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Environmental policies to deal with global problems like climate change must be global and some form of environmental valuation at the international level would be a very useful input into decision making. However, such a valuation is likely to be so difficult that we need to consider whether it is possible at all. The purpose of this paper was to investigate how people in different socioeconomic settings and different countries view and value a number of environmental issues. We set out to see how people in widely different settings would rank different “environmental problems”. The study was performed simultaneously in countries from four continents; Botswana, Brazil, Kenya, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden and Uganda. The sample of countries varies by income, population growth, social indicators such as literacy and environmental resources. We found that most of the respondents were reasonably aware of environmental issues and there is a similar group of issues that dominates the environmental agenda in practically all the countries. There is for instance agreement on the fact that water and air pollution as well as waste management are important issues. Issues such as climate change, forest loss and the spread of toxic substances were also considered important in practically all countries. The results have proven to be reasonably in line with what might be expected.


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