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March for Science

/ 12:12 AM May 10, 2017

Global citizens celebrated the 47th annual Earth Day last April 22 by marching on the streets of famous cities in 141 countries around the world.

This year’s campaign is for the promotion of environmental and climate literacy through Science.

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Known as the “March for Science,” the “unprecedented” global gathering, composed of scientists and science enthusiasts, acknowledged the significant role science plays in the everyday lives of the people, and the need for research that provides empirical insights into the global community. Also, the march signified protest against the present US administration because of its blind disregard of scientific information regarding the present dire environmental situations as it pursues full economic growth.

In the article “Need for environmental literacy” (Talk of the Town, 10/2/16), our argument centered on the need to improve Science Education vis-a-vis Environmental Education in our country. A sound understanding of current science concepts, like global warming and climate change, would greatly enhance the citizens’ environmental literacy; leading to their mitigating actions toward the phenomena.

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Science education is not confined to the transfer of factual scientific information from the teacher to the learners; it also involves imparting the correct scientific attitudes and behaviors, like being a good observer and problem-solver. This is based on the skilled practice of scientific methods that we are all familiar with—observation, problem-posing, hypothesis stating and testing using deductive reasoning, and stating the conclusion.

The Philippines, as a natural resource-rich country, should heed the policies and recommendations of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources about mining activities. By just viewing the pictures showing obliterated mountain tops, brown-colored seascapes, and denuded rainforest landscapes, one would surmise that there is really something abnormal in these mining sites. The big issue here is the contamination of watersheds with toxic mine tailings.

Farmers, fisher folks and indigenous peoples depend on watersheds for fresh clean water. However, these affected individuals are being convinced by mining companies by assuring economic growth for their locality, which would raise their standard of living. In this case, scientific knowledge about the nature of toxic chemicals, e.g., mercury and cyanide present in mine tailings, is needed by the locals in order for them to understand its effects on humans and the natural ecosystem as a whole.

The peoples’ quality of life is considered to be the best indicator of a nation’s progress and development. Clean air to breathe, safe water to drink, nutritious food on the table, and a healthy citizenry free from contagious diseases are some of the factors that define good quality of life. It is not surprising to note that developed countries have already attained this ideal situation. Thus, there exists a positive correlation between quality of life and the level of science literacy among the citizens.

 

MOISES NORMAN Z. GARCIA, PhD and MARIA ROSARIO VIRGINIA COBAR-GARCIA, PhD, research associates, UST Research Center for Social Science & Education

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TAGS: Earth Day, environment, letter, Letter to the Editor, March for Science, opinion, Science
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