“What we are trying to do is to explore more strategies on how to improve environmental reporting in the Philippines – and on how to reach the government and communities as well,” said Imelda Abano, president of the Philippine Network of Environmental Journalists, Inc. (PNEJ) and senior correspondent at Business Mirror, in an interview with ECSP.
With an overwhelmingly coastal population of around 95 million, the 7,150 island archipelago of the Philippines is seen as highly vulnerable to environmental and climate-related threats. One of Albano’s major aims as president of the PNEJ is therefore to “empower local journalists to report more on environmental issues like biodiversity, climate change, disaster, and other environmental challenges in the Philippines,” she said.
Compelling reporting, she said, comes from “try[ing] to understand what the government is trying to say or what researchers or other organizations are trying to say,” and then relating that information back to the people “in the layman’s terms.”
Environmental issues require a lot of context, she said. One of the most important related issues in the Philippines is population growth.
“When you talk about environment issues, it really resonates or links to population issues,” Abano said. Current UN projections estimate that by 2050, the population could balloon to nearly 155 million. “This really affects our jobs, women, culture, and of course the population around the coastal areas.”