Is There a Cyclical Movement in Environmental Concern in Europe?

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Jean-Paul BOZONNET, Sciences Po - Grenoble University, France
Common sense, many journalists or politicians, or even some social scientists, spontaneously think that environmental awareness in Europe has increased continuously since the emergence of the environmental movement in the early seventies. We propose to test this assertion, and show that it is not obvious.

To do this we will rely on major European surveys, EVS, ISSP and Eurobarometer, comparing the situation in different countries of the European Union from 1971 to 2012. We suggest distinguishing on the one hand the concern for the environment as such, on the other hand the fact of giving a great importance to the environment, including putting it ahead of other values of social life. We will see at first that concern for the environment as such is a consensual value, which excludes a progression, since it is already unanimous from the beginning of environmentalism. Secondly, we will show that the priority concern for the environment is following a cyclical movement from the seventies. We will try to prove further that this movement is synchronic in different European countries, which confirms the strength of this evolution in cycles. Finally we conclude by questioning about the causes of these successive ebbs and flows in recent decades in EU.

These results will be very useful in order to argue about the existence of a European public space, to guide practical measures regarding the environmental behavior of citizens, and to determine the type of communication that would allow implementing these measures.