A COMPARATIVE STUDY ON ENVIRONMENTAL
AWARENESS AND ENVIRONMENTALLY BENEFICIAL
BEHAVIOR IN INDIA
Hannah Hoerisch, April 2002 for CMS ENVIS Centre
Factors contributing to the level of environmental awareness 4. Environmental education
a. Mass media
b. Institutional media
c. Traditional media
5. Additional factors
Culture, religion and tradition
Exposure to environmental pollution
6. Level of awareness
7. Behavior towards environment
Both developing and developed countries are facing serious environmental problems. While some of the problems might be alike due to their global nature (e.g. global warming, depletion of the ozone layer), others are specifically local ones. How do people out of different cultures perceive these problems? How do they react to them? The aim of this study is to figure out what factors are most important in explaining different levels of awareness concerning environmental problems and to compare the level of awareness as well as the actual behavior towards environment of people living in developing and developed countries.
As the countries of study India and the Federal Republic of Germany have been chosen. India is thought to represent a developing country while Germany gives an example of an economically developed country. An additional aspect when choosing the countries of study was to use the competence of the author who lives in Germany, but has the great possibility to do some fieldwork studies in India and to work together with Indian colleagues.
The design of the study has three stages:
First, information on India as far as environmental awareness and environmentally friendly behavior are concerned will be obtained by both fieldwork and a systematic survey of the available literature. This paper will focus exclusively on the first part of the study design.
Second, the same will be done for Germany.
The third and final step will be to compare the results obtained for India and Germany. The first part of the country study will focus on the different factors that might be able to explain awareness of environmental problems. The ultimate objective is to find the most decisive factors in creating awareness of ecological issues, since this is the first step in developing effective campaigns to promote a higher level of environmental awareness among the population.
The special emphasis of this study is on the role of media in creating environmental awareness with the underlying concept of media being a very broad one. The different media sources considered can be categorized as follows:
(a) Mass media (e.g. radio, television, newspaper and magazines) (b) Institutional media (e.g. school, government officials or village leaders) (c) Traditional media (e.g. family members, other relatives, friends and neighbors, NGO work)
As a first explanation of environmental awareness modern mass media will be considered.
It is still to be confirmed that the role of mass media is one of the most important factors underlying the knowledge of environmental problems: This can only be true on the conditions that first, mass media are accessible to large proportions of the population, second, are spending some time on environmental issues and third, people are interested in information on ecological issues provided by the media so that they view or listen to the corresponding programs as well as read newspaper articles or other written publications dealing with environmental issues.
Second, representing the institutional media the importance of school education in creating environmental awareness and training environmentally friendly behavior will be examined: the aim is to find out if and to what degree and...
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