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Canadian Public Opinion and Environmental Action

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Canadian Journal of Political Science, Volume 30, p.451- (1997)



Public opinion regarding environmental issues has attracted considerable scholarly attention during the 1990s. Less attention has been paid to links between environmentally friendly attitudes and "green" behaviour and the degree to which behaviour is context or value-driven, especially in Canada. Using survey data from British Columbia, this article analyzes these links, paying particular attention to differences between public perceptions of local versus global environment, and how these concerns influence behaviour. The analysis also demonstrates the importance of distinguishing between different types of behaviour. While the crucial role of postmaterial values for three kinds of environmentally friendly behaviour is confirmed, other factors, particularly left/right ideological differences and personal financial circumstances emerge as significant explanatory variables. "Green consumer behaviour" is largely determined by local context. Local concerns also drive "green political activity," but value differences are crucial as well. Left/right differences and personal financial circumstances are especially important in explaining "green pocketbook behaviour"willingness to incur costs, either personally or through taxes, for environmental protection and enhancement.