Commitment of Farmers to Environmental protection: From Social Pressure to Environmental Conscience

Michel-Guillou, E., & Moser, G. (2006). Commitment of farmers to environmental protection: From social pressure to environmental conscience. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 26(3), 227-235.

This study focuses on identifying the differences between traditional farmers (those who maintained traditional agricultural practices) and pro-environmental farmers (those who committed to practices aimed at preserving the environment), in terms of environment-related beliefs and representations. From studying the structure of their social representation of the environment, their beliefs about water pollution and their interest in voluntary pro-environmental action, we tried to find out if farmers' commitment to pro-environmental steps is related to their increased environmental awareness. A questionnaire that consisted of a scale of attitudes towards pro-environmental practices and towards water, followed by a word association test, was administered to 205 farmers. The results tend to indicate that farmers' commitment to pro-environmental action depends more on social factors than on increased environmental awareness. Instead, adopting such practices seems to trigger interest in the environment, particularly in terms of conceptualizing the environment and of assessing the farmer's own capacity for action.

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