عنوان مقاله [English]
Nowadays, environmental issues and problems have gained much importance at the national and global levels. Extensive degradation of natural resources, the warming up of the globe, massive immigration into the cities, and heavy reliance on industrial production have caused many problems including air and water pollution, a reduction in the quality of housing, so much so that it was claimed that the carrying capacity of the city of Tehran was reached in 1996 and that its growth and development should have been stopped (Ranjbaran, 2014:81). Base on the reports of international organizations, Iranâs environmental ranking in 2006 was 53 which dropped to 67 in 2008, and further was lowered to 78 in 2010 (quoted in Jafarinia, 1012: 13). About the city of Esfahan too, it can be said that it has been the second (after Tehran) most polluted city in Iran and has the highest level of air inversion (quoted in Haghighatian, et al., 2013). Therefore, the present article aims to study selected variables that can influence the environmental behavior of Esfahani residents.
2- Theoretical Bases
The issue of the limitations of natural resources and the need to control population growth, or in other words, the reverse relationship between population increase and the development of natural resources, has a long tradition is social sciences. Thomas Malthus in 19th century warned about the problem of population growth surpassing food production and leading to hunger, famine, disease, and war (Weeks, 2011:79-84). But, given the dominance of an optimistic view about human and its potential for growth, Malthusâs warning were not heeded and different countries of the world rushed toward ever more development and economic and industrial growth.
It was in the mid-twentieth century that the detrimental consequences of human activities for the environment attracted some attention. Rachel Carson published âSilent Springâ in 1962, protesting the widespread use of chemical herbicides. Garret Hardin wrote âtragedy of the Commonsâ in 1968, warning about the dire consequences of population increase (Weeks, 2011: 87-88). Pressure from the public, forced politicians and industrialists to have a more responsible approach toward the environment, and some regulations were made to reduce these problems (Edelstein, 2002: 63). However, most of the programs designed to reduce environmental damage were technologically oriented and were expensive, therefore some looked to alter human activity to help reach this goal (Salehi, 2010).
The research population consists of all the residents who were 10 years old or above of the city of Esfahan that numbered 1663834 in the year of 2011, of which, using the Cochran formula, 376 individuals were randomly selected as the sample. Based on theoretical and research literature, the variables age, gender, marital status, level of education, monthly income, environmental knowledge, environmental attitude, and religiosity were considered as independent variables and environmental behavior was the dependent variable. The research instrument had face validity and the reliability Alpha coefficient for environmental knowledge was 0.82 that for environmental attitude was 0.76, for religiosity, it was 0.86, and for environmental behavior, it was 0.87.
Descriptive and analytical results of the research are as follows:
-Close to 45 percent of respondents were in the age group of 31-50, 53.4 percent were male, 31 percent had monthly income less than 1.5 million tumans, and 46.5 percent had education level less an associate degree.
-the mean for environmental knowledge was 3.18, that for environmental attitude was 3.57, for religiosity, it was 4.92, and for environmental behavior, it was 3.08.
-the relationship between income and environmental behavior was significant and reverse (-0.18).
- -the relationship between education and environmental behavior was significant and direct (0.052).
--the relationship between environmental knowledge and environmental behavior was significant and direct (0.285).
--the relationship between environmental attitude and environmental behavior was significant and direct (0.167).
--the relationship between religiosity and environmental behavior was significant and direct (0.249).
-there was no significant relationship between age, gender, marital status and environmental behavior
Given the positive relationship between environmental knowledge, environmental attitude, and education on the one hand and environmental behavior, on the other, it is therefore suggested that Iranâs national television broadcast programs that enhance peopleâs awareness and sensitivity toward environmental issues. Also it is proposed that material concerning environmental problems and issues be taught at school so that the youth become sensitized to these kinds of problems, and that opinion leaders include such material in their speeches and writings so as to encourage people to have more responsible environmental behavior.
Research results showed that the environmental behavior of the residents was the medium level and that the variable of environmental behavior was significantly related to religiosity (r= 0.249), environmental attitude (r= 0.167), environmental awareness (r= 0.285), income (r= 0.180), education (r= 0.052), but no significant relationship was found between environmental behavior and age, gender, and marital status.