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Environmental Values, Ethics and Support for Environmental Policy: A Heuristic, and Psychometric Instruments to Measure their Prevalence and Relationships


  • Ronald B. Meyers


This paper describes a portion of a larger research project to develop a heuristic and set of psychometric scales to carefully and broadly consider and measure beliefs in environmental knowledge, values, ethics, and support for environmental protection. The project was intended to help answer questions concerning their relationship, and to facilitate dialogue and research concerning these complex and contested topics. The heuristic: 1) provides a set of terms and concepts to distinguish a broad range of environmental values and ethics (twelve types of environmental ethics are defined) 2) can be used to increase self-awareness of environmental values and ethics 3) supports value clarification efforts by those in conflict mediation by helping to identify divergent and convergent environmental beliefs 4) supports researchers, by providing philosophically based methods to systematically distinguish different aspects of environmental values and ethics. The heuristic contains seven general primary steps that explore twelve different dimensions of beliefs about the environment, from belief in capacity to suffer, a variety of value beliefs, moral obligations, and support for environmental protection. The results of the development of twelve psychometric scales to measure these beliefs are also provided. A preliminary test of the reliability of the scales with three intentional groups (n=191) found that they varied in their reliability from 0.79 to 0.91, with the eleven scales predicting the twelfth (Willingness to Protect the Environment, Legally) with an ANOVA (adjusted r2) of 0.73.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald B. Meyers, 2004. "Environmental Values, Ethics and Support for Environmental Policy: A Heuristic, and Psychometric Instruments to Measure their Prevalence and Relationships," Working Papers 0407, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0407

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