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TR200102

Environmental Awareness, Attitudes and Actions: A Survey of the People of the Waikato Region 2000

Report: TR 2001/02
Author: Key Research & Marketing Ltd and Eclectic Energy

Abstract

This report contains the findings of the 2000 survey of 1,873 residents of the Waikato region.. The Environmental Awareness, Attitudes and Action Survey was first undertaken by Environment Waikato in June 1998 to benchmark environmental perceptions within the region.

The research aims to provide information to:

  • track public views, attitudes and priorities about environmental issues
  • raise awareness of the impact and effects of people on natural resources
  • anticipate public response to environmental policies and programmes
  • evaluate current policies and programmes
  • provide information useful to agencies such as district and city councils.

Information from the survey:

  • provides indicators of people’s environmental awareness, attitudes and actions and how these have changed over time 
  • assists in the evaluation of the effectiveness of policy, education and communications projects 
  • provides information on the potential for, and the barriers to, undertaking environmentally beneficial behaviours for programme design and implementation.

Environmental Awareness, Attitudes and Actions: A Survey of the People of the Waikato Region 2000
(2553 kb, 364 seconds to download, 56k modem)

Table of contents

  Key Point Summary 1
1.1 Research Method 1
1.2 Participant Description 1
1.3 Environmental Issues 2
1.3.1 Perceived Changes In The Local Environment 2
1.3.2 Most Important Environmental Issue 3
1.3.3 Level Of Concern 3
1.4 Air Quality 4
1.5 Environmental Knowledge 4
1.6 Natural Hazards 5
1.7 Attitudes Towards The Environment 5
1.7.1 Environmental Issues 5
1.7.2 Balancing Environmental And Economic Interests 6
1.8 Participation In Processes With The Aim Of Protecting The Environment 8
1.8.1 Took Action To Protect The Environment 8
1.8.2 Views On Environmental Practices 8
1.8.3 Reported Behaviour 9
1.8.4 Additional Action Taken 9
1.9 Satisfaction With Local Environment 10
1.10 Advanced Analysis 10
2 Research Method 10
2.1 Overview 10
2.2 Questionnaire Development and Pilot Survey 10
2.3 Sampling 11
2.3.1 Source Of And Selection Method For Telephone Numbers 11
2.3.2 Sampling Method 11
2.4 Interviewing Procedures 11
2.5 Response Rate 12
2.6 Statistical Analysis 12
2.7 Reporting 13
3 Participant Description 14
3.1 District And Area 14
3.2 Place Of Residence 15
3.3 Gender 15
3.4 Ethnicity 16
3.5 Age 17
3.6 Highest Educational Qualification 18
3.7 Income 19
3.8 Occupation 19
4 Environmental Issues 20
4.1 Perceived Changes In The Local Environment 20
4.1.1 Water Quality In Local Streams, Rivers And Lakes 20
4.1.2 Level Of Pollution Or Waste Produced By Nearby Businesses, Farms And Industries 23
4.1.3 Availability Of Waste Recycling Services And Facilities In Your Area 25
4.1.4 Careful Use Of Sprays And Chemicals 27
4.1.5 Soil And Land Erosion 30
4.1.6 Number Of Animal Pests 32
4.1.7 Number Of Plant Pests And Weeds 34
4.1.8 Fencing Off Of Areas Of Native Bush Or Wetland On Private Property 36
4.1.9 Correct Disposal Of Rubbish And Waste 38
4.2 Change In Overall State Of Environment 39
4.3 Most Important Environmental Issue 42
4.3.1 Single Most Important Environmental Issue 42
4.3.2 Second Most Important Environmental Issue 43
4.3.3 Anticipated Most Important Issue In Five Years Time 45
4.4 Level Of Concern 46
4.4.1 Water Pollution From Industry 46
4.4.2 State Of Native Bush And Wetlands On Private Property 47
4.4.3 Water Pollution From Farmland 49
4.4.4 Loss Of The Natural Character Of The Region’s Beaches Through Development 51
4.4.5 Water Pollution From Towns And City Areas 54
4.4.6 Soil And Land Erosion 56
4.4.7 State Of Our Coasts 57
4.4.8 Spread Of Cities And Towns Across Farmland 59
5 Air Quality 61
5.1 Are There Activities Damaging Air Quality 62
5.2 Activities Perceived To Be Damaging Air Quality 64
6 Environmental Knowledge 64
6.1 Perceived Impacts 64
6.1.1 Grazing Stock In Native Bush Is Not Harmful To The Bush 65
6.1.2 Most Stormwater Drains/Road Gutters Drain Directly Into Streams, Rivers Or The Sea 67
6.1.3 Pollution In The Region’s Rivers And Streams Comes Mainly From Farmland 69
6.1.4 Most Of The Oil In Our Waterways Comes From Spillage From Industries 70
6.1.5 Land-based Activities Have An Effect On The Health Of Our Coasts And Harbours 73
7 Natural Hazards 74
7.1 Awareness Of Natural Hazards 74
7.2 Preparation For Natural Disaster 77
8 Attitudes Towards The Environment 80
8.1 New Environmental Paradigm 80
8.1.1 Balance Of Nature Is Very Delicate And Easily Upset 80
8.1.2 Modifying The Environment For Human Use Seldom Causes Serious Problems 82
8.1.3 Plants And Animals Exist Primarily To Be Used By Humans 83
8.1.4 Earth Is Like A Spaceship With Only Limited Room And Resources 85
8.1.5 There Are Limits To Economic Growth Even For Developed Countries Like Ours 88
8.1.6 Humans Were Meant To Rule Over The Rest Of Nature 89
8.1.7 New Environmental Paradigm Scale 91
8.2 Balancing Environmental And Economic Interests 92
8.2.1 Council Should Enforce Rules For The Environment 92
8.2.2 Public Have Enough Say In The Way The Environment Is Managed 94
8.2.3 Landowners Should Be Allowed To Do What They Like On Their Own Land 96
8.2.4 Business Objective: Profit Maximisation At Expense Of Environment 98
8.2.5 Businesses Usually Find It Is Too Expensive To Be More Environmentally Friendly 100
8.2.6 Government Restrictions On The Use Of Private Property Are Necessary 102
8.2.7 A Healthy Environment Is Necessary For A Healthy Economy 104
8.2.8 It Is Okay To Sacrifice Environmental Quality For Economic Growth 106
8.2.9 Environmental Protection And Economic Development Can Go Hand In Hand 109
8.2.10 There Is A Lot I, As An Individual, Can Do To Protect The Environment 110
8.2.11 Use Of Biological Controls Is Acceptable To Me 112
8.2.12 Balancing Economy With Environment Scale 115
8.2.13 Index Of Attitudes Towards Environmental Regulations 115
9 Protecting The Environment 116
9.1 Took Action To Protect The Environment 117
9.1.1 Action Taken 117
9.1.2 Type Of Action Taken 119
9.1.3 Effectiveness Of Action 119
9.2 Attitudes 121
9.2.1 Recycle More If Convenient Recycling Facilities Available 121
9.2.2 Dispose Of Things Properly If Knew Where To Take Them 123
9.2.3 Not Convinced Products Claiming To Be Better For The Environment Are 126
9.2.4 Would Use Public Transport Instead Of My Car If It Were Available And Convenient 127
9.2.5 Lack Of Time Prevents Me From Doing Things That Help The Environment 129
9.2.6 I Am Not Interested In Doing Things That Help The Environment 131
9.2.7 Actions To Help The Environment Cost More Money Than I Can Afford 133
9.3 Reported Behaviour 135
9.3.1 Re-use For Environmental Reasons 135
9.3.2 Compost Your Food And/Or Garden Wastes 137
9.3.3 Recycle Bottles Or Cans Or Paper Or Plastic Instead Of Throwing Them Away 139
9.3.4 Buy Household Products That You Think Are Better For The Environment 142
9.3.5 Get The Car Tuned Regularly 143
9.3.6 Make An Effort To Reduce Water Consumption 145
9.3.7 Use Buses, Walk Or Ride A Bicycle To Reduce Car Use 147
9.3.8 Put Things Into The Gutters Or Stormwater Drains, Like Oil Or Detergent 149
9.3.9 Additional Action Taken 151
10 Satisfaction With Local Environment 152
11 Advanced Analysis 155
11.1 Cluster Analysis 155
11.1.1 Description Of Method 155
11.1.2 Clusters Determined 155
11.1.3 Cluster Characteristics 156
11.1.4 Cluster Descriptions 157
11.1.5 Commentary On Cluster Membership Analysis. 161
11.2 AnswerTree Analysis 161
11.2.1 Cluster Membership 161
11.2.2 NEP Rating 161
11.2.3 Attitudes To Environmental Regulations Rating 162
11.2.4 Economy Versus Environment Rating 162
11.3 Multivariate Analysis 163
11.3.1 Methodology 163
11.3.2 Protecting The Environment 164
11.3.3 Barriers To Protecting Environment 164
11.3.4 Reported Behaviour 165
11.3.5 Balancing Environmental And Economic Interests 166
12 Appendix One: Questionnaire 168
13 Appendix Two: Comparison of Project Targets to Achievements 174
13.1 Gender 174
13.2 Ethnicity 175
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