Images

Christina M. Wesolek, Ph.D., is a 2020 graduate of the Ph.D. Program in Environmental Studies at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Beth A. Kaplan, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Jean Kayira, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Susan Clayton, Ph.D., Committee Member

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2020

Abstract

Environmental identity (EID), a concept from the social sciences specifically conservation psychology, refers to how we orient ourselves to the natural world, and thereby take action based on our personality, values, and sense of self. The realization that conservation is a human endeavor has prompted the inclusion of the social sciences in conservation research. Research on environmental identity has been conducted in such places as zoos, higher education institutions, and with farmers, and has demonstrated that EID is a good predictor of environmental concern and proenvironmental behaviors. There is a gap in the literature regarding whether environmental identity can be used as a predictor of local environmental concern and willingness to participate in endangered species conservation. With the urgency to conserve biodiversity as we are in the midst of a sixth mass extinction, creating an effective environmental identity model to support conservation projects could offer a valuable tool for effective conservation interventions. A study using an embedded mixed methods-style design was completed in 2017 in Kefalonia, Greece. The following tools were used to determine a participant’s environmental identity or connection to nature, their past and current experiences and knowledge in nature, their level of environmental concern, and their willingness to participate in sea turtle conservation: Environmental identity (EID) scale, a nature-based experience and knowledge scale, and a three-part participant survey. Both closed-ended (with follow-up questions) and open-ended questions were included in the three-part participant survey to encourage open dialogue and discussion similar to an interview, and to allow for more detailed information. This dissertation examined how environmental identity can be used to determine the existing relationships that individuals or communities have with nature, their level of environmental concern, and their willingness to participate in endangered species conservation. The use of EID was shown to be a valuable tool for predicting level of environmental concern and willingness to participate in conservation efforts for effective endangered species conservation. Findings also showed that those with a greater environmental identity, experiences and knowledge in nature, and willingness to participant reside in the same location that which has a greater presence of sea turtles.

Comments

Christina M. Wesolek

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0001-6482-0145

Share

COinS