Canadian Forest Service Publications

Why we don’t “walk the talk”: understanding the environmental values–behaviour gap in Canada. 2009. Huddart-Kennedy, E.; Beckley, T.M.; McFarlane, B.; Nadeau, S. Human Ecology Review 16(2): 151–160.

Year: 2009

Issued by: Atlantic Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 34627

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Abstract

Worldwide, studies have shown increases in environmental values and beliefs over the past four decades. However, in few cases have researchers observed parallel increases in environmentally-supportive behaviour (ESB). In fact, the gap between environmental values and ESB is of growing concern for both academics and practitioners. We explored ‘the environmental values-behaviour gap’ through a nationwide survey in Canada (n=1664). Approximately 72% of respondents ‘self-report’ a gap between their intentions and their actions. We explore three categories of explanatory variables to account for the gap: individual, household, and societal. The descriptive analysis presented here provides a better understanding of why good intentions do not always translate into environmentally supportive behaviour. We demonstrate the relative importance of the three categories of constraint variables.