DO MESS WITH IT: A Sociopolitical Study of Littering and Role Of Southern and Nearby States (2004)
DO MESS WITH IT!A Sociopolitical Study of Littering and the Role of Southern and Nearby States Master in Public Administration ARP Project (Thesis) by Stephen “Steve” L. Spacek TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY: The William P. Hobby Center For Public Service Fall 2004 (Remastered for Slideshare.net Powerpoint, July 2012) Copyright 2012, Steve Spacek Public Service Consulting. NOT FOR COMMERCIAL USE
ABSTRACTLittering--an environmental crime throughout the United States--creates a danger to public health and safety.Although environmental quality studies single out America’s Southern States as “ having the most befouled”ecological conditions in the nation, experts (through 2004) have done little research on littering’s impingementupon jurisdictional environmental degradation through the use of multivariate statistical analysis. This research istwofold: First is found an examination of social and political mores in regard to state ecological surface degradation,with an emphasis on twelve conventional southern and three nearby “fringe” states exhibiting “southern” culturalcharacteristics. Second, the research examines the impact of salient sociopolitical factors that may influencelittering, through the consequential effects of environmental quality indicators, for the fifty United States.A review of relevant literature, on the American sociopolitical, legal, commercial and governmental activitiesthat both create and curtail litter, focusing on The South and nearby states, is discussed. The review arrives at aconceptual, “real world” framework, identifying noteworthy factors that may lead to statewide environmentaldegradation: geographic location, demographic dynamics, environmental budgetary spending, political cultureand availability of existing litter reducing legislation. These aspects become independent variables,operationalized into testable hypotheses through a multivariate model of regression analysis, with dependentvariables of livability (quality of life) scores, waste disposal tonnage prices, and daily per person waste disposalfor each state.Findings indicate the created regression models were insufficient to support an idea that scores, pricings anddisposal amounts make adequate state-oriented ecological degradation determinants caused by littering.However, findings illustrate a state possessing Southern-style Traditionalistic political culture and/or substantialconcentrations of impoverished residents negatively affect its livability score. The concentration of impoverishedindividuals inside a government influence a chance to have waste disposal prices below national market average,yet, a state that enacts beverage container deposits legislation influence a heightened waste disposal price for thatjurisdiction.
Preface (modified) I was born and raised in and around Houston—The South’s largest and America’s fourth largest populated city, known widelyfor a lack of comprehensive land use planning (no zoning); dependence on both automobiles and poor public transportation; a recenttitle of “Worst Urban Air Pollution in America.” Houston’s located in Texas, known for sharp economic ups and downs, old-fashioned,one-party, conservative political domination (from solid conservative Democrat to solid conservative Republican), and a fiercewillingness by citizens—and historically supported by public officials--to prevent ANY individual and corporate income tax collections. Growing up, I noticed dumped litter all over local roads, parking lots, even public parks and grasslands--seemingly everywhere Iwalked and looked. From traveling to other locales nationwide, I noticed a lack of litter in places outside the South. In time, I tookuniversity courses on campuses in Texas, Wisconsin and North Carolina on the urban environment, Southern history, publicadministration and urban planning. I began to wonder why southerners and Texans took pride to live in litter and filth-inundatedenvironments. I asked myself, “What were the cultural attributes of ‘mother’s’ Scotch-Irish settlers…from the Carolinas to Tennesseeto Texas…and why did they… seem to repress embracement of educational and environmental advancements and a sense for a publicgood, and instead , gave an stereotypical impression of appreciating violence, racial intolerance, sharp “rich-poor” class hierarchiesand stiflingly obedient , “boss-slave” political and economic customs? “Father’s” ethnic group—refugee Czechoslovaks from theAustrian-Hungarian Empire--appeared to have polar opposite cultural traits for a typical, Southern “white” settlers group. They wereorderly; industrious; clean-living; politically progressive; worked for “common public goals.” Early Czech and German immigrants toThe South…most importantly… had a “strong bond” and respect for, the preservation of land. Unlike early Scotch-Irish and most other“whites” who might ruin good land and then migrate onward to other property, Czechs and Germans settling the South and Texasbelieved land was to be recycled and cared for (Gallup-Journey’s, 1998, pp. 6, 8). Their modern-day settlements had little –to-no litteron their public and private spaces, unlike hundreds of other communities across the South and Texas--settled by “other” whites andnon-whites--who seemed, day after day, year after year, to not mind ugly, disease-laden piles of cups, bottles, paper and cardboardblowing along and into streets, sidewalks, yards. In finishing a Masters Degree in Public Administration, I felt I had “a calling” --a mission and ethical duty--to cover the little-discussed topic of littering and dumping, so to benefit a public good, which seemingly both public officials and the public itselfconstantly ignored. I wanted to achieve groundbreaking research and solutions to the region’s littering problem. *The selected title isa takeoff on the “Don’t Mess with Texas” litter prevention slogan]. A hope is that this effort will not just benefit those living in theSouth and in Texas, but the American nation as a whole.
(Introduction) LITTERING:* An American AND Southern Environmental CRIME! * Ugliness Damages Landscapes * Breeds Disease -Causing Rodents and Insects * INJURES and KILLS Wildlife * INJURES and KILLS Humans*LITTERING:Trash/Garbage-Throwing by a Human, in Small or Moderate Portions, Onto Surfacesof Public or Private Property. Littering is ILLEGAL in ALL 50 states. Sources: AAA, Bisbort; “City Image;” Dodge; Geller, Witmer and Tuso in McAndrew; Kentucky; National Institute; U.S. Federal Highway Administration; Williams in Kentucky.
Purpose of Research:* Examine Social and Political Mores BehindState Environmental Degradation,Emphasizing Southern and Nearby States* Examine Salient Sociopolitical FactorsInfluencing Littering Through EnvironmentalQuality Indicators For Fifty U. S. States
Identifying the South and Southerners: Regional Highlights• Focus on 12 Conventional Southern States and Three Nearby States• Negatively-Viewed by Scholars for Long-Term Social, Political and Environmental Processes• Singled-Out by Researchers for Nation’s Worst Quality-of-Life and Public Health Indicators• Despite Racial Diversity, Still Experiences Less Schooling, Income, Voting Turnouts and Life Expectancies Than Other Diverse Regions• “Cultural and Political Maladies” Leave Its Air, Water, Land “Most Befouled in the U.S.” Sources: Boyce; Bullard; Cochran A.; Key in Cochran A.; U.S. Department of Justice-Law.
Humans and LitterLitter IS:* A Form of Solid Waste* Most Common Littered Items in The South: Beverage Containers, Cigarette Butts,Fast Food Wrappers* Profiled Litterers: Youths, Males, Smokers, Partiers, Fast-Food Consumers,Recreationists, Motorists, Construction Workers, Sports EnthusiastsWhy People Litter?1) Litter “Begets” Litter2) Personal Apathy3) Inconvenience4) Entitlement5) Class Alienation/Non-Education/Generational6) Government-allowed Neglect: For the first time, scholarly-questioned and provedwith evidence! Sources: Bisbort; “City Image,” Environmedia Litter; Kentucky; McAndrew; Murphy; National Institute; Ockels; Shireman, McFadden, Newdorf and Noga; U.S. Department of Justice-Law.
Literature Review Highlights: Anti-Environmental Sentiment and the Sociopolitical South* “God’s Will” Belief To “…Bend Nature to (meet) Human Will…”* Tolerance For “Culture of Honor” Violence--Might Makes Right* Commitment to Rash Agriculture Compliant with Hot, Sunny Climatic Conditions* Local And State Governmental Support of Unregulated Land Affairs* Corporations “Buyout” Communities, Destroying Local, Pristine Natural Resources* Ecologically-Damaging Jobs A Tradeoff For Local, State Economic Development* “Colonialism” Creates Class Mistrust Preventing Uplifting Quality-of-Life for All* “Elitist” Traditionalistic Political Culture Creates Selfish, Corrupt Government “Antics”* Anti-“Public Good” Sector: “Antics” Result of Business-Owned Public Officials, Citizen Exclusion Sources: Bullard; Cochran, A.; Cochran N. and Chadwick in Nisbett and Cohen; Elazar; Feagin and Feagin in Bullard; Fritsch; Hightower; Jarboe-Russell; Melosi in Wilson C. and Ferris; Neal; Nisbett and Cohen; Pillsbury in Wilson C. and Ferris; Sussman, Daynes and West; White in McAndrew; Wilson C. and Ferris.
Litter Source Reduction EffortsEssential and Mandated* Laws, Ordinances, Slogans* Law Enforcement/Prosecutions/Penalties/Incarcerations* Physical Removals/Cleanups* Recycling* Taxation* Container DepositsVoluntary and Endorsed* Slogans* Physical Removals/Cleanups* Organizations* Recycling* Container Deposits Sources: Bisbort; Environmedia Litter; Garbage; Geller in McAndrew; Grasmick, Bursik and Kensey in McAndrew; Grassy in Garbage; Kentucky; McAndrew; Melosi; Miller G. in McAndrew; Murphy; National Center-”Examine”-Consider Control; National Center, “Review Laws”-Description; Ockels; Poore in Garbage; Reich and Robinson in McAndrew; Schlossberg; Shireman, McFadden, Newdorf and Noga; U. S. Department of Justice, National-Environmental, Laws.
Methodology To Explain An Outcome of Statewide Environmental Degradation Through Littering, An Association BetweenExclusive, Noteworthy Sociopolitical Factors [INDEPENDENT VARIABLES] and Environmental Quality Indicators [DEPENDENT VARIABLES] Is Studied Using Accessible Aggregated Data, Processed Through A Highly Reliable, Easily Replicable, Mathematical Formula of Multiple Regression. Sources: Babbie; Bingham and Felbinger.
Unit of Analysis: The Fifty American States * Each State: Regarded As A Separate “Political-Geographic Unit” * Sampling Frame and Population Excludes District of Columbia, U.S. Territories Particular Focus On:* Twelve Standard Southern States: VA, TX, FL, NC, LA, SC, MS, KY, AL, TN, AR, GA* Three Nearby “Fringe” States: WV, OK, NM Sources: Babbie; Council of State Governments; U. S. Department of Commerce; U.S. Census-”Annual.
Because States Lack Uniform Litter Abatement Data,Three Dependent Variables Were Created to Approximate A Litter Measure Three Dependent Variables: * State Livability Scores * Waste Disposal Pricings By State * Per Capita Waste Disposal Poundages By State Sources: Morgan and Morgan; U. S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census-”Annual;” Waste News.
Representing Special Sociopolitical Measurements, Nine Independent Variables Created to Explain Each of the Three Dependent Variables Nine Independent Variables * State Type (“Southern/Nearby” and “Not Southern/Not Nearby”) * Percent Non-White Population By State * Percent of State Population Living Below Poverty Line * Percent of State Registered Voters Actually Voting * Percent of State Budget Spending On Environmental Concerns * Sharkansky’s Political Culture Score Scale * States With/Without Comprehensive Recycling Laws * States With/Without Beverage Container Laws * States With/Without Litter Taxation Sources: Council of State Governments; Grassy in Garbage; Koven and Mausloff; National Center; National Solid in Strong; Norusis; Shireman, McFadden, Newdorf and Noga; U.S. Department of Commerce-National Oceanic, U. S. Census-Statistical.
Results❶ A State possessing Southern-Style Traditionalistic Political Culture and/or large numbers ofImpoverished People negatively affects its Livability (Quality of Life) Score.❷ A State with substantial numbers of Impoverished People influences below-marketWaste Disposal Prices within its boundaries.❸ A State sanctioning Container Deposits slightly induces above-market Waste Disposal Priceswithin its boundaries. INDEPENDENT VARIABLES DEPENDENT VARIABLES State Livability Score State Waste Disposal $ State Per Capita Waste Poundage State Type NO SUPPORT NO SUPPORT NO SUPPORT % Non-White NO SUPPORT NO SUPPORT NO SUPPORT % Below Poverty SUPPORT SUPPORT NO SUPPORT % Actually Voting NO SUPPORT NO SUPPORT NO SUPPORT % Environmental $ NO SUPPORT NO SUPPORT NO SUPPORT Political Culture SUPPORT NO SUPPORT NO SUPPORT Recycling States NO SUPPORT NO SUPPORT NO SUPPORT Deposit States NO SUPPORT SUPPORT WEAK SUPPORT Litter Tax States NO SUPPORT NO SUPPORT NO SUPPORT
Conclusion and Recommendations --“Changing Attitudes” Influences a Solution To Littering And ALL Environmental Degradation in The South and Across America --Future “Poorly-Probed” Litter Research Can Look AtHealth, Demographic, Psychological Variables to Enhance Southern Ecological Quality Policy Recommendations--DEPENDENT Variables: *Reduce Poverty Rates *More Sexual/Ethnic Governmental Diversity *Raise Minority Voter Turnouts *Increase Educational Attainment *Increase Disposed Waste Market Prices *Stronger Monitoring Disposal Firms *Legislate Container Deposits * Encourage Household Garbage Reduction Policy Recommendations-INDEPENDENT Variables:*Anti-Litter Campaigns Appeal To State Pride *Anti-Litter Campaigns Target Non-whites, Hispanics *Reduce Poverty Rates *Raise Young Adult, Hispanic Voter Turnouts *More State Ecological Protection Funds *Ecological Legislation “Woos” Conservatives*Push Recycling’s Fiscal/Source Reduction Benefits *Push Beverage Deposits Benefits/Popularity *Push Taxation’s Benefits, Multi-State Success
DO MESS WITH IT! Copyright 2012, Steve Spacek Public Service Consulting. NOT FOR COMMERCIAL USE.For actual Independent and Dependent Variable data used in this project, please see the followingARP/THESIS website—a copyrighted property of Texas State University:https://digital.library.txstate.edu/bitstream/handle/10877/3763/fulltext.pdfFor updates and professional commentaries on surface environmental conditions of America’s 50 statesby Steve Spacek, please see The American State Litter Scorecard website:www.statelitterscorecard.bellstike.com