I am still not fully comfortable being called an environmental scientist. I just submitted a research proposal to an academic funding agency just to test if my scientific research ability is still…you know…functional.. I am not really aiming for mega ground breaking research similar to the work that led to the Nobel peace prize of the IPCC way back in 2007.
The first scientist designation I received was way back in 2007 during the ISO 14001/OHSAS 18001 re-certification audit of the ADB headquarters here in Manila where one of my bosses referred to me as an environmental scientist. Some people around me thinking, it was weird but Mr. Baldissimo who referred to me as that said that having a masters degree in environmental science makes me an environmental scientist. Though, I don’t find anything special about having that masters degree and I am not the kind of person who would flaunt such a qualification, unless of course I am job hunting.
Maybe I do have that certain cultural stigma about scientists that they are mad, crazy or weird, the nearest thing I could refer to this discomfort is like wearing a bikini on a beach which is totally acceptable in the western world. If wearing a bikini in my country is slowly being accepted, maybe being a scientist could soon be. I can imagine myself wearing a bikini, of course I would have to go through a complete physical overhaul in terms of cosmetic enhancement, even with that I would still feel uncomfortable. I already have my academic background and work experience to back up my scientific qualification yet I still don’t feel comfortable being referred to as an “environmental scientist”. Frankly, I have more right to be called an environmental scientist than to wear a bikini.
Scientists are good people, I have personally met Rosa Perez and Rodel Lasco, Filipinos who have participated in the IPCC who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. I know my peers are scientists, those who have conducted multiple environmental impacts assessments, those who are now teaching in universities and are performing academic research, offering their help in far flung places to extension services and people I had the chance to work with. I asked a BV colleague once about his academic background and he comfortably said that he is an environmental scientist. So am I, but I just don’t feel comfortable saying it openly.
Deep inside, there is something that is holding me back…