When Appreciating Nature Makes One Care Less for Human Beings: The Role of Belief in Just Nature in Helping Victims of Natural Disasters
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The concept that nature is just and that it can act against its perpetrators is widespread among environmentalists. In the research presented, we show the consequences of sharing just-nature beliefs for reactions toward victims of natural catastrophes. A preliminary qualitative analysis of environmentalist discourse related to victims of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster caused by a tsunami showed that just-nature beliefs were used to justify the Japanese tragedy. In the following three quantitative studies, we demonstrate that the belief in just-nature is related to a diminished tendency to help human beings who suffered from natural catastrophes. Two correlation studies conducted directly after the earthquake in Japan in 2011 on members of ecological organizations (N = 183) and undergraduates (N = 123) showed that just-nature beliefs result in a tendency to help by giving donations for reducing the consequences of nature rather than for human victims of the tragedy. The results were replicated in a correlation study of undergraduates (N = 153) conducted after Hurricane Sandy.
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