Wind power or uranium mine: Appraisal of two energy-related environmental changes in a local context
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This study explores factors associated with the individual's appraisal of anticipated environmental changes caused by energy production facilities. The study took place in a Swedish village where exploratory drilling, that could eventually lead to a uranium mine, was being conducted at the same time as a wind farm was approved. Results from the survey, which included the total population, were interpreted in the light of cognitive stress theory. Most residents thought that the wind farm would have a positive impact on the village but that the uranium drilling would have a negative impact; these opinions were closely related to attitudes towards wind and nuclear power. Perceiving the wind farm as positive was further predicted by young age, high education, being an ordinary rather than a committed recycler and having attended a meeting about the wind farm. A negative view of uranium drilling was predicted by the individual valuing closeness to nature, being a recycler, and having attended the uranium meeting. Psychological factors such as concerns for the environment (manifested as pro-environmental behaviour), valuing closeness to nature, and involvement impinge on the appraisal process and should be considered when new developments are presented. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.