Croatia sees highest increase in concern for environment in central Europe

NEWS 17.01.2022 12:37
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Source: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP /ilustracija

Croatia has seen the highest increase in concern for environmental protection among six central European countries, according to a study recently published in the Croatian Sociological Review.

The study by sociologists Bruno Simac, Tijana Trako-Poljak and Vladimir Ivanovic from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Zagreb analysed the data from the European Social Survey from 2008 to 2018 and compared the trends in concerns about the environment in those ten years.

They selected six EU countries – Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia – because they share the geopolitical position, historical heritage and social and cultural links. They noted that post-communist countries are perceived as being less supportive of environmental protection than advanced democracies.

The highest increase in support for environmental concerns during the reported period was observed in Croatia, and Croatia and Slovenia scored highest in showing concern about nature in 2018, the authors said.

The Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia stagnated in their results, while Hungary saw a significant decline in support for environmental protection between 2008 and 2018.

In 2008, Croatia had one of the lowest scores, and while the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia had not made much progress by 2018, Croatia moved up to second place among the central European countries and was overtaken only by Slovenia, which edged up from second to the top position.

The most surprising were the results for Hungary, which dropped from the highest score in the perception of care for the environment in 2008 to the lowest in 2018.

The study showed that despite the differences there were many similarities in environmental views and values among the selected countries.

The survey used the Schwartz values approach emphasising the importance of society over individual interests.

Some other surveys have found a low level of interest in the environment in all six countries, although Croatia and Slovenia ranked better than the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia in them too.

The study noted that expressing concerns about the environment does not guarantee active involvement in protecting it.

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