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Global Concern about the Environment
The concern about the environment is an increasingly important matter for local community in Sarasota and Manatee counties, especially given the costal nature of our communities and continuing growth and development. The concern is also an global issue. “My article recently published in Social Science Quarterly evaluates the extent to which economic affluence, stress on the natural environment, the level of globalization, and economic globalization each contributes to the change in environmental concern in 82 countries across seven years (1990, 1993, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2004, and 2010). Using a statistical approach to analyze data across years, my work analyzed a combined dataset from 7 waves of international surveys to measure how people concern about the environment.
Findings show that the exposure to stress on the natural environment is critical in shaping public environmental concern. This finding is in line with previous studies suggesting people are concerned about the environment for survival and health considerations. Also, developing countries who are affected heavily by ecological degradation participated actively in the 1992 U.N. conference on environment and development in Rio de Janeiro and the most recent conference on climate change in Lima, Peru. In comparison, the increase in economic affluence does not change, the likelihood of people’s willingness to pay higher taxes for environmental protection. In addition, efforts to make global policies more environmentally friendly (e.g., Paris climate accord) does not affect people’s environmental concern and the effect of globalization was unclear in the findings.
This study demonstrates that factors differ in their influence over public environmental concern and these vary within each country. In short, it is difficult to provide a simple explanation as to why public concern for the natural environment changed over the 20 year period this study covers. However, within the Sarasota and Manatee communities, this research suggests environmental concern and resistance to development efforts will continue to increase as people perceive developments as having a harmful effect on the natural environment. Thus, local developers and environmental advocacy groups might join together to identify and mitigate potential environmental stress to maintain the integrity of the natural environment while also allowing for development.
Hao, Feng. 2016 “A Panel Regression Study on Multiple Predictors of Environmental Concern for 82 Countries across 7 Years.” Social Science Quarterly 97(5): 991-1004.
To access the full paper, click here.