Concern about climate change, biodiversity loss, habitat degradation and landscape change: Embedded in different packages of environmental concern?
Climate change and biodiversity loss are often seen as the two most serious environmental threats facing humanity. It also seems to be a common notion that concerns about these issues are embedded in the same package of environmental concern among the public. In this article, we probe the relationship between dimensions of concern about environmental challenges. In a general population survey in Norway, respondents were asked how concerned they were about several environmental issues. Factor analysis revealed that concern about climate change and concern about major causes of biodiversity loss, such as habitat destruction, loaded on different factors. When respondents ranked the three issues they were most concerned about, there was minimal overlap between climate change and biodiversity loss. It appears that relatively distinct profiles exist, based on different interpretations of current environmental challenges. The profiles are differently related to background factors such as social class, education and gender. These relationships are not strong, but the association between confidence in various institutional actors and the concern profiles is quite distinct, and different for the two. Further research is needed to properly elucidate drivers behind the different orientations.
Kaltenborn, Bjørn Petter