facebook twitter Linkedin Email

Lamar University professor publishes study on public influence on environmental policy

Dr. Qingjiang Yao, associate professor of communication at Lamar University, recently published a study relating public influence and environmental policy making. The study was published in the online journal, Yao“Environmental Systems and Decisions,” Oct. 17.

Yao’s article addresses how modern forms of communication impact the relationship between the government and the public relating to environmental issues. The article presents the question: “Is the public, who does not have much education on environmental issues as a whole, capable of making substantial contributions to the process of environmental policy making?”

Yao said the purpose of the study was twofold. “First, we tested the relationship between two popular theories of media effects research (agenda-setting and framing) and partially tested a five-level, integrated model of media effects research (agenda-setting and framing) and then we also tested the dynamics among the president, the media and the public in environmental discourses,” said Yao.

This study also reviews how public opinion contributed to the passing and modification of environmental laws, agreements and policies such as the Kyoto Protocol, the Clean Air Act of 1970.

Yao’s research through tests, surveys and documents, concludes that when interest groups lobby Congress for new laws, and pollsters find public opinion supporting the new laws, Congress goes along.

“The public still shows an influence on the attitude of the media, which further influences the attitude of the president,” said Yao. “The results suggest the public should use the media to communicate its attitude toward environmental issues and move those issues forward.”

The study is highly insightful and provides information on how Americans can influence policymakers in taking environmentally conscious steps as a country. Please find the article at the following link: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10669-019-09746-y.