SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: DISCOURSE ON ENVIRONMENTAL VALUES IN LATVIA
Keywords:values, sustainable development, environmental awareness, history
The paper deals with the dynamics of the discourse on environmental values in Latvia basing upon traditional emotional attitudes towards nature in the Latvian culture, changes in environmental values in comparison with the dynamics of other values of the Latvian public, and the role of the discourse on environmental issues in the formation of civil society in Latvia. The dynamics of the public attitudes towards ecological problems and the discourse on environmental values is presented on the basis of the historical information, as well as the data of the World Values Survey and the research performed by the Latvian Public Opinion Research Centre SKDS. The factual material mostly covers the period of the last twenty years.
First of all the paper reflects traditional attitudes of the Latvians towards nature and environmental values, which go deep into the Latvian culture. These traditions are widely represented in the Latvian folklore, and the paper provides a brief overview thereof. Further, the paper offers the comparison of environmental and other values in the opinion of the Latvian public on the basis of the abovementioned studies. Finally, the paper provides the analyses of the role of environmental values in the formation of civil society in the Latvian context, where environmental values are viewed as a mobilising factor for social and political activities of the public.
The article is aimed at the provision of an overview of historical information and research materials on the dynamics of environmental discourse in Latvia.
The analysis of historical and literary sources and research materials related to the subject matter of the paper, and the comparative analysis of quantitative data of surveys have been used as the methods of this paper.Topicality of the paper resides in the fact that modern society faces various conscious and unconscious risks, and in this context the activities aimed at the provision of long-term sustainable development are of great importance, which is impossible without the formation of environmental discourse. Therefore, it is essential to provide an in-depth analysis of changes taking place in the environmental values and opinions of general public towards ecological issues in order to enable proper response to these transformations on the part of decision-makers, as the society should be educated and informed properly to enhance the development of its ecological consciousness.