Perceptions of general environmental problems, willingness to expend federal funds on these problems, and concerns regarding the Los Alamos National Laboratory: Hispanics are more concerned than Whites. Academic Article uri icon


  • Perceptions about general environmental problems, governmental spending for these problems, and major concerns about the US Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) were examined by interviewing 356 people attending a gun show in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The hypothesis that there are differences in these three areas as a function of ethnicity was examined. We predicted that if differences existed, they would exist for all three evaluations (general environmental problems, government spending, and environmental concerns about LANL). However, this was not the case; there were fewer ethnic differences concerning LANL. Hispanics rated most general environmental problems higher than Whites and rated their willingness to expend federal funds higher than Whites, although all groups gave a lower score on willingness than on concern. Further, the congruence between these two types of ratings was higher for Hispanics than for others. In general, the concerns expressed by subjects about LANL showed few ethnic differences, and everyone was most concerned about contamination. These data indicate that Hispanics attending a gun show are equally or more concerned than others about environmental problems generally but are not more concerned about LANL. The data can be useful for developing future research and stewardship plans and for understanding general environmental problems and their relationship to concerns about LANL. More generally, they indicate that the attitudes and perceptions of Hispanics deserve increased study in a general population.

publication date

  • June 2004