On the relationship between attitudes and environmental behaviours of key Great Barrier Reef user groups

Goldberg, Jeremy A., Marshall, Nadine A., Birtles, Alastair, Case, Peter, Curnock, Matthew I., and Gurney, Georgina G. (2018) On the relationship between attitudes and environmental behaviours of key Great Barrier Reef user groups. Ecology and Society, 23 (2). 19.

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Urgent action is required to address threats to ecosystems around the world. Coral reef ecosystems, like the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), are particularly vulnerable to human impacts such as coastal development, resource extraction, and climate change. Resource managers and policymakers along the GBR have consequently initiated a variety of programs to engage local stakeholders and promote conservation activities to protect the environment. However, little is known about how and why stakeholders feel connected to the GBR nor how this connection affects the pro-environmental behaviours they undertake. Here, we present the results of 5,891 surveys and show that the attitudes that residents, tourists, and tourism operators have about the GBR are closely tied to the behaviours and activities they take to protect the environment. Our findings suggest that the responsibility, pride, identity, and optimism that people associate with the GBR are significantly correlated to several pro-environmental behaviours, including recycling, participation in conservation groups, and certain climate change mitigation activities. Respondents who feel the strongest connection to the GBR take the most action to protect the environment. Tourism operators who strongly identify with the GBR take more action to protect the environment than those who do not. Encouraging individual identification with the GBR via targeted messages and engagement campaigns may assist not only in GBR conservation, but a wider sustainability movement as well. A better understanding of the individual attitudes and beliefs held by local stakeholders is a key first step towards effective communication to influence conservation activities.

Item ID: 52770
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1708-3087
Keywords: attitudes; behaviour change; identity; optimism; pride; resource management; responsibility; tourism; World Heritage
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This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Funders: James Cook University (JCU), NERP, CSIRO, Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CE)
Projects and Grants: JCU International Postgraduate Research Scholarship
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2018 04:09
FoR Codes: 35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3508 Tourism > 350801 Impacts of tourism @ 75%
35 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 3508 Tourism > 350803 Tourism management @ 25%
SEO Codes: 90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900302 Socio-Cultural Issues in Tourism @ 100%
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