What is it about?

This paper illustrates a case in which decision-makers appear to misunderstand public attitudes regarding natural resource use. It compares two studies: one revealing beliefs regarding public perceptions of a novel method of aquaculture; and a second revealing the perceptions actually held by the public. A gap exists between what decision-makers believe the public perceives and what the public actually perceives.

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Why is it important?

This may mean natural-resource use decisions and policies are not representative of the public at large - but rather of a vocal minority.


Increasingly, we see natural resource use opportunities being halted or even shut down by vocal minorities. Whilst it is imperative that these voices are heard, we often miss the voices of the majority, who may not hold strong opinions one way or another. If we are not considering the silent majority, we must ask just how representative natural resource decision and policy making really is.

Dr Karen A Alexander
University of Tasmania

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Public attitudes and decision making in environmental resource planning — a perception gap, Environmental Science & Policy, February 2018, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2017.11.012.
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