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Session Overview
RN12_02c: Environmental Values and Attitudes
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Mikael Klintman, Lund University
Location: BS.3.23
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Third Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road

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Environmental Consciousness in China

Huidi Ma

Chinese National Academy of Arts, China, People's Republic of

According to an study by the Ministry of National Land Resources in 2007, the polluted arable land has reached 150 million mu(the Chinese system of weights and measures. The land affected by polluted water is about 32.5 million mu and the land taken up as dumping grounds for solid wastes and garbage is about 2 million mu. Accumulation of pollutants in the land will inevitably lead to food pollution.

Against this backdrop, lots of people in most of the Chinese cities, towns, and villages grow their own vegetables, grains, fruit trees, and raise livestock in the little plots of land around their homes. In order to decrease the intake and consumption of polluted food.

The “Questionnaire Survey of Home-Grown-Food” is a joint research project between the Chinese researchers and the Open University in the UK and Czech Academy of Social Sciences. The questionnaire is provided by the British partner. Respondents of the questionnaires are all adults randomly selected by sex and different regions.The Survey encompasses the seven areas in the eastern, western, southern, northern, and the mid regions of China. The main approach is a combination of qualitative and quantitative analyses via interdisciplinary theoretical investigation.

On this basis, we try to discover what environmental consciousness, psychological motives, conditions of support the participants in “home-grown-food” possess and their perception of and sensitivity towards the whole environment, their understanding of environmental issues and related experience, their sentiment and emotions towards ecological environment and their abilities in recognizing and solving environmental problems, etc.

Key words:Questionnaire survey, home grown food, environmental consciousness, conditions of support

The Application of Panel Regression in the Structural Equation Modelling Framework to Assess Relationships between Environmental Values and Attitudes

Henrik Kenneth Andersen, Jochen Mayerl

Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany

Recently, there has been increased interest in the application of panel regression techniques within the framework of structural equation modelling (SEM). SEM panel regression combines several attractive analytical features. On the one hand, the unit-specific error term subsumes the combined effect of all time-invariant confounders and drastically reduces the number of control variables normally necessary to identify a ‘causal’ effect. SEM, on the other hand, incorporates factor-analytic techniques to explicitly model and account for measurement error in any exogenous and endogenous variables.

This paper outlines the SEM panel regression framework and applies it to the question of how environmental values influence attitudes towards the Transition to Renewable Energy (‘Energiewende’) in Germany. It uses three waves of data (2014 – 2016) taken from the GESIS Panel survey. It demonstrates the flexibility of the method which makes it possible to incorporate bidirectional (normally cross-lagged) and autoregressive effects as best suits the theory. Unobserved heterogeneity in terms of levels and growth can be accounted for by including latent intercept as well as growth factors. The inclusion of time-invariant predictors (date of birth, sex, education etc.) is straightforward. The constructs are modelled as latent variables to account and correct for measurement error and establish temporal measurement invariance to ensure observed changes are due solely to true changes in the latent constructs.

The paper finds, in accordance with attitude theory, that one’s own environmental values do indeed seem to influence their attitudes towards the Energiewende at a later point in time. A positive change in environmental values later leads to more positive attitudes and vice versa. At the between-level, values seem to be more stable than attitudes over time.

The Link Between Attitudes and Environmental Practices. An Empirical Analysis on French Data

Philippe Coulangeon1, Yoann Demoli2, Maël Ginsburger1,3, Ivaylo Petev3

1OSC, Sciences Po, Paris, France; 2Printemps, Université Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines, France; 3CREST, CNRS, ENSAE, Université Paris-Saclay, France

This paper relies on a recent survey conducted on a representative sample of the French population, the ELIPSS internet panel. The survey includes questions on opinions about pollution, global warming, technological risk, and questions on consumption patterns, energy expenditures and trips. It thus offers the opportunity to explore the link between attitudes and practices with respect to the environment, based in particular on responses to a scale of attitudes towards the environment and nature, the NEP scale [Dunlap and Van Liere, 1978], stemming from responses to fifteen questions relating to different dimensions of environmental consciousness.

The aim of this communication is twofold. We first show that the NEP scale is structured by two distinct dimensions, that of concern about the degradation of nature and the environment and that of distrust in technical progress. We then show that these two dimensions are unsteadily and weakly correlated with the practices observed in the different domains of consumption or expenditure that are harmful for the environment. These results lead us, following the work of Elizabeth Shove (2010), to question the relevance of the planned action theory according to which practices result from the implementation of underlining attitudes and dispositions (Ajzen and Fishbein, 1980). Rather, they draw attention to the structural constraints and contingencies that shape people’s behaviours notwithstanding their dispositions and inclinations.

“Fitting Within The Doughnut” - Measuring Socio-Economic, Socio-Cultural And Biophysical Thresholds Of Sustainability

Marija Brajdić Vuković3, Branko Ančić1, Mladen Domazet2

1Institute for Social Research in Zagreb, Croatia; 2Institute for Political Ecology; 3University of Zagreb

Consumption of energy and materials has increased exponentially across the globe since the Industrial Revolution, resulting in environmental degradation and increased risk of moving our planet outside a safe operating sustainable space (Stefan et al., 2015.). A new paradigm in science is needed founded on epistemology that enriches and deepens the understanding of the Earth System by closing the loop between natural and social sciences (Donges et a., 2017) in order to understand the socio-economic and socio-cultural forces that are related to the biophysical foundations.

Tracking environmental and social sustainability indicators is crucial in order for humanity to simultaneously reduce environmental impacts and improve social and individual well-being. Therefore the aim of our paper is to improve the understanding of “the social context” in which environmental degradation occurs through combining of various indicators in the web of societal-biophysical analysis. This study creates a framework for defining the safe operating space for humanity in Croatia by setting globally just biophysical and social thresholds, by modifying and extending Raworth’s Doughnut model (Raworth, 2017). The research also considers public perceptions regarding sustainability and how indicators change over time to understand the barriers to achieving sustainability targets. Empirically, we connect different aspects of the material flow, comparative burdens and goals, and prevalent social attitudes hindering and fostering planetary resilience. In a new empirical synthesis we employ survey data on representative national samples over the past 5 years and set it against the comparatively advantageous biophysical funds and flows in line with sustainable degrowth in the Global North.

Why Is Nature Valuable? The Historical Trajectory Of Environmental Debates In Norway

Gisle Andersen

Norwegian Research Centre, Norway

This paper analyses the changing valuation of ‘nature’ and ‘the environment’ in Norwegian parliamentary debates (1900-2015). The analysis documents substantial changes in why nature is considered valuable, and what kind of knowledge and policy instruments considered necessary and relevant.

The analysis builds on theoretical perspectives from pragmatic moral-political sociology (Boltanski and Thévenot 2006) and focus on a substantial shift in valuation of nature that occurred in the 1990s. The Norwegian parliamentary debates from this period are characterized by a harsh ecological self-critique that supported a new way of valuing nature: What is valued is not nature ‘itself’ but the function that nature has for humans and the conservation of nature as a ‘life supporting production system’ for humanity.

This has had significant implications for how environmental concerns are coordinated with other social considerations in parliamentary decisions: It is primarily nature's function as a production system that must be protected from harm. As long as an activity can go on without diminishing the functional utility of nature for humanity - use, change and destruction of nature can be considered legitimate.

Furthermore, this can be linked to changes in environmental management systems and environmental law. It is also related to changes in systems for measuring, calculating and

evaluating environmental impact. This development can be conceptualized as a shift towards ‘ecosystem-based’ or ‘holistic’ environmental policy, but are based on an anthropocentric valuation of nature. The changes in Norway are considered closely related to, and in part inspired by, international development, conventions and United Nations initiatives.

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