Environmental awareness and public support for protecting and restoring Puget Sound
In an effort to garner consensus around environmental programs, practitioners have attempted to increase awareness about environmental threats and demonstrate the need for action. Nonetheless, how beliefs about the scope and severity of different types of environmental concerns shape support for management interventions are less clear. Using data from a telephone survey of residents of the Puget Sound region of Washington, we investigate how perceptions of the severity of different coastal environmental problems, along with other social factors, affect attitudes about policy options. We find that self-assessed environmental understanding and views about the seriousness of pollution, habitat loss, and salmon declines are only weakly related. Among survey respondents, women, young people, and those who believe pollution threatens Puget Sound are more likely to support policy measures such as increased enforcement and spending on restoration. Conversely, self-identified Republicans and individuals who view current regulations as ineffective tend to oppose governmental actions aimed at protecting and restoring Puget Sound. Support for one policy measure—tax credits for environmentally-friendly business practices—is not significantly affected by political party affiliation. These findings demonstrate that environmental awareness can influence public support for environmental policy tools. However, the nature of particular management interventions and other social forces can have important mitigating effects and need to be considered by practitioners attempting to develop environment-related social indicators and generate consensus around the need for action to address environmental problems.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Safford, T.G., Norman, K.C., Henly, M., Mills, K.E., Levin, P.S. 2014. Environmental awareness and public support for protecting and restoring Puget Sound. Environmental Management. Vol. 53 (4): 757-768.
c Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014