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CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS (CRIM)

About the Contributor

 

Dennis Noel Garcia de Lara
Acting Director, Center for Research and Instructional Materials
Philippine Christian University

Professor, Graduate School of Business and Management
Philippine Christian University

a professional admirer of Beautiful Music, and Beautiful Scientific and Mathematical Truths, and Beautiful Words of Life

a father who loves his children Esther Ruth and Monne Elyse

“Life is for service to fellow life.” – DNGDL

It is not in me, nor in my material possessions, I don’t know the way, where can I seek it? “God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells, …'” Job 28:23 (NIV)

Email: <beethovengg@yahoo.com>

 

 

 

Contact Information

 

Mailing Address:

Philippine Christian University

Center for Research and Instructional Materials

1648 Taft Ave., Cor. Pedro Gil Street, Malate, Manila

Telephone No.: (02) 871-3228

Email : beethovengg@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

GENERATING SUPPORT AND INITIATIVES

AMONG THE YOUTH TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE

 

 

            Abstract

 

The study explored the ideas of 278 randomly selected college students on the issue of climate change, its causes, impact, and programs and initiatives being done to address it.  The findings showed that the youth have limited knowledge about the issue, but expressed desire and interest to learn more about how they can be engaged.

 

Keywords:  climate change; causes; impact; programs; initiatives

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Climate has changed.  Climate is changing.  Climate will continue to change (Taylor, 2011, Retrieved May 10, 2014 from Caribbean st.com/up-content/uploads/2012/06/Paulette BynoeStc 13.pdf).

 

Climate change is real.  It is the most serious problem the world faces today. It is more serious than the threat of terrorism (David King, 2004, Retrieved May 10, 2014, from www.org/2013/09/16/sir_david_king_wk_climate_change_envoy).  It is too late now to stop further warming from occurring.

 

Climate change is attributed to natural cycles and disturbances in the earth’s climate ecosystem.  It is also induced by excessive greenhouse gas emission through the burning of fuels, deforestation, and other changes in land use, industrial processes, and other human activities.

 

The threats of climate change are endangering the whole world today.  The youth who compose a majority of the world’s present population certainly would not want to inherit a world damaged by climate change.  In this context, the youth would want to be involved/engaged in creating solutions to climate change (Yvo de Boer, 2009, Retrieved May 10, 2014, from pool/applications/pdf/uuffcccyouthparticipation.pdf).

 

Climate change is evidenced by the rise in temperature, precipitation, extreme rainfall, drought, flooding, storm surges, rising sea level, limited water supply, forest fires, and other changing weather patterns.  The Yolanda typhoon which hit Tacloban and other parts of the Visayas region in 2013 is a concrete local example.  Even before this, there were the excessive Ondoy flooding in Metro Manila and that of Pablo in Cagayan de Oro area.  Similar huge floods, typhoons, tornadoes, and hurricanes have been equally reported to have happened in other parts of the world.

Climate change brings enormous damage to human lives, properties, and living arrangements.  Various environmental health risks and illnesses result, causing the poor people in marginalized communities to be most vulnerable to these risks.  Climate change impacts on all ecosystems and human societies in different ways and different degrees.

INTERNATIONAL INITIATIVES

 

No less than the United Nations, particularly the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has started its initiatives on climate change more than 30 years ago to “build global knowledge base through the conduct of global ocean observation systems, assessment and monitoring, and providing eduation, capacity development, public awareness, and access to information.”

 

UNESCO objectives on climate change include the following:

 

  1. Promote effective integration of climate change education (CCE) in school curriculum;
  2. Support teacher training on CCE;
  3. Enhance exchange of experiences and good practices;
  4. Identify opportunities for using various activities to encourage local field-based education on climate change; and
  5. Identify learning materials on CCE and enhance their dissemination.

 

These efforts have been followed by a series of international for a and gatherings

spearheaded by the United Nations Joint Framework Initiatives on Children, Youth, and Climate Change (UNJFICYCC).  The intention is to empower the youth to take adaptation and mitigation actions while enhancing their effective participation in climate change policy decision making processes.

 

Other agencies of the United Nations like the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has developed a youth portal to enrich the youth’s knowledge about climate change in the form of quizzes, videos, and games.  The same office is likewise collaborating with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts for the same purpose (FAO Climate Change/Children and Youth website.  May 14, 2014).

 

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in cooperation with the Indonesian government hosted in 2013 the Tanza International Children and Youth Conference exchanged information about climate change (UNEP children and youth website.  May 12, 2014).

 

The youth are engaged in more social involvement like volunteering, helping people in various situations, making them sensitive towards the needs of others, and finding means to overcome climate change.  These are done through campaigns, informing others about causes and consequences, and making people responsible for their actions (http://oana_branda.blogspot.com/2009/08/global_warming_climate_change_and_youth.html. Retrieved May 20, 2014).

 

UNESCO has focused on Climate Change Education for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2205-2014).  It provides the principles of development through education.  It spells out its programme on strengthening capacities of different countries to provide quality climate change education.

 

It has partnered with the United Nation’s Environment Programme (UNEP), the latter having launched a guide book on Climate Change and lifestyles aimed at young people aged 15-24 years (children.youth@unep.org.  Retrieved May 15, 2014).,

 

The guide book provided a wide range of activities into which the youth can be involved to participate in the efforts to address climate change issues.   A Sand Watch Project, in particular, details activities “to change the lifestyles and habits of children, youth, and adults as well, while they take actions to address the issue and build resilience to climate change.”

 

Supporting the above-mentioned activities are the initiatives of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) which spearheaded the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and organized the Children’s Climate Forum in Copenhagen in 2009.  This started the widespread actions on climate change and adolescent participation worldwide.  These include engaging youth in community education programmes, tree plantations and garden, action research, water, sanitation, and health campaigns, climate ambassador programme, community education, etc. (http://unfccc.int/cc_inet/youth_partial/items/6519.php. Retried May 15, 2014).

 

 

LOCAL INITIATIVES

 

World Bank report (2010) says that the Philippines is increasingly exposed to extreme weather disturbances, i.e., temperature rise, shifting rainfall patterns, sea level rise, etc.  In 2009 alone, typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng had inflicted damages and losses on the orders of $4 billion (Retrieved May 10, 2014, from www.worldbank.org/en/country/publication/ getting_grip_ on_climate_change_in _the_philippines) affecting almost 3 percent of the Gross National Product (GNP) of the country.  Climate change is expected to increase these losses further, making it a developmental issue, rather than one confined to environmental concerns.

 

As a response to the threatening climate change, the Philippines has formulated policy measures and legal mandates as early as the 1997 Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act.  This was followed by the Philippine Clear Act (1999), the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act (2000), the Philippine Clean Water Act (2004), the Biofuels Act (2006), and the Renewable Energy Bill (2006).

 

The major agencies involved in climate change-related activities include the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development, the Presidential Task Force on Climate Changhe, and the National Disaster Coordinating Council.

 

The local initiatives on climate change are meant to integrate climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction with the Local Government efforts, particularly on capacity building and knowledge generation and dissemination on four major dimensions that include preparedness, response, rehabilitation, and motivation.  Efforts related to these dimensions are handled respectively, by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). (siteresources.worldbank.org/INTPHILIPPINES/ Resources/PH_CC_strategy_April_19_2010.pdf.05-26-14).

WHAT THE SCHOOL SYSTEM IS DOING

 

Addressing climate change requires concerted and coordinated actions of the government, its various instrumentalities, interest groups, stakeholders, the general public, and the whole citizenry.  Everyone engages in order to “translate shared interests intoi deliberate collective efforts” (Orr and Rogers 2011, Retrieved May 10, 2012, from carribeanste.com/up-content/uploads/2012/06/PauletteByroeStc.13.pdf).

 

Taking off from the UNESCO pronouncements and identified priorities on “Learning to Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change”, it is reported that the school system is providing leadership to engage the youth in embarking on the following:

 

  1. Formulating and implementing educational and public awareness programs on climate change;
  2. Facilitating public access to information on climate change;
  3. Providing opportunities for training of scientific, technical, and managerial personnel to address climate change issues;
  4. Integrating climate change in school curricula at all levels, i.e., basic/secondary education, college/tertiary adult education;
  5. Developing specialized courses for students in the tertiary level;
  6. Preparing and disseminating instructional materials on climate change; and
  7. Conducting and utilizing research on climate change and climate change education.

 

 

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

 

The study explored what the youth know about climate change and what support they can do to contribute, to mitigate and adapt to it.

 

The specific questions that were answered in this study were the following:

 

  1. What is the profile of the youth in terms of?
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Academic program being pursued
    • Academic year level

 

  1. What do the youth know about climate change with respect to?

2.1  Knowledge about climate change

2.2  Causes of climate change

2.3  Impact of climate change on the people’s lives, properties, or environment

2.4  Government initiatives or programs on climate change.

 

  1. How wiling are the youth to learn and participate in activities to address climate change?

 

 

METHOD

 

The study involved the participation of 278 college students of the Philippine Christian University in the second semester of the current school year 2014-2015.  Randomly selected from the population, the students individually accomplished a simple survey form on their knowledge about climate change and readiness to learn and participate in activities to address it.  Applying the blended quantitative-qualitative method, themes and patterns identified from the data generated.

 

 

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

 

The 278 student participants had ages ranging from 15 to 54 years.  The females were two times bigger in number than the males, Table 1.  The students represented different colleges and academic year levels, Table 2.

 

The data imply a relatively reasonable range of orientation of the respondents.  Coming from different sectors of society and varying experiences related to climate change adaptation and mitigation, the youth can express their own opinions about the phenomenon depending on the extent of their respective backgrounds.

 

 

Table 1.  Student Participants by Age and Gender

 

Gender
Age Male Female Total
15 3 3 6
16 9 39 48
17 24 38 62
18 11 36 47
19 20 25 45
20 9 16 25
21 8 7 15
22 4 6 10
23 2 0 2
24 1 3 4
25 0 4 4
26 3 1 4
27 0 1 1
28 1 0 1
30 2 0 2
35 0 1 1
54 1 0 1
Total 98 180 278
Percentage 35% 65% 100%

 

Table 2.  Student Participants by Course and Academic Year Level.

 

Year Level
Course I II III IV V Total
BSW 1 7 0 15 0 23
BSCoE 15 2 0 3 2 22
BSIT 2 3 16 0 0 21
BSCS 0 6 7 1 0 14
BSMC 0 15 0 1 0 16
AB 0 30 2 1 0 33
ACT 0 1 0 0 0 1
BSA 21 20 0 0 0 41
BSOA 3 0 0 2 0 5
BSBA 2 0 0 0 0 2
BSTM 25 2 0 0 0 27
BSHRM 1 17 1 4 0 23
BEED 9 2 11 2 0 24
BSE 9 0 8 2 0 19
BSND 1 4 1 1 0 7
Total 95 103 46 32 2 278
Percentage 34% 37% 17% 12% 1% 100%

 

 

The youth’s knowledge about climate change tends to focus only on what they actually observe and experience.  They associate climate change to the occurrence of natural calamities which are becoming unusually intense and strong (60 percent) and the increasing degree of global warming and weather variations.

 

Meanwhile, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has developed a youth portal with information for them to enrich their knowledge about the climate change phenomenon in the form of quizzes, videos, and games.  The same office is also collaborating with the World Association of Girl Guides      and Girl Scouts for the same purpose (FAO Climate Change/Children and Youth website.  May 14, 2014).

 

Data from the 2013 Tanza International Children and Yout Conference of Indonesia, in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) support the need for the local youth to access to and exchange information with other countries about climate change (UNEP children and youth website. May 14, 2014).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 3.  Knowledge of the Respondents about

Climate Change (n=278)

 

Item f %
Increasing degree of global warming and weather variations 20 19
Occurrence of natural calamities which tend to be unusually intense and strong. 168 60

Note:  Data are not mutually exclusive.

 

            Table 4 shows the opinions of the youth regarding the causes of climate change.  Raised by 36 percent of the respondents is the issue about pollution from varied sources which care less about and abuse the environment (46 percent).  Carbon dioxide emissions and illegal logging practices are noted likewise to be of major contribution to climate change.

 

 

Table 4.  Opinions of the Respondents about the

Causes of Climate Change (n=278)

 

Item f %
Smoke and carbon dioxide emissions from cars and factories 43 15
Varied sources of pollution caused by practices which care less about and abuse of the environment 129 46
Deforestation and illegal logging activities 38 17

Note: Data are not mutually exclusive.

 

As reported by the United Nations, climate change and global warming are “caused by the people’s recklessness in applying the basic rules of ecology.  People find it easier to throw papers, glasses, and plastics, than taking them to the recycling centers.  Many likewise are too lazy to cycle to school or to work and do not use environmentally friendly sprays or other p[roducts.” (http://oana_branda.blogspot.com/2009/08/global_warmingclimate_change_and _youth.html.  Retrieved May 20, 2014).  Trees being cut and rubbish being burned likewise contribute to climate change.

 

Climate change impacts negatively on people’s lives.  As a result the respondents believe that tgis leads to an increase in the incidence of illnesses, i.e. heat stroke, flu, cancer, etc. (49 percent), high vulnerability of the people to get sick (17 percent), and high mortality rate (19 percent).  About five percent reported their opinions about the difficulty of the people in adopting new life styles to survive climate change, Table 5.

 

UNICEF in Region East Asia and the Pacific noted that about three million die every year as a result of diseases linked to the environment, such as diarrheal disease, respiratory infection, and malaria (http:/unicef.org/infobcountry/indonesia42187.html Retrieved May 21, 2014).

Table 5. Opinions of the Youth on the Impact of Climate Change

on the Lives of the People (n=278)

 

Item f %
Increase incidence of illnesses i.e. heat stroke, cancer, flu, etc. 136 49
High level of vulnerability of people to get sick. 48 17
High mortality rate caused by natural calamities. 52 19
Difficulty in adopting new lifestyles to survive climate change. 13 5

Note:  Data are not mutually exclusive.

 

Aside from people expressing the negative results of climate change, the occurrence of calamities, natural and manmade, damage properties and the environment.  It is not unusual that hecares of farmlands suffer strong typhoons and heavy floods hit the communities (71 percent).  Countless hmes and buildings are destroyed (32 percent). Business and industries suffer big economic losses (21 percent).  Properties and resources of the government are damaged, i.e. roads, bridges, irrigation system, etc. (14 percent) making the government less able to deliver needed services, Table 6.

 

Table 6.  Opinions of the Youth on the Impact of Climate Change

on Properties and Environment (n=278).

 

Item f %
Hectares of farmlands are destroyed/damaged 197 71
Infrastructures and houses are damaged causing families ton be homeless 89 32
Economic losses in business and industries 59 21
Properties and resources of the government are damaged 39 14

Note:  Data are not mutually exclusive.

 

 

Asked about what government initiatives on climate change do they know, mention was made about the clean and green campaign that refers to tree planting activities (28 percent) and the application of the 3Rs, i.e. recycle, re-use, and reduce (6 percent), Table 7.

 

Table 7.  Knowledge of the Youth about Government Initiatives on

Climate Change (n=278)

 

Item f %
Clean and Green program including tree planting 78 28
3R (Recycle, Re-use, Reduce) campaign 17 6

Note:  Data are not mutually exclusive.

 

The finding imply the limited knowledge of the youth in this regard.  Other governments are challenged to actively promote climate change issues by “incorporating climate change education into both formal and informal education system and ensuring the availability and accessibility of related information to the public.  Equally needed are government supports for in-depth research on renewable energy alternatives, support networking, knowledge-sharing, and continued communication among various groups of stakeholders, including the youth, to participate in decision-making processes on environmental issues” (http://www.thezimbabwean.co/news/39z45/ youths_fight_climate_change.htmltrust.  Retrieved May 15, 2014).    The government, the private sectors, other stakeholders and the civil society are continuously acting to combat climate change.

 

Learning more about participating in activities to deal with climate change, the youth expressed their desire to really acquire more information about climate change (159 percent) while they also articulated their readiness to participate in activities that address climate change (59 percent).  The group likewise want to discover what could be the best strategies to deal with climate change (16 percent) and identify meaningful activities they can get engaged (16 percent).  Some eight percent expressed interest in knowing more about the efforts of government to address this issue, Table 8.

 

 

Table 8.  Opinions of the Youth to Learn More

and Participate in Activities that Addess Climate Change (n=278)

 

Item f %
Learning more about climate change and how to adapt to it. 163 59
Participating in activities that address climate change. 163 59
Discovering what could be the best strategies to deal with climate change. 44 16
Identifying meaningful opportunities to get engaged about climate change. 44 16
Knowing more about what government is doing to address climate change. 22 8

Note:  Data are not mutually exclusive.

 

An urgent call remains “to continue to raise the imnpact of the youth on social development.  The youth can be engaged in more social involvement like getting people to volunteer, helping others in various situations, making them sensitive towards others’ needs and finding means to overcome climate change.  These are done through campaigns, informing others about causes and consequences, and making them responsible for their actions (http://oana_branda.blogspot.com/2009/08/globa_warming_climate_change_and_the_youth.html Retrieved May 20, 2014).

 

 

 

Table 9 presents the initiatives and aupport the youth feel they can do toward climate change adaptation and mitigation.  Among the main activities they prefer are participating in continuing education and advocacy campaigns about climate change (31 percent), being prepared for any natural calamity (23 percent) and exercising discipline in using the resources of the environment (19 percent).  They also consider tree planting and proper waste disposal (15 percent and 14 percent, respectively) as avenues for them to be engaged in.  Doing research and other related activities was identified by at least two percent of the youth, Table 9.

 

 

Table 9.  Initiatives/Supports which the Youth are Willing to

Do toward Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation (n=278)

 

Item f %
Proper waste disposal. 38 14
Planting trees 41 15
Applying the 3Rs (Recycle, Re-use, Reduce) 26 9
Being prepared for any natural calamity. 64 23
Exercising discipline in using the resources of the environment. 53 19
Participating in continuing education and advocacy work about climate change 87 31
Engaging in research and similar activities about climate change. 5 2

Note:  Data are not mutually exclusive.

 

 

Various literature support the current findings and the interest of the youth to get engaged in climate change efforts.  Reference may done to the Climate Change Education, the entry point od UNESCO’s focus for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) by promoting the principles of development through education.  It spels out its programme on strengthening capacities of different countries to provide quality climate change education and partnering with the United Nations’ Environment Programme (UNEP), the latter has launched a guide book on Climate Change and lifestyles aimed at young people aged 15-24 years. (children.youth@unep.org. Retrieved May 14, 2014.

 

The guidebook provides a wide range of activities into which the youth can be involved to participate in the efforts to address climate change issues.  A Sandwatch Project, in particular, details activities “to change the lifestyle and habits of children, youth, and adults, as well, while they take actions to address the issue and build resilience to climate change.”

 

Supporting the above-mentioned activities are the initiatives of the United Nations Children’s Fund

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

The study concludes that the youth have limited knowledge about climate change, its causes, the initiatives of the government to address it, and the knowledge and ideas on how they can participate in activities and efforts to climate change adaptation and mitigation.

 

The youth generally want to be engaged in activities that will enable them to help adapt and mitigate climate change.  They need to be informed on the aspecs where they can be involved.  In this regard, the schools can provide leadership to maximize the potentials and resources of the youth.  Literatures are available from which the youth can learn about what their counterparts around the globe are doing to address the issue on climate change.

 

 

 

References

 

Biofuels Act 2006, R.A. 9367. Cleanairinitiative.org/portal/mode/1572.

Retrieved June 5, 2014.

 

carribeanstc.com/up-content/uploads/2012/06/PauletteBynoe/Stc 13.pdf

Retrieved May 5, 2014.

 

Children.youth@unep.org.  Retrieved May 15, 2014.

 

climatefrontlines.org/ed_seminar_brochure.pdf.  Retrieved May 19, 2014.

 

Ecological solid waste management act of 2000.

www.emb.gov.ph/laws/solid%20management/ra9003.pdf.

Retrieved June 5, 2014.

 

FAO climate change/children and youth website.  Retrieved May 14, 2014.

 

Oana-branda.blogspot.com/2009/08/global_warmingclimate_change_and_youth.html.

Retrieved May 20, 2014.

 

Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999. www.chan.robles.com/philippinecleanairact.htm.

Retrieved June 5, 2014.

 

Philippine Clean Air Act of 2004, R.A. 9275.

www.lawphil.net/statutes/reports/ra2004/ra_9275_2004.html.

Retrieved June 5, 2014.

 

Pool/application/pdf/unfccc_youthparticipation.pdf. Retrieved May 10, 2014.

 

 

Renewable energy act of 2008.          eead.europa.eu/…/Philippines/…

/renewable_energy_act2008_deguzman.  Retieved June 5, 2014.

 

siteresources.worldbank.org/PHILIPPINES/Resources/PH_CC_Strategy_

April_19_2010.pdf.Retrieved May 26, 2014.

 

UNEP children and youth website.  Retrieved May 14, 2014.

 

Unicef.org/infobcountry/indonesia42187.html.  Retrieved May 21, 2014.

 

unfcc.int/cc_inet/files/cc_inet/information_pool/application/pdf/growing

together.  Retrieved May 2, 2014.

 

Unfcc.int/cc_inet/youth_portal/item,s/6519.php.  Retrieved May 15, 2014.

 

www.un.org/esa/socdev/documents/youth/fact/…/youth-climatechange.pdf

Retrieved May 5, 2014.

 

www.heatisonline.org/contentserver/objecthandlers/index/cfm?id=45668&n.

Retrieved May 3, 2014.

 

www.rtcc.org/2013/09/16/sir_david_king_uk_climate_change_emvoy.

Retrieved May 10, 2014.

 

www.worldbank.org/en/country/application/getting_a_grip_on_climate_change_ in_

the_philippines.  Retrieved May 10, 2014.

 

www.zimbabwean.colnews/39245/youths_fight_climate_change.

Retrieved May 15, 2014