Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why some communities embrace environmental conservation and others don't

Date:
July 8, 2010
Source:
University of New Hampshire
Summary:
Continued support for off-shore oil drilling by Gulf Coast residents who are dealing with one of the most devastating environmental disasters in US history might seem surprising, but new research shows that local factors such as unemployment and population growth influence views about the value of environmental conservation and regulation.

Continued support for off-shore oil drilling by Gulf Coast residents who are dealing with one of the most devastating environmental disasters in U.S. history might seem surprising, but new research from the University of New Hampshire shows that local factors such as unemployment and population growth influence views about the value of environmental conservation and regulation.

The research is presented in the most recent issue of the journal Rural Sociology in the article "Place Effects on Environmental Views."

"Our research shows that people who live in rural areas with high unemployment rates are less likely to support environmental regulations. Economic pressures help to understand why, in spite of the devastation caused by the BP oil spill, many residents of the Gulf Coast oppose a moratorium on off-shore drilling," said Larry Hamilton, professor of sociology, senior fellow at the Carsey Institute at UNH, and lead author of the study. The study is co-authored by Chris Colocousis, assistant professor at James Madison University, and Mil Duncan, director of the Carsey Institute at UNH.

Researchers surveyed more than 7,800 people in 19 rural counties of nine states. The states consisted of seven geographic regions -- the Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest, Northeast, Midwestern farm country, Appalachia, Mississippi Delta, and Alabama's Black Belt -- that represented four broad types of rural places characterized by resource and population decline, amenity-driven population growth, amenity-driven population growth and decline, and chronic poverty.

People in rural areas with high unemployment rates are less likely to support conservation efforts and restrictive environmental regulations, the researchers found. "People living in areas with high unemployment rates may perceive environmental rules as a threat to their economic livelihood," Hamilton said.

People in rural areas with high rates of population growth are more likely to support conservation efforts and environmental regulations. "In such places, population change could be altering the environment in visible ways and make it seem more in need of protection," Hamilton explained.

Looking at other factors that influence views on conservation, the researchers confirmed classic patterns that show that Republicans, older respondents, and those who frequently attend religious services are less likely to favor conservation for future generations. Women, nonminority, and better-educated respondents are more likely to favor conservation.

Similar to views on conservation, the researchers confirmed previous research that shows environmental regulations are supported more by younger, better educated, and less Republican respondents.

Despite the results, the researchers say that rural areas do not adhere to one model and vary in countless respects besides rates of population growth and unemployment. Understanding the views of people in specific areas must take into consideration the shared context of a particular area.

"For example, in our Rocky Mountain counties, the growing economy based on recreation and natural amenities gives people less reason to perceive conflict between jobs and conservation. In Appalachia, on the other hand, coal mining interests have cast debates over mountaintop-removal mining as a choice between jobs and conservation," Hamilton says.

This research has been supported by grants to the UNH Carsey Institute from the W.K. Kellogg, Ford, and Mary K. Reynolds Babcock Foundations, and by the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of New Hampshire. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of New Hampshire. "Why some communities embrace environmental conservation and others don't." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100708111336.htm>.
University of New Hampshire. (2010, July 8). Why some communities embrace environmental conservation and others don't. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100708111336.htm
University of New Hampshire. "Why some communities embrace environmental conservation and others don't." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100708111336.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Seismic Activity Halts Recovery at Japan Volcano

Seismic Activity Halts Recovery at Japan Volcano

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) Rescuers were forced to suspend plans to recover at least two dozen bodies from near the summit of Mount Ontake in central Japan on Tuesday after increased seismic activity raised concern about the possibility of another eruption. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins