Mutual understanding – that is the central message of Dr. Alexander G. Flor’s book entitled ‘Environmental Communication’. His book presents clear and direct to the point approach in presenting facts, strategies and case studies that deals with the environment and developmental projects.
According to Flor (2004), “Environmentalism began with environmental communication.” He defined Environmental Communication as “the application of communication approaches, principles, strategies and techniques to environmental management and protection. Simply put, it is the deliberate exchange of environmental information, knowledge, and even wisdom.” It is inspired by general systems theory and adheres to principle that the goal of human communication is mutual understanding. In his book he presents the five essentials of Environmental Communication: 1. Knowledge of ecological laws; 2. Sensitivity to cultural dimension; 3. Ability to network effectively; 4. Efficiency in using media for social agenda setting; 5. Conflict resolution, mediation and arbitration
While reading this book, I cannot help but think of the multibillion projects that have invested in Region XII. Projects that have spark controversy like the SMI’s Mining Project in Tampakan, South Cotabato and the SEC’s Coal Fired Power Plant in Kamanga Maasim, Sarangani Province. The said projects have also similar scenarios of BAGO open pit mining case in Benguet and the Mt. Apo geothermal project in Kidapawan city. These case studies become two of the best examples (in the book) on how miscommunication can create bad effects to the projects and its stakeholders.
The concept of environmental communication is one of the important components if you’re advocating sustainable development. Its concept and principles are significant for planners, developmental workers and communication strategists. Flor’s book is one of the important references for this field of study. His book is a good start if you’re interested in pursuing this field.
Since most of my activities deal with environmental and developmental communication, it is important to read this kind of book to assess if I’m on the right track. By reading it, I am enlightened in many possible solutions to the problems with regards to the environment. Instead of complaining about the problems of developmental projects why not contribute solutions to it. By doing so, you become proactive in finding solutions to its possible effects to the environment and its people inhabited in it. If this concept is truly materialized, it would have a win-win situation for everybody.
Note: I borrowed this book from my sustainable development classmate in MSU Graduate School. If you’re interested to purchase it, you may inquire to the University of the Philippines Open University Program.
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