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Publication Information

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Title: The judged seriousness of an environmental loss is a matter of what caused it

Author: Brown, Thomas C.; Peterson, George L.; Brodersen, R. Marc; Ford, Valerie; Bell, Paul A.;

Date: 2005

Source: Journal of Environmental Psychology. 25(1): 13-21.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Environmental losses, each described along with its cause, were judged for seriousness. Four types of cause were studied: illegal behavior, carelessness, economic and population growth, and natural events. Identical environmental losses (e.g., of a herd of elk or a large stand of trees) were considered most serious when caused by illegal behavior or carelessness, and only slightly less serious when caused by growth. Losses due to these three types of human causes were considered much more serious than when the same losses were caused by natural events. Naturally caused environmental losses were probably considered least serious because they do not provoke the sense of violation or responsibility commonly associated with human-caused losses, and because naturally caused losses are often considered unavoidable and in the natural scheme of things.

Keywords: environmental loss, illegal behavior, carelessness, economic and population growth, natural events

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Brown, Thomas C.; Peterson, George L.; Brodersen, R. Marc; Ford, Valerie; Bell, Paul A. 2005. The judged seriousness of an environmental loss is a matter of what caused it. Journal of Environmental Psychology. 25(1): 13-21.

 


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