Conservation Optimism

Undergraduate students exploring the outdoors during a field course. Photo by Jessica A. Haines

Conservation biologists see the impacts of humans on the environment first-hand and that often gives them a sense of urgency – that we need to get working right away to solve these issues. The most common way that they talk about this is by focusing on the negative impact that humans are having on the environment, but hearing a negative message over and over may not be the best way to inspire change. Some conservation biologists are suggesting that focusing on positive messages, such as how humans are successfully solving conservation issues, may actually be more empowering and be more likely to lead to action.

Drs. Jessica Haines and Joshua Miller are exploring these different approaches to communication in their MacEwan University undergraduate classes. Our goal is to see whether a positive or negative message affects feelings of empowerment in undergraduate students. We are currently collecting data, we will post updates once we have results to share!

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