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Using Cognitive Dissonance to Communicate with Hypocrites About Water Conservation and Climate Change

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Journal of Applied Communications
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Using Cognitive Dissonance to Communicate with
Hypocrites About Water Conservation and
Climate Change
Melissa R. Taylor
University of Florida
Alexa J. Lamm
University of Florida
Lisa K. Lundy
University of Florida
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Using Cognitive Dissonance to Communicate with Hypocrites About
Water Conservation and Climate Change
Abstract
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Keywords
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Cover Page Footnote/Acknowledgements
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Using Cognitive Dissonance to Communicate with Hypocrites
About Water Conservation and Climate Change
Introduction
Despite near unanimity about the existence of climate change from the science community,
the United State’s public opinion varies between those who believe to those who deny its
existence (Donner & McDaniels, 2013). Scientists have confirmed that climate change is real, it
is happening now, and humans are primarily to blame (Liu, Vedlitz, Stoutenborough, &
Robinson, 2015). Research has shown individual attitudes about climate change are influenced
by many factors including personal values, political ideology, current events, media coverage
and risk perception (Donner & McDaniels, 2013). The discrepancy between public opinion and
scientific evidence has generated concern given the public makes everyday choices about their
use of natural resources including water, which is affected a great deal by climate change (Guy,
Kashima, Walker, & O’Neill, 2014). While the planet warms, the hydrological cycle will
intensify causing wet regions to get even wetter and dry regions drier (Famiglietti, 2016). The
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2013) is highly confident that the contrast between
wet and dry regions and wet and dry seasons will increase over most of the world.
Areas affected by drought have become the most concerning. In the last decade, there has
been an increased interest and attention towards water security, reflected in the numerous
publications, research, and funding initiatives focused on the topic (Bakker, 2012; Cook &
Bakker, 2012; Pahl-Wstol, Gupta, & Bhaduri, 2016; UNESCO-IHE, 2009; World Economic
Forum, 2011). It has been predicted that by 2050 one-third of all U.S. counties will face water
scarcity (Spencer & Altman, 2010). The length and location of droughts have increased due to
climate change and this trend is projected to continue into the future (Burke, Brown, &
Christidis, 2006). In addition, global demands on water continue to rise due to population
increases, agricultural needs, and industrial demands (Kingsolver, 2010). Water supports human
life, sustains the ecological balance, and supports economic activities around the world
(Hurlimann, Dolnicar, & Meyer, 2009), therefore it must be protected. People can witness the
direct effect climate change has on water, therefore water issues associated with climate change
are garnering a great deal of public attention.
Unfortunately, the scientific community has not fully and effectively communicated the
science behind climate change and its link to water resources to the general public (Liu, Smith, &
Safi, 2014). When scientists discuss climate change they are often referring to a set of complex
variables and topical areas which may include ocean levels, temperature, annual rainfall, and
atmospheric pressure (Werndl, 2015) that seem ambiguous to the general public and not
something they directly impact with their behaviors. However, Martinsson and Lundqvist (2010)
found that knowledge levels of climate change did impact their respondents’ attitudes towards
water conservation and guided individual water conservation behavior engagement.
Agricultural communicators have encouraged communities to implement water conservation
solutions for the sake of saving water for the future (Gorham, Lamm, & Rumble, 2014; Lenton
& Muller, 2009; Warner, Rumble, Martin, Lamm, & Cantrell, 2015). However, most water
conservation practices occur at the individual level and understanding factors that lead to
positive water conservation attitudes have proven to be difficult to measure (Lamm, Lamm, &
Carter, 2015; Leal, Rumble, & Lamm, 2015). Communication campaigns focused on future
water supply levels with an emphasis on climate change may assist in the promotion of water
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Taylor et al.: Cognitive Dissonance to Communicate About Water and Climate Change
Published by New Prairie Press, 2017
conservation behaviors necessary to ensure communities have enough water to meet future needs
(Evans et al., 2015). Agricultural communicators may be able to increase engagement in water
conservation behavior engagement by focusing on communicating about climate change, a topic
often overlooked or avoided and not included in water discussions. Therefore, this study sought
to explore the connection (or disconnect) between public beliefs and attitudes about water
conservation and knowledge and beliefs regarding climate change to guide the development of
effective communication campaigns focused on water conservation.
Conceptual Framework and Literature Review
The theory of cognitive dissonance suggests individuals tend to feel uncomfortable when
their behavior and beliefs contradict one and another (Festinger, 1957). Cognitive dissonance
(Festinger, 1957) guided the development of a conceptual framework for this study, which
sought to understand the disconnect between individuals holding a high level of climate change
knowledge and yet not engaging in positive water conservation practices. Martinsson and
Lundqvist (2010) stated ‘the importance of consistency in the environmental field and the
amount of dissonance produced by behaving inconsistently has been found to depend on the
person’s moral standards for environmentally responsible behavior’ (p. 522). Furthermore,
Thogersen (2004) found individuals often self-report dissonant environmental behaviors because
they fail to perceive the relevant similarity between the behaviors (example: buying organic and
recycling). He advocated for communicating to citizens the environmental significance of daily
individual behaviors.
When it comes to climate change people typically begin in a state of disinterest about the
climate and exhibit little or no interest in changing their behavior (Markowitz & Doppelt, 2009).
This tends to be caused by a lack of information and the idea that individual behaviors will do
little to mitigate the global situation (Markowitz & Doppelt, 2009). Providing individuals with
knowledge about climate change, and emphasizing their personal role, may enable them to make
the decision most suitable to their beliefs and behaviors. Based on previous research
‘environmental choices are not reflective of a general conservation stance, but are instead made
on an activity-to-activity basis’ (Picket, Kangun, & Gorve, 1993, p. 240). Additionally, studies
have shown cognitive dissonance can produce behavior that is environmentally friendly (Aitken,
McMahon, Wearing, & Finlayson, 1994).
A conceptual framework was introduced by Martinsson and Lundqvist (2010) that identified
individuals who practiced green habits and whether or not those practices correlated with their
attitudes toward the environment. Green habits are defined as behaviors that seek to limit an
individuals’ ecological footprint (Dobson, 2007). Martinsson and Lundqvist (2010) created an
environmental attitudes and behavior quartet. Using this quartet there are four possible
combinations of attitudes and behaviors that can be identified. Two of these groups show
consistent attitudes and behaviors while the remaining exhibit inconsistent patterns leading to
cognitive dissonance. The conceptual framework was adapted to address climate change for this
study and can be seen in Figure 1.
Combinations of climate change knowledge and conservation behavior engagement within
the conceptual framework lead to four theoretical categories of individuals in terms of
environmental attitudes and conservation behaviors: Believers, Diehards, Hypocrites and Coverts
(Martinsson & Lundqvist, 2010). Believers are identified as those who possess high levels of
climate change knowledge and exhibit positive water conservation behaviors. Believers reflect
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DOI: 10.4148/1051-0834.1843
consistency when it comes to their attitudes and behaviors (Martinsson & Lundqvist, 2010). In
this case, Believers trust climate change is happening and is influenced by humans. They also
practice positive water conservation behaviors and actions. Diehards also exhibit consistency
between knowledge and behaviors, however, these individuals hold low levels of knowledge of
climate change and do not exhibit positive water conservation behaviors (Martinsson &
Lundqvist, 2010). Diehards typically act with a disregard towards climate change and water
conservation behaviors.
Conservation Behaviors
Coverts
Individuals holding low levels of climate
change knowledge but exhibit positive
conservation practices
Believers
Individuals holding high levels of
climate change knowledge and exhibit
positive conservation practices
Diehards
Individuals holding low levels of climate
change knowledge and do not exhibit
positive conservation practices
Hypocrites
Individuals holding high levels of
climate change knowledge but do not
exhibit positive conservation practices
Climate Change Knowledge
Figure 1. Climate Change Quartet Conceptual Framework (adapted from Martinsson and
Lundqvist, 2010)
On the other side of the model, there are two categories with inconsistencies between beliefs
and behaviors. One is the Hypocrites. Hypocrites express high levels of climate change
knowledge but do not engage in positive water conservation behaviors. Based on Festinger’s
(1957) theory this group exhibits the highest level of cognitive dissonance. Hypocrisy is not
uncommon in the realm of conservation behavior. This discrepancy can produce behavioral
changes, especially when the relationship between knowledge and behavioral actions is deemed
hypercritical (Dickerson, Thibodeau, Aronson, & Miller, 1992; Rubens, Gosling, Bonaiuto,
Brisbois, & Moch, 2015). Researchers have even purposefully induced hypocrisy in order to
examine its ability to change intentions and behaviors (Aronson, Fried, & Stone, 1991; Priolo et
al., 2016).
The last group is the Coverts that engage in water conservation behaviors but have low levels
of climate change knowledge (Martinsson & Lundqvist, 2010). This last group also exhibits a
high level of cognitive dissonance in relation to their knowledge and behaviors and are most
likely engaging in water conservation behaviors for reasons other than climate change.
Purpose and Research Objectives
The purpose of this study was to explain cognitive dissonance in persons from the general
public who display characteristics and traits of Hypocrites. This knowledge will then be used to
develop agricultural communication initiatives targeted at Hypocrites in order to alter their water
conservation behavior. The research objectives were as follows
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Taylor et al.: Cognitive Dissonance to Communicate About Water and Climate Change
Published by New Prairie Press, 2017
Research Objective 1:
Describe Hypocrites knowledge of climate change.
Research Objective 2:
Describe Hypocrites perception of climate change.
Research Objective 3:
Describe Hypocrites level of engagement in water conservation behaviors.
Research Objective 4:
Identify the sources Hypocrites use to get information about water issues.
Methods
The research presented here was part of a larger research project with four sections germane
to the objectives of the study. The researchers used a web-based survey to collect data that
included several elements from already existing, reliable instruments including the Canadian
water attitudes survey (Patterson, 2012) and the American Knowledge of Climate Change survey
(Leiserowitz, Smith, & Marlon, 2010). The latter survey was used in Yale’s 2010 Climate
Change Communication report: Americans’ Knowledge of Climate Change (Leiserowitz et al.,
2010).
To measure levels of climate change knowledge test consisting of eleven statements where
respondents were asked to indicate whether each statement was true or false was utilized. This
scale originated from the American Knowledge of Climate Change survey (Leiserowitz et al.,
2010) found to be reliable in the literature with coefficients ranging from .72 to .86. For every
correct answer, the respondents were given a score of one and an incorrect answer was given a
zero. The responses were summed to create an overall climate change knowledge score ranging
from zero to 11 (M = 7.30 SD = 2.43). Reliability was calculated ex post facto using a Guttman
split-half test resulting in a reliability coefficient of .70.
To identify perspectives on climate change, respondents were asked to select which of the
three statements they personally believed: (a) climate change is happening now, caused mainly
by human activities, (b) climate change is happening now, caused mainly by natural forces, and
(c) climate change is NOT happening. This question was adapted from the American Knowledge
of Climate Change survey by Leiserowitz et al. (2010) and reported descriptively.
To measure water conservation behavior engagement, respondents were asked to respond to
two sets of statements. These statements originated from the Canadian water attitudes survey
(Patterson, 2012). The first set contained 10 statements pertaining to water conservation
activities where respondents were asked to indicate how often they engaged in each behavior on
a five-point Likert scale ranging from 1 = Never, 2 = Almost never, 3 = Sometimes, 4 = Almost
every time, and 5 = Every time. Example statements included: ‘I shower for no more than five
minutes each time I bathe,’ ‘I let my sprinklers run when it has rained or is raining,’ and ‘I allow
used motor oil to run down a storm drain.’ The second set contained six statements asking
respondents to indicate if they engaged in water conservation behaviors by answering ‘yes’or
‘no’ to each statement. Example statements included ‘I have low-flow shower heads installed in
my home,’ ‘I have water-efficient toilets installed in my home,’ and ‘I have low-water
consuming plant materials in my yard.’
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DOI: 10.4148/1051-0834.1843
A total engagement score for water conservation behaviors was assigned to each respondent
by adding up the number of positive behavior experiences they reported. For the first set of
statements those who answered almost every time or every time received one point. Three of
these statements were reverse coded to reflect a positive answer: I turn off the water every time
I brush my teeth,’ I avoid watering my lawn in the summer,’ and I shower for no more than
five minutes each time I bathe. From the second set, each yes response was given one point as
well. The responses were summed to create an overall score ranging from zero to 16 (M = 7.48,
SD = 3.31). Reliability was calculated ex post facto using a Guttman split-half test resulting in a
reliability coefficient of .68.
Finally, respondents were asked to identify where they received information about water
issues in the U.S. Respondents were given a list of 13 possible information sources and allowed
to check all that applied. Those sources included newspaper, social media, Internet, magazine,
farming organizations, family/friends, attending events/activities, governmental websites, self-
observation, television, radio, other, or none of the above. Prior to distribution, a panel of experts
reviewed the survey instrument for internal validity. The panel included an Assistant Professor
and Extension Specialist in Water Economics and Policy, the Director of the UF/IFAS Center for
Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources, and an Assistant Professor
specializing in survey methodology.
The population of interest was U.S. residents aged 18 or older. Non-probability opt-in
sampling techniques were used. A third party public opinion research company, Qualtrics,
distributed the survey by sending a link to 2,703 U.S. residents. Respondents had to meet certain
criteria based on the sampling procedure to enter the survey and pass a series of quality checks to
complete the survey to ensure cognitively responsive results. After criteria-based selection and
quality assurance, a 39% participation rate was obtained (N = 1,050). Demographic questions
were included in the survey instrument to ensure the collected sample reflected the U.S. adult
population and were geographically representative of the nation. In addition, the data were
weighted using the 2010 U.S. Census for age, gender, and race/ethnicity to ensure the
respondents were representative of the population of interest (Kalton & Flores-Cervantes, 2003).
This is a common procedure when using non-probability sampling to ensure accuracy and
alleviate the impacts of selection, exclusion, and bias (Baker et al., 2013). The results were
analyzed descriptively using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23
and Excel.
Results
Hypocrites Knowledge of Climate Change
Scores for the climate change knowledge questions were averaged to create an overall
climate change knowledge index that could range from zero to 11. Based on the climate change
index mean score of 7.30 a response of seven or higher indicated a high level of climate change
knowledge (Table 1). Next, an overall water conservation index was created ranging from zero to
16. Based on the water conservation behavior index mean score of 7.48 a response of six or
lower indicated the respondent exhibited negative conservation behaviors. Respondents with
high levels of climate change knowledge and poor water conservation behaviors were labeled
Hypocrites (Figure 2). The 233 respondents that fell into this category were used for further
analysis.
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Taylor et al.: Cognitive Dissonance to Communicate About Water and Climate Change
Published by New Prairie Press, 2017
Table 1
Climate Change Knowledge Level and Level of Water Conservation Behavior Engagement
Knowledge Quiza
M (SD)
Water Conservation
Behaviorsb
M (SD)
8.78 (1.27)
9.84 (2.03)
9.01 (1.28)
3.98 (1.72)
4.59 (1.43)
9.26 (1.87)
4.67 (1.25)
4.15 (1.65)
Note. aScale ranged from 0 = no knowledge to 16 = complete knowledge; bScale ranged from
0 = no engagement to 11 = complete engagement.
Figure 2. Climate Change Quartet
Demographically, the Hypocrites were slightly more female (52.9%) than male. In addition,
Hypocrites were well educated with 46.9% having at least a 4-year college degree or a
Graduate/Professional degree. Hypocrites tended to report being liberal or very liberal (34.8%)
and were young (Table 2).
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Journal of Applied Communications, Vol. 101 [2017], Iss. 3, Art. 5
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DOI: 10.4148/1051-0834.1843
Table 2
Demographics of Overall Respondents and Hypocrites
Overall
Hypocrites
(N = 1,050)
(n = 233)
%
%
Sex
Female
51.2
52.9
Male
48.8
47.1
Education
Less than 12th grade
1.7
.7
High School/GED
21.6
19.7
Some college, no degree
24.9
20.8
2-year college degree
13.3
11.9
4-year college
26.2
31.1
Graduate/Professional degree
12.4
15.9
Race
White
66.9
64.5
Black
11.6
11.1
Asian or Pacific Islander
5.0
6.3
Multiracial
1.4
3.3
Native American
0.7
0.7
Other
0.2
.3
Hispanic Ethnicity
14.2
13.8
Political Beliefs
Very Liberal
10.1
9.0
Liberal
18.5
25.8
Moderate
45.4
52.1
Conservative
17.8
10.9
Very Conservative
8.3
2.2
Political Affiliation
Republican
26.1
20.2
Democrat
38.1
41.9
Independent
25.3
25.4
Non-Affiliated
9.9
12.2
Other
.5
.2
Age
20-29
18.2
28.9
30-39
17.1
21.3
40-49
18.6
16.5
50-59
17.9
11.5
60-69
12.5
8.6
70-79
7.1
5.5
80+
8.7
7.8
7
Taylor et al.: Cognitive Dissonance to Communicate About Water and Climate Change
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Hypocrites Perception of Climate Change
In addition to knowledge level being measured quantitatively using a test, perceptions of
climate change were also examined descriptively using a categorical question. Hypocrites were
likely to believe climate change was happening now and caused mainly by humans. There were a
relatively low number of Hypocrites that believed climate change was caused by natural forces
(18.6%) or not happening at all (Table 3).
Table 3
Perceptions of Climate Change
Overall
Hypocrites
(N = 1,050)
(n = 233)
%
%
Climate change is happening now and caused mainly by humans
63.7
79.4
Climate change is happening now, caused mainly by natural forces
29.6
18.6
Climate change is not happening now
6.7
2.0
Hypocrite Engagement in Water Conservation Behaviors
Respondents were asked to identify their level of engagement in water conservation behavior
efforts with a series of 16 statements. The first ten statements represented water conservation
actions. The highest reported negative water conservation actions Hypocrite respondents
reported being engaged in were leaving the water running in the kitchen when washing dishes
(45.0%), showering for longer than five minutes (42.8%), never turning off the water while
brushing teeth (33.6%), and watering the lawn in the summer (32.2%) (Table 4).
Table 4
Hypocrites Engagement in Water Conservation Actions (n = 233)
Never/
Almost
Never
%
Sometimes
%
Almost
Every Time/
Every Time
%
I leave the water running in the kitchen when washing
or rinsing dishes
23.6
31.4
45.0
I shower for no more than five minutes each time I
bathe
42.8
26.8
30.4
I turn off the water while brushing my teeth
33.6
23.1
43.3
I avoid watering my lawn in the summer
32.2
39.3
28.5
I allow soapy water to run down a storm drain
44.0
26.4
29.6
I allow oil from cooking to run down the drain
56.2
26.9
16.9
I let my sprinklers run when rain is predicted in the
forecast
69.1
18.6
12.2
I allow used motor oil to run down a storm drain
85.9
3.8
10.3
I hose down my driveway
65.5
27.0
7.5
I let my sprinklers run when it has rained or is raining
79.6
13.4
7.0
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The second series of questions focused on water conservation behaviors. The highest
reported negative water conservation behaviors included Hypocrite respondents not doing the
following: using recycled wastewater/reclaimed water to irrigate lawns (97.2%), using rain
barrels to collect water for use in garden or lawn (96.8%), donating money to a nonprofit to
provide drinking water to another country (90.7%) and having low-water consuming plant
materials in their yard (88.4%). These results are shown in Table 5.
Table 5
Hypocrites Engagement in Water Conservation Behaviors (n = 233)
Yes
%
No
%
I use recycled wastewater/reclaimed water to irrigate my lawn/landscape
2.8
97.2
I use rain barrels to collect water for use in my garden/lawn
3.2
96.8
I have donated money at least once in the past five years to a nonprofit
that works to provide access to drinking water in another country.
9.3
90.7
I have low-water consuming plant materials in my yard
11.6
88.4
I have low-flow shower heads installed in my home
21.0
78.3
I have water-efficient toilets installed in my home.
26.4
73.6
Sources Hypocrites use to get Information about Water Issues
Respondents were asked where they retrieved their information about water. The results from
the Hypocrites are displayed in Table 6. Hypocrites were most likely to obtain their information
about water issues from the Internet, television, or social media.
Table 6
Sources Hypocrites use to get Information about Water Issues (n = 233)
%
Internet
62.6
Television
56.1
Newspaper
45.0
Social Media
43.4
Family and Friends
21.2
Self-Observation
21.8
Radio
16.7
Governmental Website
10.8
Magazine
8.5
Farming Organization
3.8
Attending Events/Activities
1.5
Conclusions and Recommendations
This study sought to identify the Hypocrites who had a high level of knowledge about
climate change but were not practicing water conservation behaviors so their cognitive
dissonance could be addressed with targeted agricultural communication campaigns.
Demographically, the findings revealed Hypocrites were younger, liberal (possibly Democratic)
9
Taylor et al.: Cognitive Dissonance to Communicate About Water and Climate Change
Published by New Prairie Press, 2017
females who are highly educated. These results are comparable to similar studies focused on
environmental conservation; the results also suggested that focusing studies specifically on
climate change does not alter the target Hypocrite audience and that future educational initiatives
can be targeted towards this audience (Liu et al., 2014; McCright & Dunlap, 2011; Milfont,
Milojeve, Greaves, & Sibley, 2015).
The results revealed Hypocrites believed climate change was real and caused by humans but
are doing little to curb their personal water use and are not taking personal action to mitigate the
effects of climate change. For example, Hypocrites are likely to allow cooking oil to run down
the drain, a serious water quality issue, and allow the faucet to run while brushing their teeth.
Both of these behaviors are simple to alter.
In addition, a large percentage are also watering their lawn after it rains/if rain is predicted,
which uses three gallons of water per minute (University of Florida IFAS Extension, 2016), are
not reducing their showering time, which equates to 30-75 gallons per 15 minute shower (United
States Geological Survey, 2016) and continue to leave the faucet running while doing dishes, a
possible usage of 8-27 gallons (United States Geological Survey, 2016). Since these behaviors
are those where the largest impact can be made, agricultural communication materials should
focus on trying to alter these targeted behaviors. Based on cognitive dissonance theory
(Festinger, 1957), Hypocrites should want to adjust their behavior to more closely align with
their beliefs so targeted communication efforts to the younger, liberal, more highly educated
population should have the largest effect.
The results also revealed Hypocrites are getting their information about water issues from the
Internet followed by television. Agricultural communicators should consider utilizing targeted
social media campaigns during times of water restriction. Attention is already paid to water
issues and the media buzz can be leveraged to encourage specific behavior engagement. Social
media outlets, such as Facebook, can target campaigns to specific users. Agricultural
communicators should consider utilizing these avenues to send specific messages about
minimizing shower time, shutting off the faucet when brushing teeth and minimizing water use
when washing dishes. They may want to consider partnering with organizations whose websites
or social media outlets are visited by a younger liberal clientele in an effort to reach Hypocrites
specifically. Hypocrites can become Believers if steps are taken to encourage them to rectify
inconsistencies between their beliefs and actions (Martinsson & Lundqvist, 2010).
In order to reduce dissonance, continued exposure targeted at the Hypocrite demographic
audience may encourage understanding of why particular habits are damaging and should be
addressed. Specifically, targeting some of the behaviors that are simple to alter is suggested. For
example, the social media efforts previously described could address the fact that Hypocrites
may not know the damage their behaviors cause. It is important to inform them of the hazards of
pouring cooking oil down the sink such as the possibility of it clogging household pipes and
potentially leading to sewage overflows, resulting in damaged local waterways (Harris County
Water Protection Group, 2016). The oil can also cause disruption at water treatment facilities,
form toxic products that linger in the environment and cause devastating physical effects to
animal and wildlife areas (Environmental Protection Agency, 2016). Preventing Hypocrites (and
others) from pouring oil down the drain will help minimize negative water quality issues. The
other simple behavior to alter is turning off the water while brushing their teeth. This can save up
to four gallons of water per day, potentially 120 gallons per month (Texas A&M Agrilife
Extension, 2013).
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DOI: 10.4148/1051-0834.1843
Agricultural communicators could create infographics to be shared online and in print that
stresses the importance of protecting water resources in terms of quality or quantity.
Communicators can help motivate Hypocrites to promote the adoption of better water habits.
Working directly with this target group may also increase researchers’ understanding of why this
specific group’s actions are incongruent with their beliefs.
Water issues related to climate change are happening across the nation and are becoming a
priority for many states. Future research could be conducted to further understand why the public
does not believe in or understand climate change and how to leverage climate change knowledge
to alter behavior. An in-depth analysis of Hypocrites, specifically, may provide additional data
on how to access and initiate change within this audience. A qualitative approach using focus
groups or in-person interviews with Hypocrites in different regions of the U.S. could be used to
further understand if there are regional differences and how Hypocrites want to be
communicated with about climate change and water conservation behavior engagement. If focus
groups were conducted, a pre/post test could be used to determine if the simple act of meeting in
a group with likeminded individuals altered their perceptions regarding their personal water
behaviors. Communication materials, including the social media messages recommended earlier,
could also be tested using experimental designs with Hypocrites to identify which would be best
to utilize broadly to encourage behavior change.
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Melissa Taylor was a Research Assistant in the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education
when this research was conducted. She is currently a research consultant based in Southern
California.
Alexa Lamm is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Education and
Communication at University of Florida.
Lisa Lundy is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Education and
Communication at University of Florida.
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DOI: 10.4148/1051-0834.1843
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