Investigating the Attitudes and Behaviors of Generation Y Towards Environmental Activism in Australia

Investigating the Attitudes and Behaviors of Generation Y Towards Environmental Activism in Australia

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2. Research Problem.

The issues surrounding the natural environment, and those measures necessary to save it, are pervasive themes in current Australian political and social discourse; awareness is high, and opinions are divided. With impending generational replacement, the environmental movement, represented by Environmental Movement Organisations’ (EMO), is of increasing importance in attempts to shift public opinion and behaviours. This research considers it important to understand how the attitudes of Generation Y on the importance of contemporary environmental issues relate to their support for environmental movement organisations’ (EMOs). This research is an investigation into whether self-professed pro-environmental attitudes predict actual pro-environmental behaviour.

3. Project Background and Rationale.

It is generally accepted that the planet is in crisis, and that drastic and immediate action is imperative; this is a sentiment increasingly pervasive on a global scale. The movement to preserve and protect our planet’s natural environment and ecosystems has accordingly gained momentum, attributable to greater levels of awareness and knowledge on environmental issues. This can be credited to the progressive politicisation and routinisation of environmental issues, and ongoing media coverage (Tranter 2010; Crook & Pakulski 1995). The role of environmental activism and environmentalism in this process is noteworthy.

The ‘New Environmentalism’ movement of the late twentieth century is particularly relevant here. With its inception popularly placed in the early 1960’s, New Environmentalism saw a more urgent and global conception of the natural environment come to the fore. Here, environmental activism took shape...


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...37, no. 2, pp. 189-204.

McCrindle, M. 2009, The ABC of XYZ: Understanding the Global Generations, UNSW Press, Sydney.

Milfont, T.L. & Duckitt, J. 2010, ‘The Environmental attitudes inventory: A valid and reliable measure to assess the structure of environmental attitudes’, Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 80-94.

State of NSW & Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water NSW 2010, State of NSW & DECCW, Sydney.

Tranter, B. 2010, ‘Environmental activists and non-active environmentalists in Australia’, Environmental Politics, vol. 19, no. 3, pp.413-429.

Tranter, B. 2011, ‘Political divisions over climate change and environmental issues in Australia’, Environmental Politics, vol. 28, no.1, pp. 79-96.

Veal, A.J. 2006, Research Methods for Leisure, Sport and Tourism, 3rd edn., Pearson Education Limited, Essex, England.

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