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If We Build It, People Will Want to Help: The Management of Citizen Participation in Conservation Psychology.

Human Ecology Review (Impact Factor: 0.92). 01/2003; 10(2):162-163.

ABSTRACT When envisioning how conservation psychology might progress, three themes emerge: 1. Use multiple motives. People participate for many reasons, and conservation psychology should use them all. Significant among these is self interest, including human fascination with problem-solving, the drive to broaden our competence, the clarity gained from direct action, and the sense of purpose derived from meaningful work. Whatever else conservation psychology uses to motivate participation, it can leverage the effect by also working with (rather than against) these various forms of self-interest. We will increase citizen involvement when we are sensitive to the multiple goals people strive for, creating settings that allow for simultaneous pursuit of these goals within the constraint of sustainability. 2. Capitalize on local knowledge. Useful knowledge is not exclusively held by researchers and practitioners. The knowledge held by citizens is no less applicable than ours. In fact, their competence with regard to local issues can exceed ours. For conservation psychology to progress we need to understand that undervaluing local knowledge will impede our goal of sustainability. 3. Anticipate lifelong participation. People are motivated to participate long after we have done our job and left. People have lifelong involvement in whatever changes are made to their behavior and environment. Therefore conservation psychology must design interventions that expect to be modified and adapted. In fact, we need designs that take advantage of the tendency in humans to tinker with their world.

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