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Social Psychology of Watersheds Donelson R. Forsyth Jepson School of Leadership Studies University of Richmond This work is funded by NSF grant 9874924,

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Presentation on theme: "Social Psychology of Watersheds Donelson R. Forsyth Jepson School of Leadership Studies University of Richmond This work is funded by NSF grant 9874924,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Psychology of Watersheds Donelson R. Forsyth Jepson School of Leadership Studies University of Richmond This work is funded by NSF grant , An Integrated Multi-objective Decision Analysis Model for an Urban Watershed in the Richmond, VA Metropolitan Area. Thanks are extended to my colleagues, including Garret Schlein, Paul Story, Margot Garcia, Linda E.Zyzniewski and Natalie A. Kerr, for their assistance with the research reported here. For notes see:

2 Overview Social Psychological Assumptions Social Psychology and the Environment Water Issues A Little Data on Engagement

3 Social Psychological Assumptions Behavior =  (P, E) Kurt Lewin Nothing so practical….

4 How do people perceive the environments around them? Why do they come to develop proprietary orientations towards areas that they use frequently? What is the relationship between overcrowding and pathological social behaviors? How do individuals cope when the neighborhoods in which they live are too noisy, too polluted, or too difficult to territorialize? When will people take actions to protect environmental resources? Social Psychology and the Environment

5 Quiz: Can You Identify this Location on the UR Campus? Environment often taken for granted; unnoticed Hint

6 Are you aware of a stream or brook that runs through campus?

7 Are there any “point” sources of pollution on campus (air or water)?

8 How much of UR is paved? §Impervious surfaces create problems §Westhampton Campus

9 Before After

10 Water Water Issues Where does it come from? Where does it go?

11 The Answer: The James River Map

12 §Where is the water? §Where does it flow through the city? §How is it contained? §How clean is it? Water Issues

13 Richmond is located in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (and the James River Watershed). The watershed carries away the water from natural and other sources, such as water used to irrigate crops, wash the car or boat, or sprinkle the lawn.

14 Watersheds, particularly in urban areas, can also carry away things besides water, such as eroded soil, chemicals, trash, and other pollutants.

15 Environmental disruption includes point sources and nonpoint pollution changes in waterflow and stream course changes in the riparian zone

16 Watersheds can also experience systemic perturbations, in which the course of the water influences—dramatically— the built and natural environmental surroundings: Floods. Downtown Richmond, 2004, after Hurricane Gaston

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19 The James River §Relatively clean in Richmond §High levels of discharged “nutrients”downstream Kepone Supersite below the city, near Hopewell Virginia (dates to 1975)

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21 Chickahominy River Basin James River Basin Upham Brook Tributaries

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23 Bryant Park Richmond VA

24 Overview Social Psychological Assumptions Social Psychology and the Environment Water Issues A Little Data on Engagement

25 Study 1: A representative survey (telephone) of over 1,000 residents of the James River Basin Watershed, including Upham Brook Study 2: A more detailed surveying (nonrepresentative) of 120 Upham Brook Watershed residents Study 3: A reanalysis of the phone survey, examining identity issues Study 4: An experimental study of identity activation and environmental engagement A Little Data on Engagement

26 Awareness AppraisalBehavior Sense of Community 1.People must be aware 2.People must be concerned (Engagement as “helping behavior”)

27 Awareness The majority of the residents were not aware of a “stream or brook” that runs through “your neighborhood.”

28 Appraisal If aware: “What condition is the stream or brook in?” Most thought clean, not dirty.

29 Individuals who were aware of streams, and who considered those streams to be polluted were more likely to report willingness to get involved in watershed clean up activities; F (3, 1096) = 9.70, p <.01

30 Awareness Appraisal Responsibility Behavior

31 Dotted lines are not significant Numbers in ( ) are weights before mediation

32 Is sense of community related to behavioral intention? AwarenessAppraisal Behavior Sense of Community When you think about your community, how often do you think in terms of [city/county

33 Individuals who identified closely with their city/county and neighborhood (but not the region) expressed more positive behavioral intentions.

34 We activated identity in door-to-door surveys (n = 57) Regional awareness condition: participants were told that they were chosen for the interview since they lived in the region, and they were asked how closely they identified with the region before continuing. Neighborhood identity condition were told they were selected to represent their neighborhood Control subjects were not given any identity-activating information

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36 Overview Social Psychological Assumptions Social Psychology and the Environment Water Issues A Little Data on Engagement Conclusions

37 Inaccurate knowledge, little awareness Individuals are relatively unaware of their watershed, but awareness + negative evaluation = greater willingness to take action to improve them Very high value placed on clean water, but involvement in watershed preservation is not predicted by general attitudes towards the environment Individuals who consider their city to be their community are more likely to express positive behavioral intentions

38 Educational Interventions

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