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Latent Environmental Champions

Before i start off spewing some incoherence for some, let's start with the definition of the word, LATENT.


  • 1(of a quality or state) existing but not yet developed or manifest; hidden or concealed.
    ‘they have a huge reserve of latent talent’
source: Oxford Dictionaries

In tourism, or ecotourism, it would mean that a person can become an active environmental champion or advocate if he is given the right tool to become one. And in this case, that tool is KNOWLEDGE.

And to become an effective champion for conservation, he must be armed with the right knowledge for him to adequately understand and pass on that data to other people in his community, the travel industry and the people he will have to impress on his environmental passion and knowledge. Yup, you can call those recipients, tourists.

I'll try to make this short. Pray with me so you won't get bored.

There are so many areas now in the Philippines (and in other countries, actually) where there is a huge reservoir of latent environmental champions. People who are concerned with the current status of nature and are willing to do something (you have to accept, oftentimes within the confines of their livelihood), but are sorely lacking in fully understanding the dynamics of nature and integrating them into their lives. And I'm not talking only about the guides. It could be anybody or everybody living in a coastal area or forest. Anybody who is a latent environmental champion - not yet there, but eager to become one.

And how ready are they? As ready as them understanding a super complex concept such as.... "biodiversity"!

Yup, stop treating the hoi polloi as a sector that would never get it. Because in reality, a good number of them can easily get it. And yes, some are in the tourism sector. And yes, you can stop treating them as walls, and consider them instead as stepping stones for conservation.

We already have benchmarks, areas where communities with perceived "zero" environmental knowledge have become icons for conservation. Together with some pioneers in ecotourism and conservation in the government and NGOs, we have prepared the trail for more than 20 years for the new champions and environmental "guidance counsellors." It should be an easy path from here.

If you're a current champion oozing with environmental knowledge, share them, don't just brag about them. Don't just tell them that mangroves should be protected. Tell them about ecosystem services, sub-lethal salinity, wave and wind energy dissipation, and.... its aesthetic value (well, you can leave the last one to the tourism and marketing experts). I can talk on so many other things like coastal areas, forests and caves, but you already get the drift. (See? I successfully made this blog short!)

You will be surprised how many and how ready people can transcend their roles from passive audience to active protectors of the environment. They just need the right tool call knowledge.


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