During the industrial revolution, environmental issues were not much addressed because human activities were considered to have less threat to the environment. As population increased, arbitration also commenced at a fast rate destroying most of our natural environment. New environmental issues continued to be discovered and acted on. However, in the last decade or so, being Environmentally Conscious has become an obligation to many countries and to the society itself, which is basically enforced primarily by governmental regulations and humans perception on environmental issues.
It is very important to protect our environmentalist, a conserved environment contributes to a healthy life while an unprotected environment does the vice versa. Within any ecosystem there is an ecological balance between the organisms and the physical environment, but any activity of man which tends to pollute the environment has the ability to destabilize that balance, and with its accompanying effects. Against the backdrop that the quality of the environment impacts on the quality of our well-being, it is important therefore to properly protect and manage the environment.
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One of today’s global problems is the extensive pressure on raw material and energy consumption, driven by the growing expansion in population and household consumption. The global nature of environmental problems has long been known, as issues such as pollution, loss of biodiversity, global warming, ozone depletion and tropical deforestation which do not respect international borders. One can argue, however, that it is only in recent years that these problems have become widespread matters of concern among the general public. The issue of climate change was at the forefront of the debate on global environmental robbers in 2006 (Barr, 2006).
Two dimensions can be linked to these environmental problems. First, there is an ever greater need for a global response to global problems. This is already underway in numerous international environmental agreements and legislation. Secondly, citizens are becoming more aware of both the potential effects of these problems in their daily lives and the role they could play in protecting their environment. Raising awareness of these issues and increasing individual responsibility have been a point of focus for the last thirty years.
In order to ensure that the ewe economic initiatives undertaken after the economic crisis are based on conscious and responsible attitude, it is necessary to obtain the knowledge required to implement (in practice) the sustainable consumption patterns. However, implementing the principles of sustainability require different commitments from every nation. Each country has differing social, economic and environmental features, and there are fundamental differences in the degree of commitment to the main issues concerning the environment.
The late 20th and early 21 strictures witnessed the emergence of the environment as an important political and social issue (Berglund 2006; Dunlap 1998; Gallup and Gallup 1 993; Boer and Paving 2001). Increasing economic activities in Ghana result in more energy and consumption demand, which generally lead to environmental degradation. Several studies though indicate that Ghana is already equipped with environmental policies, legal frameworks and economic instruments and yet face the worsening of environmental conditions (Huber et al, 1998; Fuchsias et al, 1997).
The challenges in this regard include the lack of participation among general public in pro-environmental behaviors. There is increasing needs for such public participation due to the recent change in sources of environmental problems. Today, the sources of pollution have shifted from production to consumption processes. According to the Human Development Report of 1998, united Nations Development Program (UNDO) affirms this trend and states that growth in consumption and unbalanced consumption patterns are placing unprecedented pressure on the environment.
In environmental studies, a number of different conceptualizations and instruments have been used to measure the environmental consciousness construct. To capture an adequate theoretical specification of the domains related to environmentalism, researchers have suggested that environmental consciousness should contain three components or dimensions: environmental knowledge, environmental attitudes and environmental behavior (Administrations et al. , 2003; Schlemiels et al. , 1996).
Environmental knowledge is defined as “a general knowledge of facts, concepts and relationships concerning the natural environment and its major ecosystem” (Freely & IL, 2003). In order to be environmentally conscious, individuals require an understanding of the consequences of their behaviors Bobble et al. , 1993). Some studies suggest that knowledge plays an important role in enhancing environmental attitude and behavior relationship (McFarland & Boxful, 2003), other studies reveal no significant or a very small relationship between knowledge and behavior (Hines 1986 & 1987).
This is based on the fact that most people know the impact of their actions, but they still take things as it is and become adamant to change or they just do not get the meaning and importance of being environmentally conscious. Environmental attitude refers to an individual’s level of concern or interest guarding aspects of environmental, ecological or energy-saving phenomena (Shrub et al. , 1995). It reflects an individual’s ecological worldview Of humans’ relationship with nature, which has been found to be an antecedent to pro- environmental behavior (Stern, 2000).
Nevertheless, a number of studies have found either a moderate or a weak relationship between environmental attitudes and ecological behavior (Collared & Lehman, 1993; Anamosa, 2007). Environmental behavior can be defined by its impact or its intent. The impact- oriented definition refers to all types of behavior that change the availability f materials or energy from the environment or alter the structure and dynamics of ecosystems (Stern, 2000). The intent-oriented definition refers to behavior undertaken with the intention of changing the environment.
Stern (2000) identified four types of environmentally sign efficient individual behaviors that may help to improve environmental quality. Among them, the personal, private-sphere environmental behavior that occurs in daily-life settings (e. G. , recycling, energy conservation) could have a direct environmental consequence. Although the impact of private-sphere environmental behavior s small individually, the aggregate impact may be significant when many people choose to do so (Stern, 2000).
In this light, the acceptance of pro- environmental behavior by general public, that is, to adopt sustainable life style, is an urgent issue in protecting environment. The participation of citizen can complement existent legal and economic instruments, which are facing shortage of institutional, managerial and financial capabilities for enforcement. The increase of participation of citizen means that legal frameworks would be more respected and economic mechanisms would be more accepted thus increase their effectiveness.
However, it remains unclear what can cause the participation of people in environmental actions. 1. 1 Problem Statement Ghana, currently, is confronted with a number of environmental challenges including waste management, sanitation and water pollution, flooding, among others. This has resulted from the upsurge in economic activities such as illegal mining, drinking water production, agriculture, and recently oil and gas production. Many of these activities have different effects on our natural environment.
Activities involving mining could cause cyanide pollution of water bodies, land degradation, soil erosion and many others. Moreover, agriculture being a major economic activity in the country causes surface water pollution resulting from agricultural run-offs. Due to these activities, and how they can affect the Ghanaian environment, maintaining environmental cleanliness has been a major challenge to the central and local governments. What is expected from people in terms of keeping a clean environment has been an age long battle yet to be conquered.
In as much as people are aware of the consequences of a polluted environment, they still take things for granted and continue to stick to their old habits. The education that the government, through the Ghana Health Service (GAS) and Non- Governmental Organizations (N GO) give to the general public seems not to be yielding any fruits. TO complement their efforts is the establishment Of private waste companies to assist in waste management. The fact that these environmental problems still persist means that the problems cannot be solved solely with technical and economic measures.
Rather, a better understanding of human attitudes and behaviors is also required. Environmental consciousness is the key factor in any attempt to maintain a roper balance and ensure a sustainable development. Recognizing the potential of environmental consciousness as an effective instrument in preventing environmental crises, such as health problems associated with flooding pollution, among others, it is an essential element of sustainable economic development in Ghana.
Therefore, this project was conducted to determine how environmentally conscious Ghanaian are. 1. 2 Justification The world today is a global community, and the actions/inactions on the part of individuals, families, communities and nation could portend danger for sustainable development, and indeed the survival of mankind. Many people in Ghana litter indiscriminately and one would wonder whether this is intentional or done out of ignorance because it is believed that when one is aware of the consequences of one’s action the problem would be mitigated.
Though many people have expressed concern, there has been no study with regard to literature conducted to know whether Ghanaian are environmentally conscious but a study like this would be important In helping the necessary state institution to formulate relevant studies to address these problems. It is hoped that, results from this study will serve as a guideline to policy makers on how knowledgeable Ghanaian are, and will aid them in redesigning existing policies.
It is believed that, this study will also point out certain weak or overlooked areas where Ghanaian lack awareness and needs to be addressed in order to protect the natural environment. This study after, would recommend strategies towards meeting the environmental needs of Ghanaian by analyzing the knowledge, attitude and behavior of Ghanaian towards the environment. 1. 3 Objectives The main objective of this study was to determine the environmental unconsciousness of residents in the Disease, Kite and Gay communities.
The specific objectives were to; ; assess respondents’ knowledge on current environmental problems in the country; and ; assess respondents’ attitudes and behaviors towards the environment. CHAPTER MO LITERATURE REVIEW 2. 1 Introduction As environmental issues have gained prevalence in everyday society, the environmental consciousness of individuals has also grown. According to 2006 data from the American Environmental Values Survey, 86 percent of Americans are concerned about environmental issues (Econometrical, 2006).
As research continues to illustrate the impact of individual consumption on environmental quality, governments and other organizations have started considering the role of individuals in helping to address ongoing environmental concerns (Barr & Gill, 2006). These are small changes an individual can make to reduce their individual impact on the environment. In spite of the large number of enlightenment campaigns designed to encourage these individual environmental behaviors, people often do not carry out the behavioral changes outlined in those campaigns even when they acknowledge awareness or understanding of the issue (Moistener, 2007).
Generally, this phenomenon is known as the ‘Value-action gap. ” Energy conservation research in the mid-sass found that even those who know much about an environmental issue and the steps needed to address it often do not make any effort to change their behavior (Salesman, 1 985, cited in Paltrier, Tucson, Green-Deemed, Noels, & Beaten, 1998). In addition, research in the mid-sass illustrated that while environmental interest and concern have become more prevalent, few people take steps positively to change their environmental behaviors in their daily living (Blake, 1999).
This represents the distinctive difference between knowledge and understanding of environmental issues, and the decision to actively take steps to lessen one’s impact, better known as the ‘Value-action gap” (Blake, 1999; Colossus & Agnomen, 2002). This idea simply illustrates that providing individuals with formation does not necessarily lead to behavior change. Also, this research indicates that while a large number of people might indicate awareness and understanding of an environmental issue or problem and behaviors to taiga the problem, fewer people actually follow through and take action to remedy the problem.
Blake pointed out several factors that could possibly explain the reason for this gap. The factors included individuality, responsibility, and practicality (Blake, 1999). These factors, practicality, represent constraints that would prevent an individual from taking action. By feeling that they have a lack of time, money, or information, many individuals feel unable to adopt an environmental behavior, even if they have a positive attitude toward it.
There have been conflicting approaches suggested as the est. way to address this ‘Value action gap” and to increase the likelihood that environmental knowledge can successfully lead to behavior change (Barr & Gill, 2006). Some researchers assert that educating the public on specific environmental topics and actions is the best approach to mitigate the “value- action gap”. Research has also shown an attempt can be made to change habits by prompting an individual to actively think cautiously before acting, rather than just repeating their usual habits (Hobnobs, 2003).
Building on her research, Hobnobs (2003) suggests a variety Of tactics designed to encourage this active thinking. These include design inning an event that prompts the individual to question their routine behaviors or providing information that helps an individual connect their personal actions to the larger impact on the It is generally believed that women are more concerned about the environment than men because “women are potentially more environmentalist than men due to biospheres orientation” (Diamond & Orenstein, 1990, Griffin, 1978).
This is supported by the Harris survey (1991 ), which showed that more women are concerned about the environmental quality, critical about policy taken by government and willing to accept lower tankard of living for fewer health risks. Nevertheless, other empirical investigations show inconsistent results on this hypothesis. For instance, one of the earlier studies done by McElroy (1 972; quoted in Van Lire and Dunlap 1980) showed that men are more concerned about the environment than women due to their higher level of education and involvement with the communities and political issues.
However, other studies show that women are more concerned about the environment than men because men are much more concerned about economic growth and economic stability Passion and Luminously, 1 976 quoted in Van Lire and Dunlap, 1980), and consider the environment as constraint to the economic growth. Many studies reveal that younger generation tends to be more concerned about environmental quality than older generation.
The earliest of this study, as it was stated in the Omaha and Dwight (1 987), was realized by Mammals and Graphics (1977); quoted in Omaha and Dwight (1987), which discovered the dominant relationship between age and environmental concern from a survey of Minneapolis. For instance, it is generally thought that with ageing, individuals increase the “accumulation of material and social resources, become more involved in religious, political economic and social subsystems” and impel to take conservative actions in order to maintain their status quo (Hardback, 1974 quoted in Omaha and Dwight, 1987).