Civic environmental actions of church attenders

Actions mainly involve events, voting and giving money

In the 2016 NCLS, churchgoers in Australia were asked to indicate any civic actions they had taken regarding the environment, in the last 5 years. Results show limited participation in civic action.

The most common responses, selected by one in five churchgoers or less, were participating in environmental events, voting on the basis of an environment issue, or donating money. Very few attenders reported contacting an elected government member or protesting for the protection of the environment. Over half of churchgoers stated that they had not undertaken any of the civic environmental actions listed.

Environmental events, voting and giving money are most common civic actions

A mild degree of civic environmental action can be seen amongst Australian churchgoers. In 2016, when given a list of 8 options to choose from, one in five churchgoers (20%) indicated they had taken part in an environmental event in the last 5 years. Some 19% of attenders reported voting on the basis of an environment issue and 17% said they had given money to an environmental protection group.

Some 8% had taken part in a conservation activity e.g. Landcare or bush regeneration; 7% had contacted an elected government member and 6% had been a member of an environmental group or movement. Even fewer, just 3%, had taken part in a protest or demonstration to protect the environment.

The majority of churchgoers, over half, stated that they had not undertaken any of the listed civic environmental actions.

One in five attenders took part in an environmental event

The top response selected by Australian church attenders in civic environmental action was taking part in an environmental event such as Earth Hour. This was undertaken by one in five attenders, during the 5 years previous to the 2016 NCLS.

Voting on the environment second most common civic action

The second most common response in civic environmental action was voting in a government election on the basis of an environmental issue, selected by 19% of churchgoers surveyed.

One in six attenders donated money

The third top response in civic environmental action was giving money to a group that aims to protect the environment, nominated by 17%, or one in six, attenders.

Protest for the environment less common

Very few attenders, only 3%, indicated that they had taken part in a protest or demonstration to protect the environment.

With more than half of churchgoers not actively participating in any of the listed civic environmental actions, it seems that churchgoers on the whole are underactive in this area in comparison to consumer environmental activities. The latter showed higher rates of engagement and action, including church attenders reducing their water use and installing solar panels. More information is available in the article Consumer environmental actions of church attenders.

Authors:
Kathy Jacka, Miriam Pepper
Data Sources:

Powell, R. Sterland, S. Pepper, M. and Hancock, N. (2016). 2016 NCLS Attender Survey [Data file]. Sydney: NCLS Research.

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