Think Green, Talk Green: Opinion Formation and Expression about the Environment.
Environmental problems in the Philippines have been receiving very little attention and exposure from the media. Such an issue is not always tackled in the government, the academe, and in everyday settings. Guided by the Social Ecological Model, the Information-Integration Theory, the Spiral of Silence Model, and the concept of Communication Apprehension, this study looks into how college students approach and communicate about the issue of the environment in the country and how they utilize online and offline networks to form and express their opinions about environmental issues.
Four universities from Metro Manila and Malolos, Bulacan were purposively selected for the survey respondents while the informants for the focus interview came from the said universities and from other universities as well. This study revealed that although the issue of environment is among the top five problems in the country, some other issues remain more important than this issue. College students were also found to be most concerned about the issues of air pollution, global warming, solid waste management, typhoons, and floods and that they become more concerned if people are already getting affected by issues relating to the environment. Also, the government is perceived as the institution most responsible in taking care of the environment.
The internet, the television, teachers, and friends are the most frequent media and interpersonal/group sources of environment-related information. College students perform various environment-friendly activities and mostly express their opinions about the environment online rather than offline. Factors such as limited awareness, perceived technicality/seriousness of the issue, fear of isolation, presence of other issues to worry about, fear, incapacity of people, psychographic of the speaker and the listener, and several aspects of the Filipino culture prevent them from expressing their opinions. However, college students are also motivated to express their opinions about the environment because they feel like they are helping save the environment and are contributing something to improve its current state.
Keywords: Environment, Environmental Issues, Opinion Formation, Opinion Expression