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New Ecological Paradigm Survey 2008: Analysis of the NEP results

On this page: abstract, table of contents

Report: TR 2013/11

Author: Dr J Thomson (Waikato Regional Council) and Versus Research Ltd


The New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scale is a means of assessing people’s underlying ecological worldviews. These worldviews help shape people’s attitudes and actions toward the environment. In order to achieve changes in people’s behaviours, it is important to gain insight into their beliefs and values and how these drive them to take the decisions they do.

Research has shown us that a person who achieves a pro-ecological score on the NEP scale is more likely to support actions that enhance the environment. A person who achieves an anti-ecological score is less likely to support actions that enhance the environment. It is, therefore, important for Waikato Regional Council to understand the underlying worldviews of Waikato residents in order to determine what level of ecological support there is and what the drivers are of that support, or lack thereof.

The council has undertaken an NEP survey using the 6-item NEP scale every four years since 2000,  with the next survey due to be run in 2013. In 2008, the survey was conducted with 600 residents aged 18 years and older.

New Ecological Paradigm Survey 2008: Analysis of the NEP results (1mb)

Table of contents

1 Executive summary 1
1.1 The 6-item NEP scale 2000, 2004, 2008 1
1.2 Ecological values scale scores 2008 3
1.3 Drivers for ecological support and opposition 4
1.4 Insights into ecological beliefs 5
2 Background 9
2.1 New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) scale 10
2.1.1 Develoment of New Environmental Paradigm and New Ecological Paradigm 10
2.2 Selection of statements 15
2.2.1 Further analysis of the data 17
2.2.2 Means for different aspects of opinion 17
2.3 Means of each strength grouping 18
2.4 Cross-tabulations 19
3 Why this information is useful 19
4 Conducting the survey 20
4.1 Methodology 21
4.2 Response rates 21
4.3 Weighting of data 21
4.4 Margin of error 21
4.5 Missing data 21
4.6 Significance testing 22
4.7 2008 sample 22
4.7.1 Age 23
4.7.2 Gender 23
4.7.3 Formal education 23
4.7.4 Income 23
4.7.5 Ethnicity 24
4.7.6 Māori ancestry 24
4.7.7 District/territorial authority 25
4.7.8 Summary 25
5 Results for each statement 25
5.1 Summary table of scores for each statement 26
6 The 6-item NEP scale and ecological value scale of Waikato people's environmental attitudes in 2000, 2004 and 2008 29
6.1 The 6-item NEP scale 29
6.1.1 Reliability of the 6-item NEP scale 30
6.2.1 Reliability of the ecological value scale 37
6.2.2 The ecological value scale for 2008 - Waikato people's environmental attitudes in 2008 38
7 General comments from people 45
8 Summary and conclusions 46
  Bibliography 48
  Appendix I: Copy of questionnaire 51
  Appendix II: NEP calculations and data sheet 55
  Appendix III: Additional comments received 71
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