Why We Don't "Walk the Talk": Understanding the Environmental Values/Behaviour Gap in Canada

Huddart, E; Beckley, T M.; McFarlane, B L.; Nadeau, S. (2009). Why We Don't "Walk the Talk": Understanding the Environmental Values/Behaviour Gap in Canada. Human Ecology Review, 16(2) 151-160.

Worldwide, studies have shown increases in environmental values and beliefs over the past four decades. However, in few cases have researchers observed parallel increases in environmentally-supportive behaviour (ESB). In fact, the gap between environmental values and ESB is of growing concern for both academics and practitioners. We explored 'the environmental values-behaviour gap' through a nationwide survey in Canada (n=1664). Approximately 72% of respondents 'self-report' a gap between their intentions and their actions. We explore three categories of explanatory variables to account for the gap: individual, household, and societal. The descriptive analysis presented here provides a better understanding of why good intentions do not always translate into environmentally supportive behaviour We demonstrate the relative importance of the three categories of constraint variables.

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