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The role of social capital in predicting and promoting feelings of responsibility for local environmental issues in an Australian community

Miller, Evonne & Buys, Laurie (2008) The role of social capital in predicting and promoting feelings of responsibility for local environmental issues in an Australian community. Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 15(4), pp. 231-240.

Abstract

Engaging individuals and communities with environmental sustainability initiatives is an international public policy priority, with recent research focussed on understanding the role and value of social capital in fostering environmental responsibility and action. This paper investigates the extent to which socio-demographic factors, participation in outdoor activities and eight distinct elements of social capital predict “feelings of responsibility” for local environmental issues in a drought-prone urban Australian community. Most residents felt some responsibility for addressing environmental issues, with logistic regression analyses revealing that the Neighbourhood Connections element of social capital was a key predictor of water and community responsibility. Conversely, residents who scored higher on the Feelings of Trust and Safety element of social capital were less likely to report feeling responsible for water conservation and keeping the neighbourhood clean. Such contradictory findings highlight how different dimensions of social capital may either enable or hinder sustainability. Overall, this research indicates that building specific aspects of social capital might be an effective environmental education and engagement strategy, one that could work at the local level to promote feelings of environmental responsibility and, potentially, foster environmentally sustainable attitudes and behaviour change.

Impact and interest:

3 citations in Scopus
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3 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 20484
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional URLs:
Keywords: social capital, social sustainability, feelings of responsibility, environmental sustainability, water and environmental conservation
ISSN: 1148-6563
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING (120500) > Urban Design (120508)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Environment Policy (160507)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Design
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Environmental Institute of Australia and New Zealand
Deposited On: 15 May 2009 14:41
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:47

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