Ecological Citizens: Identifying Values and Beliefs that Support Individual Environmental Responsibility among Swedes
As it has been suggested that involvement of individuals in environmental work is necessary for halting environmental degradation, one focus for contemporary environmental policy and political theory is the need for comprehensive individual lifestyle changes. Ecological Citizenship (EC) has been suggested within the field of political theory as an approach to realize personal responsibility for the environment. However, empirical research on whether EC can serve this purpose is still lacking. Based on a survey sent to 4,000 Swedish households, this paper makes the theory of EC empirically operational and explores whether, and to what extent, people in general hold values and beliefs in line with what is expected of EC, in order to shed light on the feasibility of cultivating ecological citizens in Sweden. The study concludes that a significant proportion of the respondents do demonstrate a value base consistent with EC, i.e. , non-territorial altruism and the primacy of social justice. While additional tests and studies are needed, the results support the use of EC as a theoretical model for behavioral change.
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