Shades of Green: Environmental Attitudes in Canada and Around the World


204 pages
ISBN 0-88629-321-9
DDC 363.7




Edited by Alan Frizzell and Jon H. Pammett
Reviewed by Patrick Colgan

Patrick Colgan is the former executive director of the Canadian Museum
of Nature.


Solutions to our environmental problems need to take into account how
the public perceives these problems and what they are prepared to do.
The starting point for the papers in this volume—the second in a
series on international social surveys—is a survey that was conducted
in 22 countries (selected data are summarized in a long appendix). Each
of the book’s seven chapters takes a particular slice, asks certain
questions, examines raw data, employs statistical analyses for
determinants, and provides an interpretation. Although there are tables
of relevant data and analytical results, some figures would have further
enriched the individual chapters.

Inevitably, there is some redundancy among the chapters. As is
commonplace in the social sciences, there are also baffling complexities
and much heterogeneity in the subject matter. Some of the findings are
intriguing. With detail and clarity, Peter Morrison explains how the
Federal Green Plan of the early 1990s failed to match popular
preference. Harold Clarke and Marianne Stewart discuss strong
similarities between Canada and the United States. Canadians will be
gladdened by Tom Smith’s finding that Canada ranks first in terms of
environmental and scientific knowledge, but they will be less pleased by
Jon H. Pammett’s discovery that young Canadians are less willing to
accept cuts in return for measures designed to protect the environment.

While Shades of Green does present some needed investigation, the
formulation of sound policy will require much more. Recommended for
those interested in public opinion and the environment as a policy


“Shades of Green: Environmental Attitudes in Canada and Around the World,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 17, 2024,