Values and the environmental/green movement of South Africa

Vollgraaff, Helene (2001-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The emergence and growth of the environmental/green movement has been linked to a value shift from materialism towards postmaterialism. In this study, the emergence of the South African environmental/green movement and its growth potential is investigated within the context of Ronald Inglehart's value change theory and its implications for developing societies. The positive link between postmaterialism and environmentalism is well researched and widely accepted. However, many researchers focusing on developing societies argue that a shift towards postmaterialism does not adequately explain the emergence of environmentalism, because environmentalism is taking root in developing societies despite postmaterialist values not being prioritised. This relationship is investigated by means of a literature study about the values, principles and issues addressed by the environmental/green movement. It is argued in this study that environmentalism can indeed be linked to postmaterialism, but that prematerialist values could also playa role, especially in developing societies. The South African environmental/green movement is discussed as an example of environmentalism in a developing society. The South African movement is often described as a white middle class movement. It is argued on the basis of a literature study that the movement has changed considerably and incorporates a wide range of interests ranging from more conservative forms of environmentalism to radical political forms of environmentalism such as environmental justice. This change is linked to the concepts of prematerialism and postmaterialism emphasising that both sets of goals seems to be prioritised by different discourses within the movement. Issues concerning both the welloff and the poor are addressed by the movement. This is followed by an analysis of the 1995 World Value survey data set to obtain a demographic and socio-economic profile of the active members of an environmental organisation and the environmentally concerned. The relationship between active membership of an environmental organisation, the environmentally concerned and the concepts of prematerialism, materialism and postmaterialism is also established. The positive relationship between postmaterialism and environmentalism is confirmed, but contradictory results have been found regarding the relationship between prematerialism and environmentalism. This can possibly be attributed to the inadequate survey material that is available. Although active membership of an environmental organisation correlates positively with prematerialism, no relationship could be found between environmental concern and prematerialism. Lastly, a demographic and socio-economic profile of the "don't know" response group has also been compiled as this group is an important target group for the expansion of the environmental/green movement.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die totstandkoming en groei van die groen- of omgewingsbeweging word gekoppel aan 'n waardeverskuiwing van materialisme na postmaterialisme. Die totstandkoming van die Suid-Afrikaanse groen/omgewingsbeweging en die groeipotensiaal daarvan word ill hierdie studie ondersoek binne die raamwerk van Ronald Inglehart se waardeverskuiwingsteorie en die implikasies daarvan vir ontwikkelende lande. Die positiewe verband tussen postmaterialisme en omgewingsbewustheid is goed nagevors en geniet wye aanvaarding. Tog het verskeie navorsers, veral dié wat op ontwikkelende lande fokus, probleme daarmee. Hierdie navorsers argumenteer dat postmaterialisme nie die totstandkoming van die omgewingsbeweging in ontwikkelende lande voldoende verklaar nie, aangesien die beweging in hierdie lande posgevat het terwyl die prioritisering van postmaterialisme ontbreek. Hierdie verband word ondersoek d.m.v. 'n literatuurstudie oor die waardes, beginsels en vraagstukke wat deur die groen/omgewingsbeweging aangespreek word. Daar word in hierdie studie geargumenteer dat omgewingsbewustheid wel aan postmaterialisme gekoppel kan word, maar dat prematerialistiese waardes waarskynlik ook 'n rol kan speel, veral in ontwikkelende lande. Die Suid-Afrikaanse groen/omgewingsbeweging word beskryf as 'n voorbeeld van omgewingsbewustheid in 'n ontwikkelende land. Die Suid-Afrikaanse beweging word dikwels beskryf as 'n wit middelklasbeweging. Daar word op grond van 'n literatuurstudie geargumenteer dat die beweging aansienlik verander het sodat dit nou 'n breë verskeidendenheid van belange aanspreek wat wissel van die meer konserwatiewe vorme van omgewingsbewustheid tot die radikale politieke vorme soos byvoorbeeld omgewingsregverdigheid (Eng: environmental justice). Die verskuiwing word aan die konsepte van postmaterialisme en prematerialisme verbind. Dit word beklemtoon dat verskillende groeperings binne die groen/omgewingsbeweging verskillende waardes prioritiseer. Vraagstukke wat beide die welvarendes en die armes raak, word deur die beweging aangespreek. Die literatuurstudie word gevolg deur 'n analise van die 1995 World Value Survey datastel. 'n Demografiese en sosio-ekonomiese profiel van die aktiewe lede van 'n omgewingsorganisasie en respondente wat as omgewingsbewus geïdentifiseer is, is opgestel. Die verhouding tussen die konsepte van prematerialisme, materialisme en postmaterialisme en aktiewe lidmaatskap van 'n omgewingsorganisasie aan die een kant en omgewingsbewustheid aan ander kant word ook bespreek. Die positiewe verband tussen postmaterialisme en omgewingsbewustheid, sowel as aktiewe lidmaatskap word deur die data bevestig. 'n Positiewe verband is ook tussen aktiewe lidmaatskap van 'n omgewingsorganisasie en prematerialisme gevind, maar teenstrydige resulte is gevind rakende die verband tussen omgewingsbewustheid en prematerialisme. Hierdie resultate kan egter moontlik beïnvloed wees deur die onvoldoende meetinstrument wat beskikbaar is. Laastens is 'n demografiese en sosio-ekonomiese profiel van die "weet nie" responsgroep saamgestel, aangesien hierdie groep 'n belangrike teiken is indien die groen/omgewingsbeweging wil uitbrei.

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