compared the current situation of coastal resource abuse to having one last coconut tree on an island.  “You can look up in the tree and see the coconuts that you want.  Some people want all the coconuts so they think about chopping down the tree.  But, when you chop down the tree, you’re not going to get anymore coconuts.”  This is a simple explanation for a complex dilemma:  How do we use our available resources today and still insure their availability tomorrow.  The issue is larger than the coconut tree; its scope is not limited to the coastal waters of Olango.  It is a global issue. 

     Everybody wants a better future, but at what cost?  A change is needed, but to what change will people be responsive?  Milbrath (1989) suggests a new environmental paradigm that envisions a global environmental ethic in which concern for the environment outweighs desire of wealth.  If this is the change that societies want to see; then it is that change they must become.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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