Efforts to encourage environmental stewardship often face competing needs and interests that encourage communities to act against clean water. Understanding public opinions and attitudes about Chesapeake Bay clean-up could help behavior change practitioners align local interests with their own. Expanding public access to the water—particularly in low-income and urban communities—could increase environmental stewardship in previously underrepresented areas. And taking better advantage of the influence of visible “social norms” could help behavior change practitioners accelerate the adoption of desired behaviors.
Consumer markets are critical drivers of consumer behavior. These markets often develop disincentives to stewarding the environment. Efforts to regulate this market and transform products and services should engage consumers in their own behavior change. While this factor will impact our ability to achieve the Stewardship outcome, it will not be addressed by a management action in 2018 or 2019.
While the region is home to a number of programs that strive to increase environmental stewardship, these programs do not always coordinate with one another. Behavior change practitioners should forge relationships with one another and with local leaders around shared social, economic and environmental interests. The regional programs that result could increase the number and diversity of stewards who support clean water policies at the local, state and federal level.
For individuals to become lifelong environmental stewards, they must engage in volunteer work and professional training that connects their community and environment to their education and economic success. Successful volunteer and community leadership programs should be promoted and replicated, and funding for these programs should be sustained. The providers of such funding should receive guidance to ensure they support programs designed after best practices and successful models.
Scientific and Technical Understanding
Public engagement in environmental issues and impact on resource-related goals have not been adequately measured.