Japanese Foundation Survey Probes Communications Conundrums

A Japanese foundation’s annual environmental questionnaire asks:  How do YOU answer these communications questions? 

Asahi Glass Foundation’s 21st annual global questionnaire seeks input on communications impediments to actions the foundation clearly feels are long overdue. It’s an international environmental attitudes survey now in its 21st year.

So how would YOU answer the questions posed as they relate to communications?

The Tokyo-based Asahi Glass Foundation’s “Questionnaire on Environmental Problems and the Survival of Humankind” seeks the views of what it calls “friends and associates” around the world, and promises to report results on its website this coming September.

The questionnaire, both online and via mail, leaves little doubt about where the Foundation stands: Since the iconic 1992 U.N. Rio conference, it says, there have been “impassioned discussions towards the improvement of the environment.” Those notwithstanding, “Earth’s environment seems to be entirely on a path of deterioration” and not one of improvement. “There are no signs that fundamental actions to encounter environmental problems, like strategies to curb global warming, will move forward.”

It points to “a gradual decline in interest among a portion of the citizenry,” and says a pause and reversal in the Foundation’s “Environmental Doomsday Clock” is a sign not of improvement, but of “a decline in interest, or a resignation that urgent environmental problems may not be solved.”

With its focus in 2012 on obstacles to addressing environmental problems and on nuclear power and the environment, the questionnaire poses questions aimed at shedding light on six issues:

  • problems in communicating information;
  • pursuit of economic profit (human desires);
  • the global economic system;
  • problems in decision-making systems;
  • governance problems; and
  • lack of technical resources.

It asks respondents to identify three of those they consider to be the “most significant impediments.”

On the communications issue specifically, the questionnaire asks for “Strongly agree … Strongly disagree” (and in-between) responses on a dozen specific issues. How would YOU answer these:

1. Information is not sufficiently communicated from scientists and researchers (henceforth: environmental experts) to politicians and strategists (henceforth: policymakers) who are involved in the development of policies.

2. Easily comprehensible information has not been successfully communicated from environmental experts to the public.

3. There are discrepancies among environmental experts in the acknowledgement of environmental problems, weakening the ability of the information to appeal to the public.

4. Environmental experts focus their information communication too heavily upon policymakers, failing to reach the public.

5. Information from environmental experts became confusing with negative campaigning.

6. Policymakers consider environmental problems secondary, disregarding the opinions of environmental experts.

7. Policymakers do not communicate information given by environmental experts to the public.

8. Policymakers deny the very existence of environmental problems.

9. The public does not value the information provided by environmental experts unless disaster occurs in their vicinity.

10. Non-profit organizations put their communications efforts too much on policymakers.

11. Although non-profit organizations exist in close proximity to the public, they have not been effective and the information of environmental experts does not reach the public.

12. A certain level of education is necessary to fully understand information on the global environment, and such environmental education is lacking.

Soooo. How DO you answer these questions, going from a) Strongly disagree, to b) Somewhat disagree, to c) Neither agree nor disagree (I don’t know), to d) Somewhat agree, to e) Strongly agree?

Let us know. And, if you’re so inclined, fill out the questionnaire yourself at the website linked to above. All of us, after all and considering the six degrees of separation, are at some level “friends and associates” on this finite planet we inhabit.

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