Promoting Source Reduction Behavior: The Role of Motivational Information
ABSTRACT In a study of the conservation behavior of 103 grocery shoppers in Chelsea, Michigan, an information and prompting strategy was used to test various rationales for adopting source reduction behavior. The experimental intervention consisted of mailing an educational pamphlet to participants. The experimental design included four treatment groups: a control and three others. These three other treatment groups each received a pamphlet giving environmental, economic, or a combination of environmental and economic rationales to reduce waste at the source. From data collected in pre-and postintervention survey instruments, it was shown that both environmental and economic rationales for practicing source reduction led to significant increases in reported source reduction behavior. Additionally, the type of conservation behavior promoted (e.g., toxics use reduction) and the location in which it is practiced (i.e., at home, at a store) were found to have an impact on the success of the interventions. Participants were more likely to adopt home-based source reduction of nontoxics over either store-based activities or activities involving toxics use reduction.
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ABSTRACT: The contributions and merits of an applied behavior analysis approach to encouraging pro- environment behavior are reviewed, along with a discussion of ways behavioral science can play a greater role in protecting the environment. After presenting the most serious threats to the earth's environment, the targets, settings and techniques of the behavioral intervention literature are reviewed. It is argued that behavior analysis can play a greater role in solving environmental problems through (a) reexamination and expansion of intervention targets, (b) increased focus on long-term maintenance of pro-environment behavior, and (c) more effective dissemination of intervention strategies and research findings. In 1970 the first Earth Day served as an activator for behavior analysts to embark on a new challenge. We were reminded that human behavior causes serious damage to the earth's environment and threatens the future of humans and other species. If human behavior is the problem, behavior analysis can offer the technological solutions for turning things around. Behavioral scientists answered the call, and applications of behavior analysis to protect the environment blossomed during the 1970s. During that decade, numerous studies demonstrated the effectiveness of behavioral technology in decreasing environmentally destructive behaviors such as littering, excessive vehicle use, and wasteful consumption of home energy and water. Other field studies focused on increasing pro-environmental behaviors such as carpooling, recycling, litter pick-up, and increasing the use of mass transit (see reviews by Cone & Hayes 1980 and Geller, Winett, & Everett, 1982). Unfortunately, the field that seemed so fruitful and full of promise for crucial social change peaked during the late 1970s and early 1980s. A review of behavioral interventions to preserve the environment during the 1980s revealed 54 published studies of behavior-based interventions to preserve the environment, with an almost linear decline in the number of articles published by year through 1990 (Dwyer, Leeming, Cobern, Porter, & Jackson, 1993). In a 1990 Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis editorial, Geller mourned the decline of the field, reported on the opinions of prominent environmental researchers on why the decline occurred, and optimistically declared the 1990s as "ripe for environmental protection research" (Geller, 1990, p. 273). However, behavioral environmental protection is far from reaching its potential. Although research evaluating behavioral interventions to preserve theBehavior and Social Issues. 03/2005; 13(1).
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ABSTRACT: This study presents an evaluation of a participatory bird census (PBC) project that has been administered to coffee farmers in Colombia. Our objectives were (1) to evaluate the effect of the PBC project on conservation knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of coffee farmers and (2) to learn about the barriers farmers perceive toward adopting conservation practices. We conducted 261 interviews on four groups to control for the effects of involvement with an environmental coffee certification program (Rainforest Alliance—RA) and the PBC project. The four groups were (1) non-PBC participant, non-RA certified; (2) PBC participant, non-RA certified; (3) non-PBC participant, RA certified; and (4) PBC participant, RA certified. PBC participant/RA and PBC participant/non-RA were more knowledgeable about migratory and threatened birds. PBC participant/RA, PBC participant/non-RA, and non-PBC participant/RA groups believed they had the skills to perform bird conservation practices on their farms. A majority of respondents indicated that they were performing bird conservation practices and had positive attitudes toward birds. Farmers believed that lack of environmental awareness and lack of knowledge were the main barriers to perform bird conservation practices. Evaluating participatory programs with Colombian farmers can reveal environmental literacy improvements, but self-reported surveys may not be adequate to ascertain attitude changes and adoption of conservation practices. Direct observations on individual farms would be required to determine the impacts on such outreach efforts. Bird conservation seems popular with Colombian coffee farmers, and outreach programs that give detailed biodiversity management information could help aid bird conservation efforts on coffee farms.Environment Development and Sustainability 01/2013; 15(1).
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