Aquatic Stewardship Education in Theory and Practice

Environmental Communication for Aquatic Stewardship

Brian A. Day


Abstract.—Although educators like to feel that awareness changes behavior, data suggests otherwise. Managers have some tools that educators can also use for directing communication toward changed behavior. Both education and communication are often seen as soft and optional. Because nearly every problem faced in aquatic stewardship is caused by human behavior, this paper is aimed at introducing the tools that can change behavior. It is mostly a measurable scientific approach, but its design and implementation requires good behavioral research. The suggested approach is meant to help aquatic professionals understand and learn the steps of applying behavior change strategies to accomplish their objectives. A simple model of the process and an introduction to social marketing are important components. Most often professionals face aquatic resource management problems to which they can apply well-developed planning, management, engineering, and scientific principles to develop problem solutions. The emerging field of environmental communication brings together a set of behavior change tools that can help address problems related to aquatic stewardship behavior and focus on environmental enforcement, changing behavior when no policy or law exists to force that behavior or helping to drive compliance with existing regulations. Regardless of the aquatic stewardship problem, people need to be engaged in its solution, and behaviors need to change.