Environmental Management

Taking Environmental Action: The Role of Local Composition, Context, and Collective

- By: , , ,

Courtesy of Environmental Management

This article explores individual and community action taken in response to perceived environmental risks by investigating the determinants of environmental action across a range of action types. A conceptual framework is first presented, which provides a foundation for investigating the role of local compositional (i.e., individual characteristics), contextual (i.e., neighborhood environment), and collective (i.e., social networks) factors in environmental action. To test the utility of the conceptual framework, a quantitative survey was administered to a random sample of households (n = 512) in Hamilton, Canada. The results suggest that the predictors of environmental action vary by action type (i.e., personal change, individual civic action, and cooperative civic action), and that factors related to perceived environmental exposure and social capital generally play a stronger, more consistent role in civic environmental action than sociodemographic or neighborhood factors. The results underscore the role of social connection in responses to perceived environmental risks.

Keywords: Environmental action - Social capital - Risk perception - Local context - Air pollution

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