Balancing artificial light at night with turtle conservation? Coastal community engagement with light-glow reduction

Kamrowski, Ruth L., Sutton, Stephen G., Tobin, Renae C., and Hamann, Mark (2015) Balancing artificial light at night with turtle conservation? Coastal community engagement with light-glow reduction. Environmental Conservation, 42 (2). pp. 171-181.

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Abstract

Artificial lighting is a significant threat to biodiversity. Although efforts to reduce lighting are crucial for species' conservation efforts, management is challenging because light at night is integral to modern society and light use is increasing with population and economic growth. The development and evaluation of appropriate light management strategies will require positive public support, and a comprehensive understanding of public engagement with light pollution. This is the first study to examine public engagement with reducing light at night for the protection of a threatened species. A community campaign to reduce artificial light use was initiated in 2008 to protect marine turtles at a globally significant nesting beach. Semi-structured questionnaires assessed community engagement with light-glow reduction, using an existing theoretical constraints framework. Despite high levels of cognitive and affective engagement(knowledge and concern), behavioural engagement(action) with light reduction in this community was limited. Community perceptions of light reduction were dominated by 'uncertainty and scepticism' and 'externalizing responsibility/blame', implying that behavioural engagement in this community may be increased by addressing these widely-held perceptions using modified campaign materials and/or strategic legislation. Further refinement of the theoretical constraints framework would better guide future empirical and conceptual research to improve understanding of public engagement with critical environmental issues.

Item ID: 34198
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-4387
Keywords: behaviour, community engagement, conservation, constraints, light pollution, marine turtles
Funders: James Cook University (JCU)
Projects and Grants: JCU Graduate Research Scheme
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2014 01:25
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170113 Social and Community Psychology @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 35%
89 INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES > 8998 Environmentally Sustainable Information and Communication Services > 899899 Environmentally Sustainable Information and Communication Services not elsewhere classified @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950299 Communication not elsewhere classified @ 15%
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