Climate change is a significant global risk that is predicted to be particularly devastating to coastal communities. Climate change adaptation and mitigation have been hindered by many factors, including psychological barriers, ineffective outreach and communication, and knowledge gaps. This qualitative study compares an expert model of climate change risks to county administrators' “mental” models of climate change and related coastal environmental hazards in Crystal River, Florida, USA. There were 24 common nodes in the expert and the combined non-expert models, mainly related to hurricanes, property damage, and economic concerns. Seven nodes mentioned by non-experts fit within, but were not a part of, the expert model, primarily related to ecological concerns about water quality. The findings suggest that effective climate outreach and communication could focus on compatible parts of the models and incorporate local concerns to find less controversial ways to discuss climate-related hazards.
Communication and Education
The design of interactive applications for online communication is an ongoing area of research within technical communication. This study reports on the development of an interactive sea-level rise (SLR) viewer, a data visualization tool that communicates about the potential effects of SLR along coastlines. It describes the formative evaluation of a location-specific SLR viewer created via integral stakeholder engagement. Participants performed a series of tasks, answered questions about the tool's usability and communicative effectiveness, and made suggestions for ways to improve its application to desired tasks. The authors discuss the implications of this study for visual risk communication and make recommendations for others developing similar interactive data visualization tools with audience input.
This research was conducted in the southeastern United States, one of the most rapidly developing regions in the country. The study included two sets of predictor variables: environmental experiences and perceptions (i.e., observation of pollution and assessment of pollution’s impact) and residential factors (i.e., rural vs. urban residence and upstream vs. downstream watershed location); sociodemographic characteristics served as control variables. Sequential regression was performed on survey data of watershed residents to isolate the predictors of environmentalism. Observation of pollution and assessment of pollution’s impact on water quality were most important for explaining environmental concern, self-reported household-based behaviors, and self-reported likelihood of engaging in water quality improvement efforts. The sociodemographic variables were also significant predictors; the residential variables had limited influence on the dependent variables. These results indicate that stormwater educators should account for experiential factors and perceptions of pollution when designing strategies for encouraging environmentalism.
South American coastal habitats include a wide range of benthic ecosystems, many of which are unique and constitute hotspots of biodiversity. Marine protected areas (MPAs), instituted mostly during the second half of the twentieth Century, are considered a key management tool to conserve regional biodiversity, prevent overexploitation, and generate economic benefits. Educational actions to promote changes in basic values, principles, and attitudes – although considered also as a main objective – frequently have a poor conceptual basis. In conjunction with the evaluation of their effectiveness by long-term, site-based ecological and socio-economic research, in Brazil MPAs are aiming to implement a holistic approach. This will allow the development and testing of environmental practices that integrate ecology, economy, ethics, and conflict resolution in the different uses of marine space. However, ecological long-term studies, socio-economic long-term evaluation, and the integration of education and ethics are still incipient. With the recent creation of some independent networks in different South American countries related to the assessment of biological communities, marine biologists of this continent are now focusing more on: (1) sharing methodologies and data to allow comparative and integrated continental analyses, and (2) integrating social components, including not only economic but also ethical values and participatory approaches. Toward this aim, the Chilean Long Term Socio- Ecological Research network (LTSER-Chile) has developed a Field Environmental Philosophy program that could be adapted to MPAs educational programs, and also contribute to the integration of ecology and ethics in theory and praxis for an Earth Stewardship initiative.
Environmental Education for Sustainable Societies and Global Responsibility (EESS) is aimed at transforming society and its negative impacts on the environment by way of financial and political emancipation, whence ecotourism becomes one of the best options towards environmental sustainability. This study aimed at evaluating social actors' conceptions on Environmental Education and ecotourism, in order to base the development of future marine-ecotourism activities in the Marine Environmental Protection Area of Armação de Búzios (MEPAAB). Sampling involved 73 respondents interested in the implementation of marine ecotourism in the area. Their concepts, as regards ecotourism and EESS, were analyzed according to individual profiles. The sample was mainly composed of Argentine and Brazilian tourists from the cities of Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, when visiting MEPAAB. Since most of the concepts were limited to environmental conservation and public awareness, these were considered entirely or not entirely adequate. The results could not be significantly associated with the age of respondents or any other factor (Kruskal-Wallis, p>0.05). The concept of ecotourism was the better known. Even so, significant differences were observed only among the different classes by income. There were clear indications of the urgent application of EESS in the coastal environment, as a plausible management tool for the littoral municipalities of Rio de Janeiro State.
There is an open question among conservation practitioners regarding whether using flagship specifies to market marine conservation is less effective than using terrestrial species in the terrestrial context. A flagship species is a species selected to act as an ambassador, icon, or symbol for a defined habitat, issue, campaign, or environmental cause. A mascot species has many of the same attributes as a flagship species, but is selected for its communications value instead of its ecological value. Our research indicates that mascot species can be as effective a marketing tool for marine conservation as they have been for terrestrial conservation. Based on our study, there is no evidence that the use of marine mascot species or that confront threats based on fishing and harvesting of aquatic resources perform any differently from other social marketing campaigns that address terrestrial issues.
MPAs and stakeholder education are marine conservation cornerstones, but data to assess adherence to regulations and the success of educational methods are missing. Local MPAs have been established to protect inter-tidal mudflats and shore users from bait collection which is a contentious worldwide issue. Video cameras monitored activity and confirmed if collectors adhered to the rules at three UK sites with different MPA systems. An educational approach (a voluntary code leaflet) was also assessed through stakeholder discussion and observation. Fareham Creek and Dell Quay supported a considerable number of collectors with none observed at Pagham Harbour. At Fareham Creek bait dug areas were evident in discrete patches in unprotected and protected areas, but observed collectors mainly used the latter. The failure to exclude collectors is due to the lack of enforcement. At Dell Quay virtually all dug areas were outside protected areas and was confirmed by the camera footage. Success is attributed to regular on-the-ground ‘unofficial’ enforcement by the managing NGO. Of the retailers, 75% had heard of the code and the majority stated they followed it. However, none of the 26 collectors observed followed a key rule (e.g. backfilling holes). Local marine conservation is relatively cheap and can be effective, but only if: management matches the actual pressure; scientific evaluation for all components (including education) is integrated from the beginning; adequate site enforcement is included; education methods are active, two-way and sustained.
The Internet provides a unique opportunity for scientists to be in direct contact with the public in order to promote citizens’ scientific literacy. Recently, Internet users have started to spend most of their online time on social networking sites (SNS). Knowledge of how these SNSs work as an arena for interaction, as well as for the development of scientific literacy, is important to guide scientists’ activities online, and to be able to understand how people develop knowledge of science. This was evaluated by scrutinizing the Facebook page of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the consequences for users’ ocean literacy. We investigated which practices could increase the number of users reached by a Facebook story. We also found that Facebook pages do not offer the appropriate social context to foster participation since it has only a few of the features of an arena where such practices could develop.
- Most of the people working in the field of marine protection share a common goal: that decision-makers, stakeholders, and the public should see marine protection as a priority and dedicate a portion of their attention and resources to it, making decisions and taking actions that reflect the value of marine protection to ecological and human well-being.
- If this goal is to be achieved, the field of marine protection needs to embrace the field of communication in a more concerted manner.
- This paper outlines some of the latest trends, principles and issues relevant to communication in marine protection and illustrates these with a range of examples. Some of the key themes emerging from this review are discussed.
- A number of strategies for strengthening the role of communications are discussed, including means for those involved in marine protection communications to connect with each other, increased testing and sharing of examples, the use of grounded theory methods to continuously define lessons and principles, and ways to increase coordination between marine protection organizations.
- It is the intention that this paper will mark the beginning of a stronger cross-disciplinary field of study, and that such a field will in turn advance marine protection locally and globally.
- Readers can contribute to this goal and emerging field by connecting with each other around strategies, ideas and examples.
In 2011, the global human population reached 7 billion and medium variant projections indicate that it will exceed 9 billion before 2045. Theoretical and empirical perspectives suggest that this growth could lead to an increase in the likelihood of adverse events (e.g., food shortages, climate change, etc.) and/or the severity of adverse events (e.g., famines, natural disasters, etc.). Several scholars have posited that the size to which the global population grows and the extent to which this growth increases the likelihood of adverse outcomes will largely be shaped by individuals’ decisions (in households, organizations, governments, etc.). In light of the strong relationship between perceived risk and decision behaviors, it is surprising that there remains a dearth of empirical research that specifically examines the perceived risks of population growth and how these perceptions might influence related decisions. In an attempt to motivate this important strand of research, this article examines the major risks that may be exacerbated by global population growth and draws upon empirical work concerning the perception and communication of risk to identify potential directions for future research. The article also considers how individuals might perceive both the risks and benefits of population growth and be helped to better understand and address the related issues. The answers to these questions could help humanity better manage the emerging consequences of its continuing success in increasing infant survival and adult longevity.