Do ethnic communities care about the environment?
Yes, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, like others in NSW, do care and they want to support the environment.
In 2004 the Office of Environment and Heritage (then the Department of Environment and Conservation) , in partnership with the Sydney Catchment Authority and the Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability, conducted a new survey of the environmental knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of eight of NSW's largest ethnic communities.
This research updated and expanded on landmark research with ethnic communities conducted by OEH (then Environment Protection Authority) in 1996.
The Environment and NSW Ethnic Communities in 2004 found that, although there were significant differences between communities on many questions in the survey, overall:
- People from the ethnic communities surveyed value the environment as an important part of their lives. Only 'family' was rated as 'very' or 'rather' important by more participants. Significantly more people from Non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB) rated environment as 'very' important than in OEH's 2003 community-wide survey, Who Cares about the Environment?
- More than 80% of people surveyed were concerned about environmental problems.
- Issues related to water supply and conservation have increased markedly in importance since 1996 as an environmental issue of concern for people, with the drought and water restrictions likely to be a key factor in this increase.
- When combined with separately mentioned issues of water conservation, the environment is the third ranked issue for government attention after health and education.
- People can discuss environmental issues in more detail than in 1996. The number of people who are 'unsure' or 'don't know' about environmental issues has decreased markedly.
- More than two thirds of those surveyed report 'often acting' to reduce their water and energy use and to avoid stormwater pollution, and more than half also 'often' recycle paper and other materials and 'reuse' things instead of throwing them away.
Page last updated: 04 August 2011