An environmental value system (EVS for short) is a way of thinking that molds the way a person (or group of people) view an environmental issue such as pollution, climate change or deforestation. A system is defined by 3 factors: an input, a process, and an output.
An input is what influences a person to think one way or another in the first place. Inputs include your education, your culture, religion, parents, the media, society, politics, economics and much more. They are what define you as a person. A process is how you analyze and a judge an environmental issue (for good or for bad) based on your inputs. An output is the outcome of a process. It is the decision and/or action a person takes after an opinion on the environmental issue has been made.
There are 3 values: ecocentrism, anthropocentrism and technocentrism. Ecocentrics, also referred to as nature-centered or life-centered, are people that have an intrinsic value to nature. They are very attached to nature in the sense that they restrain themselves on consumption of resources. Considered to be pessimists, they don’t believe that technology will solve any environmental issue. Technocentrics (or technology-centered) on the other hand, are more optimistic. They believe that technological progress will suffice and provide solutions to environmental issues. They do not have an intrinsic view of nature, rather that humans can use all of Earth’s resources as it is there to benefit us. Their goal is to boost the economy, progress technologically.
Anthropocentrics are more people-oriented, hence “people-centered”. They straddle between ecocentrism and technocentrism, believing that economic growth is necessary, and the resources may be used but with purpose. They set rules and laws to protect the environment (nature as well as the people).
My Personal EVS and Inputs
I have always lived in an urban setting, constantly surrounded by the latest new gadgets and technologies. I have been brought up in a society that heavily relies on these innovative technologies, whether it is to communicate (smartphones), use personally (Soda Stream), or play around (VR set), we are taught to embrace high-tech and to operate or use it. Because of my home and school education, I see technology as a science of the future, that can help solve the growing problems and obstacles in the world. I also believe that market and economic growth are essential for the development of a country. However; I believe that a lot of the problems we are facing today are caused because we do not control our resources and our waste. I believe that laws and regulations must be applied, and we should be considerate and moderate as we depend on nature to survive (plants and animals provide food, lakes, rivers, and oceans provide water).
I see myself as a mix of all aspects (eco-anthro-and-techno-centric), being especially close to the environmental manager.Many things have shaped my opinion and how I view the world. As previously stated, my education and parents contributed a big part: I learned about the dangers of certain chemicals or materials, pollution, waste, the 4Rs (which, to me, was the first lesson that showed me how I myself can contribute) and much more at school. At home, we would separate our waste (recyclable or not), pay attention to what we bought… The media made me aware of environmental issues around the world. I wouldn’t say politics, the economy, or even my religion have shaped my EVS as I was never truly involved or gave much thought.