Behavior is the interface between ecosystems and human social systems. Human choices and actions sometimes threaten species and ecosystems – but our actions also create the conditions that motivate conservation and sustainable natural resource management.
Understanding and influencing behavior is a key to protecting and restoring ecosystems and healing our relationship with the biosphere. Understanding behavior requires understanding how humans value the goods, services, and non-material benefits of nature, and understanding the positive and negative incentives that create either sustainable societies or environmentally destructive actions.
Once the causes and motivations of environmental behaviors are understood, solutions that influence the behaviors can be designed. Education, communication, outreach, and social marketing techniques are some of the tools available. For examples of my work on behavior change, see:
- ECO Success Stories Presentation for North American Association for Environmental Education Workshop, November 2007
- La Reserva de la Biosfera Mariposa Monarca y el papel del comportamiento de la gente en su conservación. A report for WWF-México, Programa Mariposa Monarca, April 2004
- Conservación y Comportamiento en Bolivia y la Reserva Biológica Cordillera de Sama: Un Resumen. Report for USAID/Bolivia, 2003
- Education, Communication and Outreach (ECO) Success Stories: Solving Conservation Problems by Changing Behavior. Report for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, June 2003
- Multifaceted Outreach in USFWS Paper 1999
- Understanding and Influencing Behaviors: A Guide. Biodiversity Support Program, 2000
- Understanding and Influencing Behaviors in Conservation and Natural Resources Management. Biodiversity Support Program, 1996