12) Feb. 13 Current actions: Civil society – the individual
Nickerson, Raymond S. (2003). "Chapter 4:AttitudeAssessment and Change." Psychology and
Environmental Change. Mahwah: N.J.: Lawrence ErlbaumAssociates. pp. 72-90.
1) attitudes toward environment
Nickerson summary of psychology studies:
. individuals do not feel threatened by environmental damage
. nor do they not feel personally responsible
. attitudes influenced by political stance; more left, more pro-environment
. attitudes influenced by identification with cause of damage, eg work in the factory
. some correlation with demographic factors, but not strong
However, respecting demographic factors, we do know origins of environmentalism were in
cities in 19 c. not rural areas; and that higher levels of education correlate with higher levels of
concern for environment.
Gifford, Robert (2002). “Chapter 3. EnvironmentalAttitudes,Appraisals andAssessments.”
Environmental Psychology: Principles and Practice. Canada: Optimal Books, offers this view:
. gender – women usually more concerned
. childhood experience – outdoor experience correlates with concern
. class – environmental concern to some extend higher in middle and upper classes
. nationality – no major differences among countries, but those in global south tend to be
concerned about local issues (eg threats to drinking water) while those in global north concerned
about global issues (eg climate change)
. urban v rural – differences not clear (but see above)
. exposure to environmental risk – those living closer to environmental problems, eg
hazardous waste site, are more concerned
2) perceived value of environment
Contingent valuation surveys are used for some policy purposes to determine public support for
different options; eg, anAustralian survey found citizens would pay $143 a year to prevent
impacts from mining in a national park.As the reading shows, the methodology is difficult.
This also raises the issue of putting a dollar value on what many people feel should not be
subject to market exchange. The same problem exists with the concept of valuing ecosystem
services. Constanza, R. et al (2007). “The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural
capital.” Nature, 387: 253-260, estimated that replacing services to humans provided by the
nonhuman world (eg erosion control, pollination of flowers, water supply) with human
technology would cost $33 trillion per year (US, 1997 dollars).
!1 Will an estimate like that influence human attitudes toward environment? ie, will humans value it
more because a dollar value has been put on it?
3)Assessing environmental quality
. people prefer natural scenes, with greenery and water, over human-made
. leads to suggestion humans have an inherent, genetic attraction to the nonhuman
My comment - but humans have also always seen nature as a threat (starving to death in the