ERIC Number: ED426831
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998
Reference Count: N/A
Community Building for a Healthy Ecosystem.
Flora, Cornelia Butler
Rural Development News, v22 n3 p1-3,10 Fall 1998
People act in environmentally sound ways for many reasons, but the best motivation is wanting to act in the public good and knowing how to do it. Education and socialization internalize socially responsible behavior. Land grant university education and extension are based on internalizing the right thing to do and learning the right way to do it. Formal and informal education can help people appreciate the environment and its important ecological functions, as well as teach them how to work with and enhance those ecological functions. When internalization is absent, peer pressure may result in positive or negative actions toward the environment. However, community counts in terms of environmental quality and may turn peer pressure from a negative to a positive. When internalization and peer pressure do not work, economic incentives or penalties may encourage land managers to practice conservation. Force is the final and most costly mechanism for preventing environmentally damaging behavior. Internalization and peer pressure work well with farmers in an agrarian environment but not with those who live elsewhere and make decisions about environmental practices. If education for ecological health is going to improve ecosystem health, we must rethink whom we are talking to and why we are talking to them, and we must think more in terms of actors who are not rooted in place and who have various relationships to land, labor, and capital. Both farm managers and the bankers who loan them money must be educated about environmentally sustainable practices and how they can be profitable. (SV)
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, Ames, IA.