Research Challenge 3

Environmental Empathy

The Philippines as a developing country is expecting a dynamic economic growth. However, the industrial and tourist-driven model of the economy puts the country’s largest resources at risk, including its natural capital – healthy, functioning and diverse ecosystems -- that in turn sustains and contributes to its social and cultural capital. The project will use a biocultural landscape framework to investigate the interconnected natural, cultural, and social ecosystems of the Philippines. The research will reflect local stakeholders’ values and can be used to underpin local economic and social development plans. Hence allowing appropriate development strategies to be tailored to meet the needs of the area rather than directly transferring inappropriate strategies from ‘the global North to the South”.

In this project, we will use a participatory approach to identify environmental issues in the local community through reflective, participatory research approaches. We will develop tools to monitor and collect data relating to natural and cultural ecosystem service (tangible/intangible). We will design a possible intervention and learn how to overcome some common barriers for the project implementation, e.g.: multiple interests, local government policies, compliance with the law.

In this project you will explore and learn to

  • Use the landscape framework to understand a research problem and develop an intervention
  • Identify the important problems for the communities using a bottom-up approach
  • Develop participatory research tools tailored to your project
  • Use mobile apps (e.g., ‘Rate My View’ (RmV) ( and ‘Landscape Connect’ ( to gather geo-referenced information about environmental issues and people’s attitudes
  • Use R software for extracting valuable data about people attitudes to landscape from social media sites (Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • Identify the ‘pockets of optimism’ while working on implementation of your project with different levels of governance

Skills, disciplines, and perspectives welcome include (but are not limited to) the following

Environmental science, geography, social sciences, psychology, anthropology, visual arts, narrative arts, data science

Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

Primary Facilitators and Mentors

Other facilitators and mentors may also contribute to this project