Tag Archives: public opinion

here’s a revealing (and hopeful?) look at possible common ground on climate change policy among those with differing views on more its more fundamental beliefs (e.g. is climate change happening, do anthropogenic forcings or causes exist?). which america do you think most people i talked to represent? i discuss the religious dimensions of white conservative protestants opposition to climate policy more in the conclusion chapter…


ch.2, ec-p.9 – introductory opening paragraph for extended discussion of religion-environmental concern literature…

“As scholarly interest in environmental concern grew through the years, public opinion surveys sometimes showed expressions of environmental concern and policy support corresponding with religion or religious characteristics (Gallup 2003). A few analysts began exploring this connection, with research increasing slowly from the late 1970s. It now occurs more regularly, focusing on the ways in which religious adherents express environmental concern and their distribution across religious groups. Sometimes the views of religious people are compared with those of non-religious persons. Other analyses make inter- and intra-denominational or theological comparisons, or examine variations in the environmentalism associated with major religious traditions. Finally, some work examines the views on resource depletion and pollution held by various religious groups and individuals with strong religious commitments or social identities. APPENDIX 2.X presents the samples, quantitative or qualitative methodology, and primary measures of religion and environmental concern for most known existing research.”



English: Pie chart of the religious groups in ...

English: Pie chart of the religious groups in the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ch.2, ec-p.1 – opening introductory paragraph for environmental concern section describing the beginning of sociological attention to public concern about ecosystems and support for greater protection of the environment…

“After the first Earth Day in 1970, US sociologists began intensively exploring which constituencies of the population were amenable to and supportive of the environmental movement’s goals (Buttel 1977, Heberlein and Black 1978, Van Liere and Dunlap 1981). This exploration included describing the strength of public concern about ecological conditions (Dunlap 1992), gauging support for environmental policies (Buttel and Flinn 1976), and associating support with social and demographic characteristics (Dunlap and Van Liere 1984). Analysts explored individuals’ perceptions about ecological conditions through original research surveys (Dunlap, Van Liere, Mertig and Jones 2000) and by using secondary data from opinion polling (Dunlap and Scarce 1991). Professional acceptance of environmental sociology as a sub-discipline accelerated studies of environmental concern (Catton and Dunlap 1980). More than a thousand assessments have been conducted since then, most relying on quantitative methodologies (Dunlap and Jones, 2002). Analysts take these views about environmental problems and the variability of expressed environmental concern to reflect the environmental movement’s “social bases” of public support (Dietz, Stern, and Guagnano 1998, Dunlap and Mertig 1992, Jones and Dunlap 1992, Van Liere and Dunlap 1980). These social bases reveal who is concerned about the biophysical world or practices pro-environmental behaviors.”

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

from the chapter two introduction…

“Sociological imaginations see material conditions (Marx… ), institutions (WEBER Protestant Work Ethic), structure (Giddens…), socialization (REFERENCE), interpersonal interactions (Goffman Presentation of Self), communication modes (Habermas), gender (Dorothy Smith…), sexuality (REFERENCE), and skin color (Du Bois …) all shaping our perceptions of, meanings about, and actions toward reality. The significance of individuals’ knowledge and perceptions in public opinion about environmental problems and support for environmental policy is the overarching theme I consider here.”

“In this chapter I detail aspects of sociological perspectives on social problems, religion, and environmentalism relevant to my interest in how highly religious people perceive environmental problems. I focus especially on elements of a constructionist view on social problems and the association of religion with expressions of environmental concern. I then present my analytical framework for examining how conservative Protestants view large-scale ecological conditions. I conclude with several broad research questions I explore in a case study of evangelical Christians’ perceptions of climate change.”

Jürgen Habermas during a discussion in the Mun...

Jürgen Habermas during a discussion in the Munich School of Philosophy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Official seal of City of Dayton

Official seal of City of Dayton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

a revision and re-do of yesterday, with more…


The central question I examine is how religion shapes public environmental concern about global environmental change. I focus on how highly religious people see large-scale ecological conditions and what they know about them. I present a case study of public perceptions, concerns, and understandings about global climate change held by citizens residing in the Midwestern United States. It describes how individuals’ religious views inform their opinions about it as an environmental problem and their judgments on the necessity to address it with environmental policy. I outline the major features of their collective views in subsequent chapters.

My larger purpose for exploring how members of the public like this see global climate change is clarifying further how people in modern industrial societies view ecological impacts associated with widespread fossil fuel use. The goal is better understanding religion’s role in this form of environmental concern by exploring more deeply its cultural foundations, and influences from individuals’ social context, using a qualitative approach. Following a modified constructionist perspective, I explore the extent U.S. conservative Protestants draw on their religious cultural notions in how perceive this example of a global environmental problem. I focus especially on their use of religion with regards to climate science, effects of climate change, and climate policy.

The case study presents the views of fifty-two (52) Evangelical Christians living in the Dayton, Ohio area expressed during unstructured face-to-face interviews with them. Major emergent themes are drawn from participants’ transcripts through qualitative data analysis using NVivo software. I explore their accounts with the conceptual lenses of “stocks of knowledge”, “mental schema”, and “cultural tool kits” (Schutz 1970, Sewell 1992, Swidler 1986). Using this analytical framework and research strategy, I describe the ways participants’ religious beliefs, attitudes, values, and other non-scientific cultural resources inform their perceptions of climate change or scientific information about it, evaluation and concern about its risks, and their opinions about addressing its effects using climate policy.”


Environmental movement organizations form with the aim of broadening the support of environmentalism that is registered in public opinion polls. Movement legitimacy and the capacity for defining an environmental problem as a social problem rest, in large part, on demonstrations of widespread public support. Activists engage in recruitment and education activities to generate greater citizen support in their advocacy of greater protection against harmful exposures and contaminated communities and for the improved quality of ecosystems.”


Mobilizing Ideas

Activists and Scholars Debate Social Movements and Social Change