Scholl, G. et al. Which parameters can measure environmental awareness today? A feasibility study

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Gerd Scholl, Maike Gossen, Brigitte Holzhauer & Michael Schipperges

Release date:
August 2016

German Federal Environmental Agency, writings 58/2016

The present feasibility study "Key figures for measuring environmental consciousness" addresses the question of what key figures can be used to measure environmental consciousness in a contemporary way. It describes the theoretical foundations, practical development and a first empirical assessment of a proposal for key figures for measuring environmental consciousness in Germany. The 'pressure-state-response' heuristic developed by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) forms the conceptual basis. This approach was developed to classify 'objective' sustainability indicators. For this feasibility study it was adapted for 'subjective' indicators – i.e. key figures for environmental consciousness. To further specify content-related and normative aspects, the study draws on basic models that currently characterize the environmental policy discourse: 'ecological modernization' and 'socio-ecological transformation'. For the empirical field test a (non-representative) sample of 450 people was surveyed online. The data from the field test were then examined using test-theoretical methods. The individual indicators were aggregated in a process consisting of several steps. Various sub-scales, sum scores and threshold values were calculated. The proposal for the overall 'environmental consciousness' index corresponds to the percentage of people who meet the defined criteria equally in all three subdivisions: 'pressure', 'state' and 'response'.

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