Environmental risk perception in psychology of sustainability

National Research Council (2006). The National Academies Press: define

Environmental risk perception is the subjective judgment that individuals or groups make of the likelihood and severity of environmental hazards and their potential consequences. It is a complex process that is influenced by a variety of factors, including personal characteristics, such as knowledge, experience, and values; information availability and quality; and cognitive biases.

Environmental risk perception is an individual’s understanding of the importance and urgency of environmental protection and the relationship between people and the environment.

Individuals’ tendencies to protect the environment can be dependent on their perceived environmental risk.

For example, people who perceive a high level of risk from climate change are more likely to support policies to address the problem.

Examples of Environment Risk Perception:

  • Climate Change: People living in areas vulnerable to sea-level rise, such as coastal communities, often have a higher perception of the risk associated with climate change. They may be more aware of the potential impacts, such as flooding and property damage.
  • Air Pollution: Individuals living in urban areas with high levels of air pollution may perceive it as a more immediate health risk. They may be more likely to take precautions, such as using air purifiers or wearing masks.
  • Biodiversity Loss: Communities with cultural and historical ties to their natural surroundings, like indigenous groups, often have a heightened perception of the risks associated with biodiversity loss. They may see the loss of species and ecosystems as a threat to their heritage.

Factors Influencing Environment Risk Perception:

  • Personal Experience: For example, someone who has lived through a natural disaster like a hurricane may have a heightened perception of the risk associated with such events.
  • Media Coverage:
  • Cultural and Social Factors: Cultural norms, values, and beliefs Communities with a strong connection to nature
  • Trust in Institutions: High levels of trust can lead to greater acceptance of information and warnings about risks.

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