WIT Press

Relevance Of Environmental And Public Safety Issues Predicts Public Importance Of Economic Vitality


Free (open access)





Page Range

225 - 234




270 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


R. Thomas, S. Conway, P. Washeba, R. Cameron & R. Skidmore


The extant literature indicates that in times of economic hardship, people afford less attention to environmental issues and, intuitively, more importance to economic matters. One topic that is not provided in the literature is the relative individual importance of environmental issues; specifically, that more personally relevant issues may remain imperative in times of economic hardship. Additionally, persons may be more concerned about basic needs, such as public safety, compared to environmental issues. In this study, respondents were 600 adults during a recently documented recession. Participants indicated the most urgent environmental issue as water concerns. Due to the distress of water availability in the American southwest, the personally relevant environmental issue was conceptualized as water conservation. In order to maintain standardization of environmental issues across relevancy; another water related issue was chosen as the personally irrelevant environmental variable. Flood control, while vitally important due to urbanization, is not personally relevant. The other predictive variable, public safety; was measured as the importance of maintaining low crime rates. The prediction of the economic vitality variable was constructed as the importance of improving job opportunities, with higher importance of improvement indicating a poorer semblance of vitality. Data was analyzed using standard multiple regression and the results support the hypothesis. Specifically, in times of economic adversity, more importance is given toward public safety and personally relevant environmental issues, while less importance is focused on environmental issues that are personally irrelevant. The results and discussion are a pragmatic look into importance and perceptual influence on economic, public safety, and environmental issues. Keywords: environmental issues, public safety, and economic vitality.


environmental issues, public safety, and economic vitality