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Brian J. English Ph.D






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


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.


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


BFARMC Barangay Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management

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
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 ......................................................................................................................................................6

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM ............................................................................................8

OVERVIEW OF THEORIES............................................................................................11

RESEARCH QUESTIONS .............................................................................................17

OVERVIEW OF RESEARCH METHODOLOGY....................................................................12
DEFINITION OF TERMS...............................................................................................13
ORGANIZATION OF DISSERTATION................................................................................17
CHAPTER 2.....................................................................................................................................................19

LEARNING THEORIES.................................................................................................21
ECOFEMINIST THEORY...............................................................................................39
EMPOWERMENT THROUGH ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION ..............................................46
MICRO LEVEL...............................................................................................................................................47
MACRO LEVEL.............................................................................................................................................47
MICRO LEVEL..........................................................................................................................................48
MACRO LEVEL.............................................................................................................................................48
MICRO LEVEL...............................................................................................................................................48


SUMMARY OF LITERATURE REVIEW.............................................................................62
CHAPTER 3.....................................................................................................................................................64

RESEARCH ON ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS..................................................................67

RESEARCH DESIGN....................................................................................................68
CHAPTER 4.....................................................................................................................................................91

LOCAL INFORMANTS..................................................................................................92
THE COASTAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PROJECT .......................................................93
OTHER AGENCIES.....................................................................................................98
PROTECTED AREAS.................................................................................................101
COASTAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT ISSUES................................................................103
ALBERT BANDURA, 1995..................................................................................107
CHAPTER 5...................................................................................................................................................107

TRAINING FOR RESOURCE ASSESSMENT AND MONITORING............................................108
WORKSHOPS SEMINARS AND ACTIVITIES....................................................................128
WOMEN’S INVOLVEMENT IN THE EDUCATION PROCESS.................................................133
EVOLVING TOWARD COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT.......................................................147
CHAPTER 6 ..................................................................................................................................................175

SUMMARY .............................................................................................................176
KEY FINDINGS.......................................................................................................176
GENERAL CONCLUSIONS..........................................................................................179
PRACTICAL AND THEORETICAL IMPLICATIONS..............................................................184
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH......................................................................187
CONCLUDING COMMENTS.........................................................................................187

"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


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

Figure 1.1: Factors Influencing Pro-Active Environmental Behavior

Coastal Resource Improved

Management Program Environmental



• Peer Groups
Legislation and
• Level of ED • Religious Beliefs $$$
Incentives Law
• Social Norms Enforcement
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) 1) How does a community-based coastal resource management program

contribute to the dissemination process of environmental knowledge among

community members?

2) 2) What is the dissemination process of environmental knowledge in a

community-based coastal resource management program?

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


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


5) 5) How has the community-based coastal resource management program

impacted the lives of women in the community?

6) 6) How has the community-based coastal resource management program

affected any marginalized members of the community?

7) 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.


(1) (1) It is assumed that all the subjects interviewed have answered the

questions honestly and to the best of their ability.


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



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,


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


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.”
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


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) (1) Imitation- learning occurs though copying

ideas that have worked for others.
(2) (2) Innovative learning; learning is a willingness
to experiment.
(3) (3) Learning from Errors; learning occurs through
trial and error.
(4) (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) (1) Leadership recognizes that participants may

have different models of reality

(2) (2) Premeditated and precommunicated structural

evolution over time.

(3) (3) The tasks are structured and the leadership

functions to provide a constant cycle of experiential and
empirical research.

(4) (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


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”


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


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


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


Participation in small groups Understanding of

with a collective agenda (human domination, organization, and
rights, economic survival and mobilization; setting up a wider
community improvement) political agenda

Micro level
Macro level
Greater freedom and sense of
Expanded political agenda, new
personal confidence, reshaped
collective arrangements,
motherhood values, renegotiation of
transformed citizenship
domestic relations

Figure 2.2 Empowerment Process of Community-Based Environmental Education

Source: This model is adapted from Stromquist’s (1993, p. 17) Theorized Chain of Events in the Empowering Process.
Community-based non-formal education can
Participation in grassroots, non-formal education
facilitate an understanding of: 1) the need for
programs that have a common goal to maintain a
resource management; 2) inappropriate
sustainable relationship with the environment.
behaviors that are harmful to the
Sustainability is essential for long-term economic survival
environment; and, 3) the power of collective
and for continuing community improvement.
effort through organization and mobilization.
Understanding of these concepts can help
people expand their focus of
Micro level environmentalism to include a wider political
Behavioral change begins on a personal and local level. A
sense of community that includes the non-human world helps
people reshape their values about the environment. People
renegotiate environmentally harmful behaviors and practices.

Macro level
Local efforts can grow to involve people on
Micro level national and international levels. “Expanded
A sense of community competence in being able to political agenda, new collective
address local environmental issues will lead to a greater arrangements, transformed citizenship”
consciousness of the interaction between social institutions
and environmental issues.

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


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
• • 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
• • 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


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.


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


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) (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


• • 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


• • 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


• • 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


• • 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


• • 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


• • 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


• • 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


• • 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


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

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



The research process consisted of gathering information about a community-based

coastal resource management program in several steps:

(1) (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) (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) (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) (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


(5) (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) 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) 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) 3) The leadership of the community-based coastal resource management is

open to input from the participants.

4) 4) The community also has, in its history, serious environmental problems that

have significantly impacted the people and the eco-system.

5) 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) 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


7) 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.

“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



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.


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


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


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


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

CRMP Principal Program Goal Knowledge Knowledge Type(s) of Outcomes

Program Activities Providers Recipients Learning

Training for PCRA Lectures, Empower CRMP LGUs and Experiential, Communities
Resource Training hands-on data communities And local social develop CRM
Assessment collection and to assess collaborating participants interaction, plans based on
and analysis resources for agencies participant the PCRA
Monitoring training CRM observation results
Reef Hands-on data Monitor CRMP, Marine Experiential, Community
Check collection and protected area of collaborating sanctuary social involvement in
analysis local reef agencies & stakeholders interaction, reef protection
training LGU part.
Enterprise Tour Lectures, mock Train locals to CRMP, local OBST Experiential, Alternative
Develop-ment Guide tour be eco-tour travel participants social livelihood
Training guides agencies interaction

Eco- Guided Raise CRMP and Filipino Experiential, Increased

tourism sanctuary tour, consciousness local OBST and foreign observational, environment-al
demonstration, about the participants tourists social awareness/
discussions Olango interaction, cross cultural
environment participatory exchange

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

CRMP Principal Program Goal Knowledge Knowledge Type(s) of Outcomes

Program Activities Providers Recipients Learning

“Social Lectures, Develop Community Community Social Participants

Develop- group leadership organizers participants in interaction become
ment discussions skills, and eco- CRM agents of
Workshop values. initiatives change

“I Love the Media Coastal CRMP, LGU, The general Social Cleaner
Ocean” awareness beautification, the media public, local interaction, coastline &
Movement campaigns, increase volunteers participant awareness of
beach clean- awareness observation, pollution
ups informal effects
Workshops, Youth Beach talks, Teach values CRMP Peace Selected Experiential, Heightened
Seminars, and Sea Camp art projects, of preservation Corp students social eco-
Activities drama, and concern volunteer, learning, awareness
lectures for the marine school informal among teens
environment teachers
CLEAR 7 Lectures and Raise CRMP legal Communities Social Increased
seminars consciousness specialists and law interaction, awareness of
about enforcement observational, illegal
environmental informal activities
Waste Lectures, Modify waste CRMP, LGU Coastal Social Not fully
Manage- discussion disposal habits communities interaction, implemented
ment observational

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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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.


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


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



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


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


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


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


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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