It’s not the economy, it’s the stupid paradigm

By Paula Williams

Dr. Williams wrote her dissertation on The role of social paradigm in human perception and response to environmental change. She is the director of UAA’s Office of Sustainability.

Americans’ level of concern for the environment waxes and wanes, depending on how the economy is faring, as illustrated in the 2011 Gallup chart below.  The chart shows responses to the question whether the economy or the environment should be given preference asked from 1985 through 2011. Note the trending decline in concern for the environment starting in 2001 with a precipitous drop in 2008 when the economy hit the skids. It’s a truism that our environmental behaviors and our understanding of causes of environmental degradation always lag behind the level of our environmental concern.  Why? Continue reading It’s not the economy, it’s the stupid paradigm