Presentation on theme: "Environmental attitudes and behaviour in Canada: Common Ground or a Rural-Urban Divide? Emily Huddart, Solange Nadeau, Bonita McFarlane and Tom Beckley."— Presentation transcript:
Environmental attitudes and behaviour in Canada: Common Ground or a Rural-Urban Divide? Emily Huddart, Solange Nadeau, Bonita McFarlane and Tom Beckley
Background and purpose Long history of research on environmental attitudes. Much less research on environmental behaviour Historical disconnect between environmental attitudes (positive) and environmental behaviour. Little evidence that people were acting on their espoused concern for the environment. Question was seldom asked.
Background and purpose The early work on environmental attitudes suggested urban people had more pro-environmental attitudes. Work that eventually tackled environmental behaviour also suggested urban folks had more pro-environmental behaviour Virtually all of this work done in U.S. Is Canada different?
Research questions Do urban residents express more pro- environmental attitudes? Do urban residents practice more pro- environmental behaviour? In today’s mobile society, does residence during socialization (prior to age 18) play a larger role in PEA and PEB than current residence?
Operating hypothesis There will be little to no difference between rural and urban residents in PEB if a broader and more “fair” set of measures are used. Why? Mobility (more people not living where they grew up) Homogeneity of culture (similar exposure to mass culture) Rural PEB was always there, it just looks different.
Key concepts Social psychological variables Pro-environmental behaviour Behaviour that has a positive impact on Earth’s systems and natural resources Public, Private, and Conservation-sphere PEB Methodological wrinkle – The residence variable Values are assumed to be formed through socialization (focus until 18th birthday) Urban and rural settings may offer different environments for socialization
Key concepts Social psychological variables Basic values The set of standards/principles that guide our lives Egoistic, Altruistic, Traditional Environmental beliefs Judgement and mental acceptance of the validity of a situation, statement or object Environmental attitude Evaluation that predisposes an individual to react consistently positively or negatively to a situation, statement or object
Causal model: PEB Private- sphere PEB Public- sphere PEB Conservation -sphere PEB Education Age Male Residence Altruistic Values Traditional Values Egoistic Values Environmental Beliefs Environmental Attitude
The survey… Mail survey Addresses provided by a marketing firm Rural/Urban status based on Statistic Canada Rural Small Town definition (by postal code designation) Overall 34.7% response rate
Measurement Basic values 15 items; shortened Schwartz Values Inventory (Stern et al. 1998) Environmental beliefs 15 items; New Ecological Paradigm scale (revised version from Dunlap et al. 2000) Environmental attitude Priority of environment in daily life
Measurement Pro-environmental behaviour Consumptive & stewardship behaviour Turn out lights, conserve water, carpool Frequency of involvement in habitat restoration, tree planting Use of environmental services (e.g. recycling, public transit, community garden, composting subsidies) Challenge = separating environmental motivations from simple frugality Activist behaviour Write politicians, sign petitions, attend meetings, financially support ENGOs
Measurement Residence Categories: Remote, rural, adjacent to urban or urban area (definitions were provided): What type of place respondent lived: Until their 18 th birthday Most of their adult life Their current residence
Residence High correlation between “Most of your life” category and “Until your 18 th ” “Most of your life” category and “Current” Creation of Residence Continuum : Rural-socialized\Currently rural resident Rural-socialized\Currently urban resident Urban-socialized\Currently rural resident Urban-socialized\Currently urban resident
Respondent profile Rural/RuralRural/UrbanUrban/RuralUrban/Urban Age (mean) % Women % University degree % income < $50,
Key results Pro-environmental behaviour Public-sphere: generally low engagement Lower for Rural/Rural Highest for Urban/Rural Private and Conservation-spheres: generally high engagement No statistically significant differences for Private- sphere PEB Currently rural residents have statistically significantly higher Conservation-sphere PEB
Key results Environmental Attitude Fairly high for all, no significant differences Basic Values Altruistic and traditional values: no significant differences Egoistic values: Urban/Rural significantly lower than Urban/Urban
Conclusions Availability of infrastructure plays a key role in engagement in Private and Conservation-sphere PEB Rural citizens do not practice lower levels of PEB, as has been previously thought Currently rural citizens practice more Conservation-sphere PEB Private-sphere PEB does not differ between residence categories
Conclusions Residence doesn’t play a very important role in the determination of environmental behaviour Little difference in values and attitude (ex. Urban/Rural have lower egoistic values than Urban/Urban) Differences in environmental beliefs are mostly due to lower levels of education in rural areas Current residence is more important than past residence in determining engagement in PEB Has more to do with available PEB infrastructure and possibilities than with socialization and attitudes. What you do for PEB is more a function of what it makes sense to do given where you are.
Conclusion Rural residents are no more or less pro- environment than urban residents. Rural environmentalism expresses itself in a different way, through different actions.