Incidents such as the Japanese Nuclear Meltdowns and the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico remind us that environmental issues can be central to activating political activity and influencing political opinions. While the literature suggesting a relationship between environmental risk and action is extensive, few scholars directly examine the relationship between perceived environmental threat and political behavior, and even fewer adopt research designs appropriate for making causal inferences. Building on a growing literature in political psychology that examines the effects of crises and emotions on political opinions, we examine the relationship between environmental threat and political behavior using both survey data and a lab experiment. Our results suggest that perceptions of threat can activate political and environmental behavior. Our research contributes to scholarship on environmental risk, as well as a growing body of research on the ways in which threat impact political behavior and attitudes.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mirya_holman/17/