The aim of this study is to figure out what factors are most important in explaining different levels of awareness concerning environmental problems and to compare the level of awareness s well as the actual behavior towards environment of people living in developing and developed countries. As the countries of study India and the Federal Republic of Germany have been chosen. India is thought to represent a developing country while Germany gives an example of an economically developed country.
An additional aspect when choosing the countries of study was to use the competence of the author who lives in Germany, but has the great possibility to do some fieldwork studies in India and to work together with Indian colleagues. The design of the study has three stages: First, information on India as far as environmental awareness and environmentally friendly behavior are concerned will be obtained by both fieldwork and a systematic survey of the available literature. This paper will focus exclusively on the first part of the study design.
Second, the same will be done for Germany. The third and final step will be to compare the results obtained for India and Germany. The first part of the country study will focus on the different factors that might be able to explain awareness of environmental problems. The ultimate objective is to find the most decisive factors in creating awareness Of ecological issues, since this is the first step in developing effective campaigns to promote a higher level of environmental awareness among the population. The special emphasis of this study is on the role of media in creating environmental awareness with the underlying concept of media being a very broad one. The different media sources considered can be categorized as follows: (a) Mass media (e. G. Radio, television, newspaper and magazines) (b) Institutional media (e. G. School, government officials or village leaders) (c) Traditional media (e. G. Family members, other relatives, friends and neighbors, NAG work) As a first explanation of environmental awareness modern mass media will be considered.
It is still to be confirmed that the role of mass media is one of the most important factors underlying the knowledge of environmental problems: This can only be true on the conditions that first, mass media are accessible to large proportions of the population, second, are spending some time on environmental issues and third, people are interested in information on ecological issues provided by the media so that they view or listen to the corresponding programs as well as read newspaper articles or other written publications dealing with environmental issues.
Second, representing the institutional media the importance of school education in creating environmental awareness and training environmentally friendly behavior will be examined: the aim is to find out if and to what degree and how successful knowledge on ecological issues is taught at schools. A third factor being able to explain the level of environmental awareness might be traditional media, the social environment of a person.
If discussions on environmental issues within the family or with friends, neighbors and leagues take place quite often or even regularly this will probably influence a person’s awareness and behavior in an environmental friendly way. The work of Nags and the support they perceive by the Ministry of Environment & Forests will be considered, too. Forth, in addition to the role of media the degree to which a person is exposed to environmental pollution in every day life might influence its awareness of ecological 3 problems.
Suffering from a disease or permanent health problems due to environmental pollution will probably even enhance the level of awareness. After discussing the reasons that promote environmental awareness, the second part of each country study will focus on the resulting different levels of awareness itself. The question is if the level of awareness of environmental problems is higher in more developed countries than in less developed ones or vice versa. Whatever should be the case it should be indicated by the explanations offered above.
The third part of each country study will finally examine the individual’s actual behavior towards environment. This stresses that it is important to make a difference between the way in which people actually behave and their awareness of environmental problems that is a prerequisite, but not necessarily sufficient to develop an environmental friendly behavior. It is, for example, possible that somebody is quite aware Of the fact that his behavior is detrimental to natural environment, but as long as he is not convinced that it is important to preserve the environment he might not be willing or motivated to change his behavior. . 0 Objectives The specific aspects to study would be 1) to find out the most decisive factors in creating environmental awareness 2) to evaluate the role of modern mass media in this process 3) to explore owe much time media are spending on environmental issues 4) to know if people are interested in information on environment provided by the media 5) to assess the importance Of education in creating environmental awareness 6) to find out if education in school is training an environmentally friendly behavior 7) to figure out if the social environment of a person, e. . Its family, friends, neighbors and colleagues as well as the work of Nags, is able to partially explain different levels of environmental awareness 8) to work out if exposure to environmental pollution in every day life influences the level of environmental awareness 4 9) to assess the resulting level of environmental awareness in India 1 0) to assess the actual level of environmental friendly behavior 3. Methodology The planned study will be based both on fieldwork (a household survey as well as interviews with media managers, experts, government officials and teachers, a list of the interviewed persons is available in appendix) and a survey of literature and secondary information available. A. Survey of literature and secondary information By studying literature an attempt will be made to find out how many time and pace media like television, radio and daily newspapers provide for environmental issues and what kind of issues are tackled: Are the problems in general described and their causes explained?
Or is the main emphasis on politics concerning environment like legislation and implementation? Which specific problems are tackled? How often are global environmental problems in comparison to national or local ones are addressed to? To get an overview of Indian environmental policy and to figure out if there is any regulation by law that environmental issues should be dealt with is a further attempt Of the literature survey. B. Interviews
All three kinds of interviews (those with media managers and journalists, with experts and officials and with teachers) have been designed as open interviews. The interviews with media managers will tackle the following topics: Which environmental problems are mentioned in Indian media? What is the aim of media when dealing with ecological issues: information, education or entertainment? To whom (age, level of education etc. ) 5 do environmental programs address? Why are media spending not even more time on environmental issues?
Experts and officials will be asked on their view of how environmental awareness comes into existence and what an be done to promote a more environmentally friendly behavior. The potential and actual role of the Ministry of Environment & Forests in creating environmental awareness will be examined, too. Interviewing teachers offers the chance to obtain some information on the question if teachers are obliged to teach on environmental issues by fixed curricula, how extensively this is done and if there ha eve been changes in teaching on environment over the last few years.
Another interesting aspect is if theoretical teaching is complemented by practical training, special projects and events organized by schools. . Household survey The main objectives of the household survey are to find the most important factors explaining environmental awareness, to assess the individual level of environmental awareness and to learn about the person’s behavior towards environment. For this reason the questions asked have been designed to find out the sources of information on environmental issues, e. G. Media or education at school.
An attempt will be made to assess how the interviewed person thinks of environmental pollution: It is an important and interesting issue? Does the interviewed person feel exposed to some kind of environmental pollution in its every day life? What environmental issues are considered the most urgent ones? Additionally, the amount of the interviewed person’s knowledge concerning environmental issues will be judged. Another objective is to find out if the interviewed person is in some respect behaving in an environmentally friendly way.
The household survey will cover 100 households in different areas in Delhi. Sector IV, Timpani, Civil Line in the North, Pocket IV, Shark Purr in the East, Minot Road Complex in Central Delhi, Ragout Garden in the West and Last Nag near Central Market in the South of Delhi. Based on the assumption that Indian and German middle-class households are most comparable (as opposed to lower- or upper-class households) the study will focus on middle class households. 4. Environmental education The most important landmark for environmental education at an international level was without a doubt the International Confer Renee on Environmental Education organized by UNESCO and LESSEN at Tidbits in former USSR in 1977. The goals of environmental education were defined as creating environmental awareness, impart general knowledge for a basic understanding of environment, acquiring environmental friendly attitudes ND values and to generate new patterns of behavior towards environment.
The more recently held United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in ROI De Jeanine, Brazil in 1 992, popularly known as the Earth Summit, adopted an action plan for Sustainable Development, Agenda 21 Chapter 36 which is devoted to education states that “Education is critical for promoting sustainable development and improving the capacity of people to address environment and development Education without communication is simply impossible. Communication in turn will only work with an appropriate medium.
In the case of environmental education at educational establishments classes at school, college or universities level serve as this medium. As far as environmental education outside educational establishments is concerned mass media and traditional media like family, neighbors and colleagues have the role of the medium that enables people to communicate successfully. In the following paragraph these three different kinds of media (institutional, mass and traditional media) will be examined to find out on their efforts made in creating environmental awareness and how more or less successful they are. The role of mass media in creating environmental awareness 7 The mass media considered here trying to explain environmental awareness are newspapers, radio and television due to the fact that these are the most widely and frequently used modern mass media in both India and Germany. First, I will deal with the supply side, the coverage of environmental issues in the media, second we will take a look at the side of demand, considering the aspect if people are interested in the offered information on environment and use it.
Since independence, the number of Indian newspapers has multiplied several folds. Today Indian newspapers are brought out in 93 languages and dialects. In the household survey, 57% of the interviewed persons stated to read the newspaper for 30 to 60 minutes per day. With an average of about 50 minutes the daily amount of time spent on reading the newspaper, ‘the backbone of news” in India, is considerably high. While the figures mentioned above underline the importance of newspaper in spreading information, its emits should be mentioned, too: illiteracy in India is around 51%.
In I addition to that, 93% of the several million copies are sold in the large towns with population over 100. 000. This accounts only for 10 percent of the population. How extensively are environmental issues covered in the daily newspapers? After Times of India has abandoned its weekly column, none of Indian’s daily newspapers has a regular space reserved for environmental news so that these are only addressed as government, ministry and legal news as well as in contexts of science or health.
The focus is mainly on local and national issues like air, water and noise pollution as well as deforestation. In contrast to that global environmental problems are only mentioned very rarely, e. G. If they are the topic of international conferences. In general, the demand of journalists when writing on environment is neither an educational or motivational approach nor offering scientific explanation or background information (exceptions are environmental issues that are on the top of the political agenda, e. G.
CNN (compressed natural gas)), but it is to inform their readers on the latest trends in political news related to environment. A slight tendency towards a motivational coverage of environmental issues can be observed in the regional language newspapers, e. G. When enlightening farmers on the negative consequences of the use of pesticides. 8 Roughly it can be said that Indian’s most important newspapers like Times of India, The Hindu, Hindustan Times or Indian Express have an article on environmental issues at least every second day with Times of India doing the best job in terms of frequency.
The low level of coverage on environment can be explained by different reasons: First, the fairly new field of environmental journalism which starting point was only in 1994 after the Opal catastrophe is not considered as an attractive One by journalists, the majority of the journalists covering environment has been asked to do so. Of course, there re several environmental journalists who have chosen their subject out of true commitment, too. Second, environment is competing with all the other issues covered in the newspaper whereby the most severe selection criterion is the news worthiness of an issue.
The interest of the reader as far as news on environment are concerned is supposed to be still fairly low by the editors. Nevertheless all of the interviewed editors and journalists felt that there has been an increase in the number of articles on environment both due to a higher awareness and interest of their readers (this is especially true for the monger generation) and the visible deterioration of the state of nature. Although its number of readers is only around 16. 00, Indian’s only environmental magazine “Down to Earth” has to be mentioned when writing on environment and media, because it fills an important lack in Indian media and their coverage of environment. Started in 1992 this magazine is a kind of chronology of Indian environmental history. The outstanding aspect of its approach is not only the coverage of a broad variety of environment related topics (ranking from policy to science, from local to global level) and their scientific background, but also the belief that addressing environmental issues in a developing country like India is not a matter of luxury, but of pure livelihood.
Radio is cheap, most easily accessible and radio signals cover almost the whole country. However, on average there are only 4. 4 radio / transistors sets per 1 00 persons. 80 percent are in urban homes, only about six million sets left with 525 million rural 9 population. Furthermore the frequency of listening to the radio is relatively low: only 35% of the interviewees declared to listen to the radio regularly, most of them ranking between half an hour and two hours per day.
In addition to the relatively small number of people listening to the radio the role of radio in creating environmental awareness can not be considered an important one due to the fact that there are only eve ray few regular environmental programs, although there is an instruction by Supreme Court for all media that programs on environment should be broadcast: Motivated by the Ministry of Environment &Forests Delhi FM is broadcasting two weekly programs on environment, “Kinkier – Kinkier” and “Ay Dill Saver”. Otherwise, pollution of environment is only unsympathetically tackled in orgasm designed for special target groups, e. . Rural population, industrial workers or in city programs, in women’s or children’s programs. The issues mentioned and the Way they are dealt are naturally adjusted to the target group and the background of the program: science programs focus on scientific explanations and new technical developments, children’s programs have a more educational and motivational approach, city programs are addressing local problems like air, water and noise pollution and so on. On the national level of broadcasting news on environment are very scarce, if sews on environment are broadcast this is most often at the regional level.
In sum, radio is well below its potential in creating environmental awareness and over the last few years no increase in broadcasts on environment can be observed. Nevertheless, there has been at least one progressive approach in the use of radio in environmental education that should be mentioned: In 1998, All India Radio, the Indian National Radio Network, addressed environmental issues such as water, air and noise pollution, deforestation, solid waste disposal, organic farming and other topics in a episode entertainment-education dado serial “Yeah Kahn AAA Gay Hum” (“Where have we arrived? ), a story of rural background in which a factory settles near a small village. The entertainment-education communication strategy purposely designs and implements a media message to both entertain and educate, in order to increase audience members’ knowledge, create favorable attitudes and change behavior. “Yeah Kahn AAA Gay Hum” was produced under the leadership of Mrs.. Ash Basin with the 10 assistance of the Central Pollution Control Board of India.
This serial was broadcast weekly with repeated versions from June to December via 31 radio tattoos covering seven Indian states in the densely populated Hindi-speaking areas of northern India. Due to the wide preprogrammed publicity via radio, television, press and Nags working in the broadcast area it was able to attract a listeners of around 100. 000 persons. While the serial itself addressed environmental issues in an entertaining manner, trying to contact the listeners in their every day life context, the epilogues usually delivered by a credible media celebrity advertised the educational message.
The approach was an interactive one: A competitive spirit was fostered among listeners by warding prices for the quality of provided feedback, outstanding community work by listeners in the realm of environmental conservation was also recognized. Impact studies accompanying the broadcasting process showed that the radio serial provoked not only past-broadcast discussion, but also the founding of clubs in which members listened to the serial collectively and started campaigns to save the environment. Yeah Kahn AAA Gay Hum” is an excellent example that the use of intercommunication’s communication strategies in the field of environment can be equally successful as in social ones in which it has been practiced before. In my opinion, this approach, especially, but not only via the medium radio that is able to reach the less educated and rural parts of the population, is an extremely promising one so that its chances should not be missed in the future.
Due to the high level of illiteracy in India, electronic media are in a key position. Furthermore, inquiries have shown that both radio and television are perceived as authoritative and friendly media by vast percentages of the population. Since Indian’s 45 million television sets cover 86. 5 per cent of the country’s population, television is one of the most powerful effective means f propaganda and persuasion. Over 10 million Indian homes have cable and satellite connections.
Television has become a new status symbol even in remote villages. In rural areas people have at least sometimes access to television e. G. In small restaurants and long route busses. Probably, the rapid growth rate of television sets (3 million annually) will even increase the importance of television in the future. A further advantage of television as an educational media is that 1 1 it is helpful in teaching practical work: A televised presentation can be as clear as a face-to-face demonstration.