Social capital, environmental and water sustainability: Essential ingredients prompting community action on conservation challenges?

Miller, Evonne, Buys, Laurie, Barnett, Karen R., & David, Nikki (2006) Social capital, environmental and water sustainability: Essential ingredients prompting community action on conservation challenges? International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, 2(2), pp. 1-10.

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This paper investigates the determinants of awareness of local community action to address environmental issues and water conservation in a drought-prone Australian community. With researchers arguing that social capital, broadly defined as the social connectedness of a community, may foster sustainable communities that collaborate to solve community issues, the paper examines the extent to which levels of social capital in a community predict environmental sustainability. Postal surveys of 168 residents living on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia investigated the extent to which eight distinct elements of social capital, individual feelings of environmental responsibility, outdoor activities and key demographic characteristics predicted awareness of community level environmental and water conservation. The majority of participants believed that their community had taken action to address environmental issues, with logistic regression analyses demonstrating that the best predictor of community action was the neighbourhood connections element of social capital. These findings, linking sustainable environmental action at a community level to social capital, suggest that a focus on building social capital may be an effective strategy that facilitates both social and environmental sustainability. As the first study to directly examine the relationship among social, environmental and community sustainability in Australia, the findings, implications and limitations are discussed in detail.

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ID Code: 6063
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: The contents of this journal can be freely accessed online via the journal's web page (see hypertext link).
Additional URLs:
Keywords: social capital, environmental issues, water conservation, local community action, sustainability
ISSN: 1832-2077
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Change (160805)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 (The authors)
Deposited On: 07 Feb 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:24

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