De ontwikkeling van het milieubewustzijn in Vlaanderen: Periode- en cohorteffecten
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Objective. The objective of this research was two folded. First, to determine if and how environmental consciousness has developed in Flanders between 1996 and 2005. Second, to find out whether this development might have been caused by period- and/or birth cohort effects. Methods. Data from the research centre of the Flemish Government was used to answer these two main questions by applying bivariate and multivariate regression. Result. It was found that there is a drop in environmental consciousness in Flanders between 2000 and 2005. This is caused by period- as well as by birth cohort effects, where birth cohort effects seemed to account for the largest part. Level of education, sex and confrontation with environmental pollution all contribute to the environmental consciousness. Conclusions Environmental consciousness is not continuously increasing as expected by several theories. Instead, there is a decline in environmental consciousness. This decline might have been caused by a period effect, the increased awareness of terrorist threat, which might have replaced environmental concern as an important value. With regards to the birth cohort effects, it was found they were roughly divided into two groups. The first group was born before or during the Second World War. This group showed a significantly lower environmental consciousness than the second group, which was born after the Second World War. Even after controlling for the level of education, sex and the confrontation with environmental pollution, both effects remained significant.