McNair/Gateway Scholars Program USC

Stephanie Mercado

StephanieMercado.jpg

Major and Classification

Environmental Studies

Faculty Mentor

    Kristen Weiss, Ph.D.

Department

    Environmental Studies

McNair Project

Acculturation and the New Ecological Paradigm: A Case Study of Mexican and Mexican Americans in Fresno, CA

Abstract
The Environmental Movement of the 1960's and 1970's shifted the perceptions of how Americans thought of and interacted with the environment. To measure this new paradigm Riley Dunlap designed the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) to assess the environmental concern exhibited by individuals. The purpose of my study is to examine the relationship between Mexican and Mexican American acculturation and the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) in Fresno, CA. In particular, I assess the environmental concerns of a growing minority group in California. In this study a total of 30 participants completed the NEP survey and the Acculturation survey in the language of their choice, English or Spanish. Results indicate that on average NEP endorsement is positive but weak. The NEP has five categories: limits to growth, antianthropocentrism, fragility of nature's balance, rejection of exceptionalism, and possibility of an ecocrisis. The two lowest endorsement categories were limits to growth and antianthro-pocentrism and the highest endorsement category was the possibility of an ecocrisis. Preliminary findings show that this is consistent with the disassociation between attitudes and beliefs. Even though many respondents believe the possibility of an ecocrisis exists, they are uncertain as to the extent to which human actions are the root cause.