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Chapter 4 Understanding Pro-Environmental Behavior: Models and Messages

Abstract Certainly societal Discourses shape our individual worldviews, and our behaviors are influenced by our organizations' quest for legitimacy during stakeholder interactions. However, when individuals communicate about sustainabilityrelated initiatives, part of that exchange is influenced by each person's environmental values, attitudes, and beliefs. What influences an individual's pro-environmental values and behaviors? How can communication facilitate individual-level behavioral change? This chapter identifies factors influencing an individual's pro-environmental values and behaviors; discusses the tentative link between values, attitudes, and behaviors; and identifies how communication can be used to influence individual-level behavioral change. Literature is reviewed which identifies and discusses pro-environmental values and beliefs and defines pro-environmental behaviors. Various persuasion and social influence theories are reviewed to help practitioners better understand how to stimulate pro-environmental behaviors. Key models of pro-environmental behavior are identified. Information is drawn from social marketing, health-related models, stages of change models, energy use reduction models, and communication campaign literatures. At the end of each block of theories, ways these theories can guide practice are highlighted. The chapter ends by focusing on concrete message strategies and the importance of interpersonal communication. Interview data is drawn from Sam's Club; Bayern Brewing; the South Dakota Bureau of Administration; the State Farm Insurance processing facility in Lincoln, NE; the Neil Kelly Company; the City of Fayetteville; the University of Colorado, Boulder; and the University of Colorado, Denver.

Lewis and Clark as Individuals Meriwether Lewis was a boyhood neighbor of Thomas Jefferson. When Jefferson was elected president, he offered Lewis a position as his secretary aide. He wrote, “Your knolege of the Western country, of the army, and of its interests and relations has rendered it desireable for public as well as private purposes that you should be engaged in that office.” Although Lewis was introverted and moody, he was also philosophical, had a speculative mind, and dealt well with abstract ideas. Lewis offered the role of co-commander to his friend and former commanding officer on the Northwest Campaign, William Clark. Clark was an excellent cartographer and a practical man of action. He was extroverted, even-tempered, and gregarious, qualities which helped him manage the other Expedition members. Both men were relatively young, experienced woodsmen, seasoned army officers, cool in a crisis, and quick to make decisions. What motivated these two individuals to take on this uncertain journey? Perhaps it was because each was asked, desired adventure, or sought the promised rewards. After the Expedition returned, Lewis became Governor of the Louisiana Territory until he died 3 years later at 35. Clark was promoted to brigadier general and appointed to the Superintendency of Indian Affairs. After over 210 years, we still talk about these two individuals who embarked on their perilous journey West.

 
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