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Changes in Environmental Awareness and Its Connection to Local Environmental Management in Water Conservation Zones: The Case of Beijing, China

  • Pang, S.
  • Sharpley, A.
  • Moriggi, A.
  • Brombal, D.
  • Wang, X.
  • Du, Y.

This paper aims at investigating the change over time in the environmental awareness in rural Chinese communities and its correlation with environmental management measures implemented at the local level. We identify three main components of awareness, namely: perception, behavior, and attitude toward environmental management measures. Data were collected from two surveys in three villages in northern China in 2006 and 2015 that interviewed 125 and 129 respondents, respectively, and were analyzed employing an Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) approach. The results discussed in the paper show that environmental awareness increased between 2006-2015, and was mainly manifested in better environmental behavior and understanding of environmental status due an improvement in rural infrastructure and a greater amount of information provided to rural residents about the environment. Place of residence had a considerable influence on respondents' environmental awareness: residents in eco-villages had a higher environmental awareness than those living in common agricultural villages. This appears to indicate a positive nexus between the comprehensiveness of environmental management measures implemented locally, and environmental awareness. Also, the universality of environment issues reduced the importance of socioeconomic and demographic factors in determining the degree of environmental awareness. However, more attention should be paid to villagers' external behavior and inner feelings, such as their attitude to governmental management policies. These findings yield important policy implications that are relevant to the promotion of environmental awareness in China's rural communities, and the adoption of more effective environmental management measures. © 2018 by the authors.

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