Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 12-4-2019

Faculty Advisor(s)

Ann Gordon


As the population steadily increases year after year, more resources are expended and consumed, and the chance of permanently harming the world around us increases. The topic of pollution, specifically air and water pollution, is not a new concept to the public. For instance, many are aware that our actions negatively impact the environment we live in, but what are the public attitudes that coincide with pollution awareness? Many large cities, like New York City, Beijing, and Los Angeles, have their fair share of polluted air, but what is the perception from the public? This paper will aim to answer this question by analyzing why some people fear pollution and why others do not. Further, it will investigate the causes of these differing attitudes toward pollution. Key demographic variables that will be analyzed will help explain differences in public opinion. Among interesting findings, race and gender demonstrated modest influence on predicting fears of pollution. Additionally, this paper finds a strong relationship between fear of air and water pollution and political party affiliation. Aside from demographic influence, it is important to consider the strong impact political, social and economic issues can have on the variations of public environmental fears. For example, within recent decades, a significant spike in pollution fears have been observed. This sudden spike was the start of the public becoming more responsive to fears of potential environmental issues. Lastly, fear of pollution greatly affects changes in environmental policy due to the impactful relationship public opinion and public policymaking share. This paper’s findings express the significance in determining fear of pollution and its’ impact on public policy; however, it is just the start in understanding the cause of pollution perception.


Presented at the Fall 2019 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.