climate change

Most Filipinos believe climate change threatens health – SWS survey

Iya Gozum

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Most Filipinos believe climate change threatens health – SWS survey

POURING. Commuters and some students are left stranded due to flooding at TM Kalaw, UN, and Taft Avenues after torrential rain brought by the habagat enhanced by Typhoon Goring batter Metro Manila on August 31, 2023.


Despite the souring outlook over humanity's capacity to stop climate change, a big majority of Filipinos still believe they can do something to at least reduce climate risk

MANILA, Philippines – Most Filipinos believe climate change threatens physical and mental health, according to a recent survey the Social Weather Stations conducted last December.

Eighty-eight percent (88%) of Filipino adult respondents said climate change has a dangerous impact on their physical health, while 81% said it poses a risk to their mental health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated climate change’s direct damage costs to health to be between $2 billion to $4 billion per year by 2030.

Climate change is a “threat multiplier” that increases the risk of deaths and the spread of diseases due to extreme weather events, the WHO said.

Among the health risks identified by WHO were heat-related and respiratory illnesses as well as water-borne and food-borne diseases. (READ: How climate change is making the world sick)

The number of Filipinos who perceived climate change’s impact on health was higher than those who said they experienced severe, moderate, and little impacts of climate change.

Eighty-seven percent (87%) of Filipinos felt impacts of climate change the past three years, down by 7 points from a similar survey last October.

Sad but still hopeful?

The recognition of the threat to health and lives had 56% of Filipinos saying they felt sadness, while 43% expressed anxiety. The survey allowed for respondents to give multiple answers. Forty-three percent (43%) said they also felt fear.

Eighty-seven percent (87%) felt negative emotions about climate change, while a minority, 22%, said they have patience, hope, calmness, and courage amid the crisis.

A point higher than those who felt sadness over this predicament, 57% of Filipinos still think that the crisis could be stopped if real actions were to be done.

However, this number of Filipinos exhibiting an optimistic outlook fell by 12 points from October 2023 and 19 points from December 2022.

Meanwhile, those who believe that the crisis was now beyond humanity’s control rose by 10 points from October 2023 and 16 points from December 2022.

Going by recent surveys, it seems that Filipinos’ hope that humans could do something about climate change was slowly diminishing.

Despite the souring outlook, a big majority of Filipinos still believe they can do something to at least reduce climate risk.

Seventy-four percent (74%) of respondents agreed to the statement, “People like me can do something to reduce climate risk or risks resulting from climate change.”

In comparison, 17% were undecided about their capacity to do something, while 9% disagreed.

The SWS conducted the survey from December 8 to 11, 2023, through face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults nationwide. The sampling error margins were ±2.8% for national percentages and ±5.7% for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

Read more details from the survey here. –

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Iya Gozum

Iya Gozum covers the environment, agriculture, and science beats for Rappler.