Beliefs Regarding Society and Nature: A Framework for Listening in Forest and Environmental Policy
Operant Subjectivity , Volume 24 - Issue 4 p. 159- 182
At the turn of the 20th century, concepts of preservation, conservation, and development shaped policy arguments about the individual’s relationship to society and nature. Recent Gallup polls show widespread and continued concern for environmental problems and broad support for the environmental movement and its goal of environmental protection. Forest policy makers, however, have tended to assume that early 20th century attitudes still dominate, creating a barrier to their understanding of the nuances of current public opinion. In this study, Q methodology was used to examine public opinion along with stratified random sampling and small sample theory for those segments of the public that tend to participate in forest policy. A complex framework was revealed of at least 4, and possibly 5, factors: New Steward, New Conservationist, Individualist, Traditional Steward, and Environmental Activist. By uncovering a wider and more current range of views than has been assumed, the analysis allows the policy analyst to redefine the forest policy agenda in greater depth. It is now possible to move beyond looking for one grand, but elusive, solution to developing a packet of responses addressing the different aspects of the policy agenda.