Shouchao Fu

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This study examines household responses to The Environmental Problem (TEP). TEP is a conceptualization of the complex of natural and human forces and processes that threaten irreversible destruction, degradation, and contamination of earth-sustaining conditions. TEP represents any or all environmental conditions of concern to human beings, at whatever scale, in whatever form(s), exceeding natural recovery capacities. Human beings are taken to be an integral part of the environment, exerting a distinctive environmental force.;Cluster analysis was used to define five separate and socioeconomically distinctive neighborhoods in London, Ontario, from which by stratified random sampling, 300 households were selected. Global Action Plan (GAP) group members were used as a benchmark.;A questionnaire was developed to elicit data about households' responses to TEP. Three major interconnected dimensions of response were identified: information, attitude, behavior. Index scores were developed for each of these, as well as for an overall Environmental Orientation Index (EOI).;There was a positive relationship among information, attitude, and behavior. Households had a good and broad knowledge of environmental issues, events, and organizations. Attitudes were positive. The congruence of behavior was, however, limited.;Against expectation, there were no statistically significant differences on environmental dimensions or overall orientation among the five socioeconomically different locations. Household EOI was aspatial. The classical distance decay effects of spaital and temporal scale or distance on knowledge and response were not found.;Most household environmental information was from mass media, but those who made greater private efforts had more knowledge. Household formal education was the most identifiable explanatory factor; other socio-economic factors had little impact. Income correlated up to an "upper middle" level, but then lessened. Members of environmental groups, especially GAP, stood out from non-members. There was a strong correlation with sound exological, but not with endological, values.;Findings provide empirical evidence of time-space compression in the post-industrial era. Consciousness of the coincidence of human goals and environmental viability is emerging in the adoption of a Human-Environment Sustainability Paradigm (HESP). Concern for and willingness to change to protect the earth are widespread in society. The environment matters!



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.