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Values and Sustainability Planning: Implications of a Multilevel, Social-Ecological Systems Approach for Understanding Values
February 21, 2018 • 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Presented by David Fulton, U.S. Geological Survey, Assitant Unit Leader & Adjunct Professor, Minnesota Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Abstract: Do values and wildlife value orientations change, and if so how? What are the implications for environmental sustainability? The preponderance of scholarly work indicates that within an individual, values form at an early age and then remain relatively stable throughout life. Substantive value change at the individual level is difficult to accomplish and is unlikely to occur through ordinary persuasive approaches. Values within the individual might be powerful influences on thought and behavior, but targeted value change to effect attitudinal and behavioral change is very unlikely to occur. Values at a societal level do change, but this change occurs largely through intergenerational shift, and the cultural and social values that form the social context of individuals are also relatively stable and resistant to rapid change. When substantive value shifts occur at the societal level it is in response to major social-ecological change such as immigration, warfare, or ecological collapse. The pattern is generally a shift from materialist to post-materialists values as characteristics associated with modernization such as economic well-being, urbanization and technological advances increase. This shift has consequences for conservation at a global level as modernizing nations exhibit more concern with pro-environmental issues but also consume more resources. In the USA, a similar shift in wildlife value orientations from domination to mutualism value orientations is apparent. However, even in these cases the shift in values is incremental and path-dependent and the values of previous generations tend to be retained.