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The importance of values can not be overstated, they shape our intrinsic motivation (Kollmuss, & Agyeman, 2002, p.251). The significance of looking at values allows us to see the inter-workings behind peoples actions. Too often society sees the natural environment as something available for our use, a set of resources to be consumed(Cohen, 2006, p.13). Our system of values causes great environmental destruction, only a change in the priority of our values will allow us to counter this trend. Our western values and American values in particular are very inward looking as a country and individually. People are naturally concerned with what is immediately in front of them. They put their family above their community, their community…show more content…
It could be stated that in this sense we are a victim of our own success in terms of environmental education. More education is needed to provide for a more holistic view of the environmental impact to the larger world. Part of NIMBY is a result of the value of individualism. People showing a lack of empathy for collective good. This can be best viewed with the “tragedy of the commons,” when people hold their own self interest above that of the collective interest of the group. In other contexts the “tragedy of the commons” leads to an over use or depletion of a given resource to the detriment of all. With careful managing of that resource its benefits can be sustained. This management is essential to prevent people from acting in their own self interest. Self interested ties into the free use of private property. Steven Cohen's case study of the Love Canal looks at the storage of toxic waste on private property. It is an issue of don't tell me what to do, I can do what I want on my property. The concept of private property, privacy, and individual freedom are deeply embedded in American culture (Cohen, 2006, p.83). Environmental damage on private property is rarely contained fully and often spreads to other areas. In many ways our environmental policy is reactionary, cleaning up

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