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Environmental Values

What Lies Beneath the Surface? A Case Study of Citizens' Moral Reasoning with Regard to Biodiversity

Maria Ojala and Rolf Lidskog

Environmental Values 20 (2011): 217-237. doi: 10.3197/096327111X12997574391760


This paper focuses on a Swedish case where a biological insecticide has been used to fight mosquitoes in order to reduce the nuisance to humans. The case concerns conflicting values regarding environmental protection. People's quality of life in the summers is placed in opposition to long-term risks to biodiversity. On the surface, the affected lay-population is one-sidedly positive about the intervention. However, interviews with citizens revealed a more complex picture, where the majority also touched upon value conflicts. At the same time, different psychological mechanisms for handling these dilemmas hindered more critical and doubtful views from being included in societal deliberations concerning the intervention. By way of conclusion, we argue that it is important to create deliberative arrangements that acknowledge the emotional and contradictory side of human nature and that encourage people to dare to voice standpoints that may be seen as uncomfortable or inconsistent.


Insecticide, value conflicts, ambivalence, coping mechanisms, deliberation

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

An Imaginary Solution? The Green Defence of Deliberative Democracy. Manuel Arias-Maldonado
Rethinking Nature: Public Visions in the Netherlands. Riyan J.G. van den Born
Participation and Environmental Governance: Consensus, Ambivalence and Debate. Harriet Bulkeley and Arthur P.J. Mol
Incorporating Value Trade-offs into Community-Based Environmental Risk Decisions Robin S. Gregory
Integrating Multiple Knowledge Systems into Environmental Decision-making: Two Case Studies of Participatory Biodiversity Initiatives in Canada and their Implications for Conceptions of Education and Public Involvement.Elin Kelsey
'Playing God' and 'Vexing Nature': A Cultural Perspective.Georgiana Kirkham
Biodiversity as the Source of Biological Resources. Paul M. Wood
Local Deliberation and the Favouring of Nature. Ivan Zwart

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Terrible Economics, Ecosystems and Banking. Clive L. Spash

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