People want to do right by nature. They just need a nudge, study shows

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Subtle messaging and cues can encourage tourists to engage in behaviors that protect the marine ecosystem, a new study says. The researchers conducted two field experiments, focusing on plastic bag use and snorkeling behavior, on the Indonesian island of Gili Trawangan, a popular destination for beachgoers. Many tourists have the knowledge and responsibility to take environmentally conscious actions, but in practice, they often fail due to contextual obstacles. The study authors urged stakeholders in the tourism sector to apply these approaches as a simple effort to reduce local impacts on the environment, particularly marine ecosystems. JAKARTA — “Do you need a plastic bag?” asks a store cashier. Bland as it may seem, that’s the kind of question that appears to be an effective nudge for tourists to take environmentally friendly action, according to a study. Giving subtle messaging and cues is likely to encourage tourists to engage in behaviors that protect the marine ecosystem, a group of researchers concluded in their paper published in February in the journal Frontiers of Communication . They observed real behavioral changes using natural field experiments with different types of pro-environmental communication framing interventions, and tested the effectiveness of those approaches. Positively (left) and […]

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