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Investigating The Attitudes And Behaviors Of Generation Y Towards Environmental Activism In Australia

2070 words - 8 pages

2. Research Problem.

The issues surrounding the natural environment, and those measures necessary to save it, are pervasive themes in current Australian political and social discourse; awareness is high, and opinions are divided. With impending generational replacement, the environmental movement, represented by Environmental Movement Organisations’ (EMO), is of increasing importance in attempts to shift public opinion and behaviours. This research considers it important to understand how the attitudes of Generation Y on the importance of contemporary environmental issues relate to their support for environmental movement organisations’ (EMOs). This research is an investigation into whether self-professed pro-environmental attitudes predict actual pro-environmental behaviour.

3. Project Background and Rationale.

It is generally accepted that the planet is in crisis, and that drastic and immediate action is imperative; this is a sentiment increasingly pervasive on a global scale. The movement to preserve and protect our planet’s natural environment and ecosystems has accordingly gained momentum, attributable to greater levels of awareness and knowledge on environmental issues. This can be credited to the progressive politicisation and routinisation of environmental issues, and ongoing media coverage (Tranter 2010; Crook & Pakulski 1995). The role of environmental activism and environmentalism in this process is noteworthy.

The ‘New Environmentalism’ movement of the late twentieth century is particularly relevant here. With its inception popularly placed in the early 1960’s, New Environmentalism saw a more urgent and global conception of the natural environment come to the fore. Here, environmental activism took shape and gained considerable impetus. In Australia, direct action campaigns and demonstrations by environmental activists ‘attracted media attention, contributed to increased public awareness of environmental issues, served as training grounds for environmental leaders and spawned green political parties’ (Papdakis 1998 cited in Tranter 2010, p.423).

In the years following, EMOs’ grew in number and developed as the public face of the environmental movement; a reflection of the ‘politicisation and organisational articulation of environmental concerns’ (Crook & Pakulski 1995, p.40). Today, such environmental groups are integral to the environmental movement, representing a traditional means for collective action. Additionally, through the ongoing dissemination of accessible information and knowledge about environmental causes and issues, such organisations cultivate public awareness and attempt to muster support. Various methods are employed to achieve these ends, however the direct action tactics favoured by previous generations are being utilised less, substituted by conventional lobbying and by cyber campaigning. This tactical shift is largely attributed to the disinterest of the media in staged protests, (Hutchins &...

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