Environmental Perceptions South Africa

Unless you have been living in a cocoon for your entire life, we all know that that the natural environment is being affected by human actions. It is in the news, and it is being taught to our kids in school, governments are making statements and environmental organizations even purchase advertising to inform you of certain environmental issues. This information does not always lead to action, why is that? Are we just bad people or are there other reasons for us being so lackluster when it come to responding to environmental problems. Don't get me wrong I am not perfect in anyway, for one thing, I drive a 3.6L Automatic petrol vehicle around town.

Environmental issues we hear about include such a broad spectrum of topics including air, land, water and all the major categories that these encompass. So what is it that people think about when they think of the environment, we have done some perceptions research on South Africans and are currently busy compiling the results. Here are some first impressions.

Initial results are fascinating and highlight a couple of very interesting indicators. Perceptions include all our senses, and it describes how we view the world around us. So how do South Africans perceive their world? What is interesting and the graph above indicates is that most of us feel we have a very good knowledge of the environmental issues around us. This overconfidence in our understanding can be due to the amount of media coverage that it receives, and it can also be the way we perceive the environment and what it includes. I would be very surprised if most of the respondents knew a significant amount of detail about the list of threatened species in the country or even which animals are on the list. Most would probably be aware of the Rhino. Our brains however groups many of the facts together that we class as environmental issues and make us feel we know a lot.

More than 50% of respondents have indicated that the standard of living in South Africa is either bad or very bad. They have also reported the state of the environment as such. It was interesting that some people did indicate the environment as being good. As custodians of the environment, we must remember that we can make a difference to our environment. We interact with the environment on a daily basis the image I chose above was taken in my garden. If we are mindful of the little things every day, we will notice areas where we can make a difference.