SWS: Pinoys wary of climate change impact on mental health

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
SWS: Pinoys wary of climate change impact on mental health
Binondo’s skyline reflects the country’s robust economic expansion as ANZ Research projects the Philippines to reach upper middle-income status by 2031.
STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Aside from its threat on physical health, climate change is acknowledged by a large majority of Filipinos as having a dangerous impact on mental health.

A recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey found that 81 percent of the respondents perceived climate change as dangerous on one’s mental health.

Of the figure, 37 percent said it is “very dangerous” and 44 percent said it is “somewhat dangerous.”

The remaining 19 percent said that climate change is not dangerous to one’s mental health.

Meanwhile, in terms of climate change’s impact on physical health, 47 percent perceive climate change as “very dangerous” and 42 percent said it is “somewhat dangerous.” The remaining 11 percent said it is not dangerous.

The survey, conducted from Dec. 8 to 11 last year, found that 87 percent of the respondents experienced the impact of climate change in the past three years.

Of the figure, 19 percent experienced its severe impact, 43 percent experienced moderate impact and 24 percent experienced little impact.

The remaining 13 percent said they did not experience the impact of climate change.

In terms of awareness, 73 percent said they previously knew of climate change, down from 79 percent in similar surveys conducted in March and October, also last year.

Those who said they knew of climate change only during the survey period increased from 21 percent to 27 percent.

Asked about emotions brought about by climate change, 87 percent said they felt at least one negative emotion, while 37 percent cited at least one positive emotion.

Top negative emotions included sadness (56 percent), anxiety (43 percent), fear (43 percent), depression (16 percent), anger (11 percent) and hopelessness (11 percent).

Patience was the top positive emotion with 22 percent of respondents saying it was among those brought about by climate change, followed by hope (seven percent) and calmness (seven percent).

Fewer respondents, based on the survey, thought that the humanity could do something to stop or slow down climate change “if everyone really tried.” It went down to 57 percent in December last year from 76 percent in December 2022 and 69 percent in October last year.

Those who believe that climate change is already beyond humanity’s control increased from 23 percent in December 2022 and 29 percent in October last year to 39 percent in December last year.

Based on the survey, only 39 percent of the respondents said they participated in at least one effort to reduce climate change risks.

Some 18 percent said they contacted a local government employee, followed by contacting traditional or community leaders (12 percent), officials of political parties (eight percent), and non-government organizations (eight percent).

Seven percent of the respondents said they gave donations, another seven percent claimed they contacted national government employee, while four percent said they contacted “other influential people” and another four percent reached out to legislators or their representatives.

Sixty-one percent of the respondents said they did not do anything to help reduce climate change risks.

The SWS fourth-quarter survey had 1,200 respondents and a margin of error of plus/minus 2.8 percent.

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