Migrants to the Coasts
Livelihood, Resource Management, and Global Change in the Philippines by James F. Eder
Environmental problems in Southeast Asia are mainly due to a conflict between conservation and needs of the local people. This book mainly focuses on Palawan Islands in Philippines. Eder has identified problems brought about by this conflict and has tried to identify ways of achieving a balance between the local needs and biodiversity conservation needs. There is conflicting global pressure that has encouraged local communities to exploit coastal resources on one hand while there are other forces advocating for conservation of coastal resources.
Eder also attempts to highlight how the local people attempt to cope with global changes. Understanding the problem is key to developing successful strategies for dealing with the problem. Eder in his book has made a good account of the environmental problems that are experienced on Palawan Island, Philippines. As global pressure encourage local people to fish more, fish resources dwindles and this forces the fishermen to resort to harmful methods of fishing. Other local have turned to alternative means of earning their livelihoods such as farming.
Eder in attempt to come with solution studied what might have brought about these problems. Greater economic competition and pressure to earn a living are the major sources of the degradation conflict. This book examine how local communities particularly those in Palawan are responding to global changes. After defining the problem, Eder tries to find solution by looking at these issues in the perspective of the local people. The author has emphasized involvement of local communities in finding way forward for the existing problem.
Eder shares the belief that by understanding the local communities in the coastal region an amicable solution can be arrived at. The book has also indicated how ethnicity, gender and evangelical religious convention contribute to changes in the economic strategies.
Environmental Degradation in the Philippines Coastal Zones
These are such as fish for food and coral for building, trade and ornamental purposes. Decline in fish population and destruction of coral has been recorded to be the result of this is rapid increase of population. Global changes also contributed to the magnification of these environmental problems. With development and globalization increased pressure was piled on the locals to further exploit the coastal resources. Global changes shifted the communities concern from just meeting their subsistence needs to concerns about economic competition, educating of their children and securing a better future.
The communities turned from substance fishing to commercial fishing which further diminished the fish stock in the Philippines coastal areas. Globalization also led to increased demand of Philippine fish in foreign markets. Tourists visiting the Philippines region and consumers thousands of miles away from Philippines, have increased demand for fish and fish product and in order to meet this demand locals have resorted to fishing more and more. Some have begun using destructive fishing practices in order to get increased fish harvest. Illegal commercial fishing, destructive fishing practices and lack of alternative sources of livelihood have become the biggest sources of environmental degradation in the Philippines coastal region.
Other economic activities began to thrive in the Philippines coastal region. Among them are tourism and agriculture. Though these activities have reduced dependence of local communities on fishing, they have not served to reduce the environmental degradation. Tourism for example, has led to an escalation in the demand for fish and fish product leading to further diminishing of the fish resources. Tourism activities such as scuba diving, water surfing and snorkeling have also led to other form of environmental degradation. These are such as destruction of corals and interference with the way of life of coastal and marine flora and fauna.
Agricultural and tourism activities have also led to pollution of the coastal and marine environments through effluent from tourism establishments, littering by tourists and pollution by agricultural chemical washed into the sea from agricultural lands. The governments and other organization have initiated conservation projects to try and solve these problems but most of these projects seem to be failing. There appear to be a conflict between conservation efforts and local communities needs. Therefore it has become essential to involve communities in designing future conservation projects. This is what James Eder has emphasized on in his book.
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