David Yencken, John Fien and Helen Sykes
This book discusses attitudes to nature and ecological sustainability in the Asia-Pacific region. Its main focus is on the environmental attitudes and education of young people. The book reports some key findings from a comparative study of the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of young people in the region. These findings have implications for environmental policy and education in each of the participating countries and for the region as a whole.
The countries discussed in this book and in which the comparative research has been carried out are Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, South China and Thailand. There are therefore two countries from Australasia, two from the Pacific, five from South East Asia, two from East Asia and one from South (central) Asia. The research encompasses many different cultures and traditions and many different approaches to environmental problems.
The study involved a collaboration of researchers from all of these countries. Not only were the surveys in each location carried out by the researchers from that country; the country chapters describing the influences on environmental attitudes and behaviour were also written by researchers from the country concerned. The perspectives presented in these chapters are therefore from within the relevant culture. Overviews are, however, presented by the three principal researchers in other chapters.
National studies of environmental attitudes are now commonplace, especially in developed countries. In subsequent chapters we report selected evidence from national opinion polls and surveys in the different countries participating in the comparative study. It is notable, however, that cross-national research has mostly been confined to North America and Europe and has concentrated nearly exclusively on adult environmental attitudes. Hence the significance of the research to which this book is devoted, with its focus on the Asia-Pacific region and its emphasis on young people.
The Asia-Pacific region is a particularly important region for environmental research. It comprises countries such as Australia and New Zealand