|Sunday, June 21|
Risk perception in residents of a mining area contaminated with arsenic
* Jaquelinne Resendiz, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
Patricia Ortega-Andeane, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
Risk perception refers to "People's judgments and assessments of the dangers to which they are or could be exposed [...] They are interpretations of the world, base on experiences and/or beliefs” (Rohrmann, 1998, p. 2). That is, the way people understand, structure and live risks (Echemendía, 2011). The main interest of this study is the risk of contamination by arsenic, metalloid found in water, air, soil and marine biota (Gupta & Chatterjee, 2017). that is associated with different types of cancer and arsenicism (ATSDR, 2007). In Mexico, different mining areas are affected by this problem, one of which is the city of Zimapán (Murcott, 2012). Research in this area reports two main sources of arsenic, point sources linked to mining activities and diffuse sources linked to groundwater (Sracek, Armienta, Rodriguez & Villaseñor, 2010). Although there is an evident danger, it may differ from the perceived risk (Sjöberg, 2000). Therefore, the objective of this study is to identify the perceptions, knowledge and behaviors of the Zimapán, Hidalgo residents, concerning arsenic contamination. The participants were 45 residents over 18 years of age (18 men and 27 women, M=41.7, SD=12.6 and M=44.6 SD=12.5) from three rural communities with less than 700 inhabitants (INEGI, 2015), El Detzani, El Llano and El Muhi. Structured interviews were conducted with 12 open-ended questions on perceptions, knowledge and behaviors regarding arsenic and its damage to health, and the confidentiality and anonymity aspects of the psychologist's code of ethics were respected. An analysis was carried out by categories, in the category of contamination perception, air, water and soil pollution, were associated with garbage, mining and industrial waste and the lack of municipal maintenance. In the knowledge and perceptions of arsenic, two subcategories are proposed: forms of pollution, where the consumption of contaminated water is mentioned as the main form of pollution, and damage to health, where skin problems, cancer and death are highlighted. Three subcategories were proposed for behaviors associated with protection, safe water sources, where 95.5% of the participants report buying purified water because they distrust local drinking water, and making sure that it is not altered in color or flavor, as for those responsible for taking care of water at home, it is reported that the housewife is the main responsible. In cognitive biases three subcategories were established, the illusion of invulnerability, temporal bias and spatial bias (Gifford et al. 2012) that were related to the perception of contaminated sites and damage to health. In conclusion, the population has information on this problem and it is associated mainly with mining activity, the main economic activity in the area, which may limit interventions in this regard. In addition, cognitive biases and little knowledge about the causes and consequences of arsenic were identified, which may prevent adequate protective measures from being taken. Finally, this study is part of an intervention project that is intended to be carried out in the area focused on health protection.
Use of virtual reality to connect with the oceans and subsequent impact on packaging choice
* Sohvi Nuojua, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom
Sabine Pahl, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom
Richard Thompson, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom
Introduction. Single-use packaging items constitute a large share of marine plastic waste. Consumer decisions are a significant contributor to the abundance of this pollution in the environment. Therefore, understanding the drivers of consumer behaviour in regard to packaging is an important step in the attempts to tackle marine litter. Ocean connectedness has been suggested as a factor that contributes to more sustainable packaging choice. Therefore, we hypothesise that inducing ocean connectedness via an immersive virtual reality (VR) experience will lead to more positive responses to recyclable packaging and to packaging materials other than plastic. Method. One hundred undergraduate students were randomised into either the experimental condition (ocean VR) or the control condition (city VR). Participants in the ocean group underwent a brief under-water VR experience involving a coral reef and a variety of marine organisms (theBlu on Steam). Those in the city group were given a VR navigation task in which they were to freely explore a busy metropolitan city centre (Google Earth VR street view). State ocean connectedness was measured using the Ocean Connectedness Scale before and after the VR exposure. Implicit association of the self with the ocean was also measured after the VR manipulation using a version of the Implicit Association Test. Finally, participants completed a packaging rating task in which they were shown a series of products that varied in the recyclability and material of their packaging. Each product was rated on willingness to buy, affective reaction and perceived sustainability. Results and discussion. The data collection for this study has been completed, but the results are yet to be finalised. Findings on the effectiveness of a brief VR manipulation in promoting ocean connectedness merit focus, as connecting people with the oceans can be a challenging task. If it is found that the oceanic VR exposure induces ocean connectedness (in comparison to a city VR), it can be suggested that immersive audio-visual technologies are effective in connecting people with marine environments. Furthermore, findings on the effects of the VR manipulation on responses to packaging help uncover the role of ocean connectedness in pro-environmental intentions.
Analysis of environmental concern in Russian regions facing environmental change
* Alexandra Ivanova, Higher School of Economics, Russian Federation
Perception and beliefs about climate change are a very complex issue which is difficult to generalize across a geographically, economically and culturally diverse population? (Lee, et al., 2015). The direct experience of a collision with environmental changes can lead to the perception of environmental problems as more imminent and significant which can in turn, generate proenviromental behavior responses. However, the evidence confirming this state are contradictory nowadays (Whitmarsh, 2008; Spence, et al., 2011; Koksal, et al., 2019). Skogen and colleagues (2018) research suggested that environmental concern should be considered not as a general concern, but as a specific construct related to environmental issues. Russia includes regions in which environmental change has a visible effect on environmental processes, and we have identified areas with increasing floods, forest fires and deteriorating air quality. Therefore, our research is asking the following question: Does environmental concern differ in the regions of Russia that are confronted with different types of environmental changes, as compared with regions that are not facing these problems? Based on the literature review in current study the following hypotheses were put forward: 1. Within environmental concern there are profiles that can be determined and described (H1). 2. Direct experience of environmental problems such as floods, forest fires and deteriorating air quality respectively increase environmental concern (H2). The study aims to explore relations between environmental concern and direct experience of environmental change such as flood, wildfire and air pollution in Russian regions. The cities selected for the study are Chita, Bratsk, Vladivostok and Naberezhnye Chelny. The study will use a quasi-experimental design and compare the two groups: places with direct experience and places with no direct experience. Overall, data from more than 400 respondents will be used in the study. Participants will be offered an online questionnaire which contain the following variables to measure environmental concern (connected with types of environmental change), degree of influence of the direct experience (objective damage and psychological effect), and the demographic variables. An online survey will be created based on the pre-test data. Correlational, regression and factor analysis will be used to explore research findings. This is an early stage research project stemming from my Master’s dissertation, and which I am planning to develop into a PhD dissertation. It is in the stage of pretest where I am in the process of adapting the scales into Russian language and preparing semi-structured interviews with residents of selected cities in order to obtain information on: 1) how the degree of influence of the direct experience (objective damage and psychological effect) could be measured, and 2) identify a range of environmental issues important to residents of each region, and their perceptions. The results of the study will provide a more versatile understanding of environmental concern and can be applied in the development of policies for introducing proenvironmental behavior in regions facing environmental change. At the workshop I would like to discuss the theoretical assumptions as well as possible measurement options suitable for this study.