In designing an environmental advocacy campaign, the following relevant questions could be asked: (1) What is the problem?; (2) Who is your key audience?; (3) What are your objectives?; (4) What is your specific advocacy strategy?; and, (5) What is your message? I will be using these questions as a guide in crafting an environmental advocacy campaign.
What is the Problem?
The main problem is the low-level awareness of environmental matters and concerns. Increasing the level of awareness is therefore the solution. Environmental advocacies are often limited by the kind of financial assistance being given to them to be sustainable.
Who is Your Key Audience?
The development of social media has given netizens a real means to communicate and exchange views. Social media is also a very cost-effective way to popularize environmental concerns. Anyone who has a computer and internet connectivity could always access social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Blogsites, etc. at no cost at all.
According to a new eMarketer report, one out of every four people worldwide use social media networks in 2013 and the number of social network users around the world will rise from 1.47 billion in 2012 to 1.73 billion in 2013. There is an estimated yearly progressive increase of 18 to 24% in social network users in the next five years.
What Are Your Objectives?
My nurtured dream and aspiration is along the line of (a) sustainable environmental management, (b) protection, preservation, and development of natural resources, and (c) the promotion of social justice. Sustainable development, in the purview of social justice and the environment, is the equitable distribution of opportunities for wealth and comfortable existence by the present generation while leaving the same opportunities for wealth and comfortable existence to future generations. Towards this end, I shall:
- Prioritize my life in this order: (a) God; (b) Family; (c) Country; and, (d) Environment; Environment, being fourth, doesn’t necessarily below in terms of priority;
- Maintain a “clean” and “green” lifestyle on a personal and family level; This is anchored on the concept of “Leadership by Example”;
- Endeavor to relentlessly evangelize about ways and means to protect, preserve and develop natural resources by whatever means available to me and within my personal capacity; The most cost-effective and cost-efficient means is through social media;
- Enlist the support, cooperation, and participation of a broad spectrum of stakeholders most especially the upland communities affected by environmental programs and activities;
- Join other such activities that are aimed at the sustainable environmental management;
- Join efforts to review and harmonize existing laws governing environment and natural resources management matters and concerns and then lobby for the enactment of ideal pro-environmental laws consistent with the protection, conservation, and sustainable utilization of natural resources; and,
- Ascertain that all activities environment-related activities are geared towards sustainable environmental management to promote economic development that translates to social justice.
What is Your Specific Advocacy Strategy?
The strategy was simple with a simple methodology:
- Gather as much knowledge as possible;
- Create a database of all this accumulated knowledge; and,
- In line with the “Information, Education and Communications” (IEC) Approach, use social media to spread as much pro-environment-related information to as many people as possible.
The Philippines is a democracy and, therefore, governed by laws. Although most laws are pro-environment, some laws are not and are the cause of overexploitation and utilization of natural resources and, therefore, more harmful than protective and progressive. Aside from increasing environmental awareness and encouraging pro-environment programs and projects (such as clean air, reforestation, waterways clean up, solid waste management, etc.), a more effective measure is by way of environmental legislative reform. Towards this end, I, on a personal and/or organized level, am willing and totally committed to:
- Encourage the institutionalization of both government- and civil society-sponsored pro-environment projects, plans, and programs;
- Enlist as much support, cooperation, and participation from a broad line-up of stakeholders using the principles of participatory management as a means to mold public opinion;
- Endeavor to review and harmonize existing laws, rules, and regulations with the aim of crafting ideal public policies that would promote pro-environmental plans and programs;
- Make certain that the new public policies are responsive to the needs of both man and the environment; and,
- Conduct reviews and oversight functions to make sure the intent of the laws, rules, and regulations are followed to the letter; and, if re-calibration of public policies is needed, craft and lobby for amendments.
What is Your Message?
I am a Filipino and I believe in the capacity and capability of the Filipino race to embrace environmentalism as way of life. I also believe that Filipinos can yet be the primary exponent of environmentalism in the world. Having said this, I firmly believe that:
- Filipinos are God-fearing and believe that Mother Nature is God’s gift not only to the Filipino nation but to the rest of humanity. The Filipino also believes that respect for Mother Earth translates to respect for our Divine Creator. Filipinos likewise acknowledge the fact that God’s provision of a liveable environment is not only intended for the present generation but for future generations as well. It is therefore the duty of every Filipino to make sure that sustainability is the primary consideration in every human activity;
- The Filipino family is the basic social unit in the Filipino social structure. It is therefore incumbent for Filipino parents, who provide leadership in these social units, to accept the challenges and responsibility of moulding their children into stewards of the environment in their youth and the rest of their adult lives. This can best be exemplified by being role models to their respective families;
- As a Filipino parent, I am aware of the importance of a healthy planet and committed to living a pro-environmental life as a means to educate my children to be pro-earth crusaders; and,
- As a Filipino, I am committed to tooling myself with the necessary knowledge and relentlessly sharing this information not only with my family, and my countrymen but with as many people from other parts of the world as well.
Whether on a personal capacity or organized movement, I am totally committed to pursuing environmentalism through the following methodology:
- Tooling myself with knowledge on environmental matters and concerns (from institutions such as the academe and other sources of environmental information);
- Increasing awareness of people within and beyond my sphere of influence on environmental issues (using environmental communication); and,
- Crafting the necessary laws and orders to promote pro-environmentalism (by involving myself in the review, deliberation, and crafting of workable and effective pro-environment public policies);
- Exercise good participatory management concepts to arrive at the environment- and people-friendly public policies towards achieving social justice; and,
- Be relentless in these pursuits until sustainable environmental management means are institutionalized to protect Mother Earth from environmental degradation and man from the ill effects of environmental neglect; and,
- There really is no fast and perfect structure in designing an environmental advocacy campaign. The only operative word that could serve as some sort of guide: Doability.
These are but some of the vital questions to be answered in designing an environmental advocacy campaign.
Thoughts to promote positive action…