Investigating Orchard Men's Behavioral Intentions of Dashtestan County toward Water Conservation Using Stern Value-Belief-Norm Theory

Document Type : علمی


Ramin Agriculture and Natural Resources University of Khuzestan


Extended abstract
One of the most pressing issues facing the world today is the conservation and preservation of natural resources. According to a comprehensive study done by business, government, and academic experts in the United States, Japan, and western and central Europe, no other issue rated higher in priority than the environment. Similarly, in a study commissioned by the Environment Protection Authority in third world countries, the environment was predicted to become the most important issue for governments within the next decade. Just recently, the United Nations set up the Commission on Sustainable Development to monitor the progress of nation states relative to key environmental issues, including concerns over greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, soil degradation, and dramatic shifts in climatic conditions. Each of these conditions has put additional pressure on existing natural resources, especially on the world’s water supply. Population increases, problems from water pollution, endangered aquatic ecosystems, and irrigated agriculture all have contributed to a greater imbalance between supply and demand of quality water sources, particularly in the arid and semi-arid areas.
Iran with an arid and semi-arid geographic specification is located in southwest Asia. The normal annual average of precipitation is 250 mm. The geographic and climatic variation of the country is very extensive. The sum of annual water resources is estimated 135×109 m3, the consumption rate in the three main sectors are as follows: 1- Domestic urban consume sector: five percent (5%) 2- Industrial sector: twenty percent (20%) 3-Agricultural sector: ninety-three percent (93%).Three decades ago, before 1970, because of low population, agricultural nature and low rate of urban population, water supply was not considered as a critical problem of the country. Since 1980, a rapid population growth as well as rapid economic change has led to significant agricultural and industrial development and consequently increasing urban population. Consequently, dramatic changes have been encountered in water demand, as water demand has been increased very rapidly in different sectors in agriculture, industry and urban services.
Given the realities of Iran's climate, and the fact that demand for water is increasing at a rate that is outstripping traditional supply sources, water conservation strategies which should decrease the demand for water have to be considered as priority measures, particularly in the aagricultural water consumption sector. In this regard, there are various methods for conservation and sustainable behavior. For example, we can refer to the use of tools' price and voluntary behavior. However, many specialists believe that the voluntary approaches are very more sustainable and more effective than tools' price, especially in the sector of agricultural water use.
Regarding usage of water, the agricultural sector is the main consumer of freshwater (around 90 to 93 percent) and the most important actors involved in the implementation of environmental and nature conservation measures are farmers. But at the same time farmers are characterized as primarily utilitarian, causing misuse of the Natural resources such as water. So, the basic question is “how” farmers can be encouraged to accept water conservation as important and implement it effectively through voluntary action?
Stern’s value - belief - norm - theory is an attempt to link assumptions of the NAT to findings about the relation between general values, environmental beliefs and behavior. It assumes that intentions and environmental behavior are determined directly by personal norms, which is based on the NAT. Stern additionally assumes that these personal norms have to be activated by ascription of responsibility and awareness of consequences. However, he ranks them into a causal chain where awareness of consequences is a necessary prerequisite of ascription of responsibility. Awareness of consequences according to the VBN is related to a general eco logical worldview, which is measured by the New Environmental Paradigm. Although the new environmental paradigm is often used as a measure for general environmental attitudes, its function in the VBN theory is not that of an attitude, but rather that of a link between value orientations and personal norms.
In this research, data have been collected with questionnaire and through survey research, and its validity was proved by comments recived from professors and specialists. Its reliability was confirmed through the study guide to. The population consisted of gardeners in Dashtestan city in Boushehr province. The study site is a semi-arid and drought-prone area in the south of Iran, on the shores of the Persian Gulf. Using multistage random sampling technique, 300 individual gardeners were selected in Dashtestan.
This study investigated the relationship between research variables using Pearson correlation coefficient. Results show that behavioral intentions variable has a positive and significant relationship with the altruistic value orientation (r= 0.13), the biospheric value orientation (r= 0.20), the ecological worldview (r= 0.20), the knowledge of the consequences (r= 0.49), the attribution of responsibility (r= 0.48) and the moral norm (r= 0.68). Also, the results of regression analysis showed that biospheric value orientation is about 05.0 percent of the ecological worldview, ecological worldview is about 12.0 percent of the knowledge of the consequences, knowledge of the consequences is about 14.0 percent of attribution of responsibility, attribution of responsibility is about 25.0 percent of the moral norms, and moral norms are about 46.0 percent of the variance of behavioral intention towards water conservation in a significant level.
The results showed that a continuous ranging from the biospheric value orientation, the environmental beliefs (ecological worldview, knowledge of the consequences, attribution of responsibility) and moral norms, gardener's behavioral intentions explains than water conservation. This means that the biospheric value orientation directly and significantly has impact on gardeners' environmental beliefs. Environmental beliefs and moral norms are directly affected. And moral norms directly and significantly affect behavioral intention of gardeners (R2 = 46.0).


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