What unsustainable behavior needs to change:
Tourism has had a profound impact on the environment, manifesting in various ways. This includes heightened airline activity, which significantly adds to rising CO2 levels; an increased volume of single-use plastics, which leads to escalated waste generation; the amplification of noise pollution; as well as the possible disturbance to natural ecosystems and wildlife.
Impact on marine-life (especially while snorkelling) can be particularly intense, albeit difficult to witness, though easy to circumvent. Numerous disruptive behaviours can occur during snorkelling if not approached with caution and proper technique. These encompass inadvertent contact with coral formations or the disruption of sand and sediments, which may ultimately suffocate and obscure the corals. In addition to coral conservation, it is imperative to be mindful of various wildlife interactions. When encountering turtles, it is vital to exercise care to prevent any interference with their natural behaviour. While boat anchors may pose concerns in some marine activities, they are generally not a significant issue in tourist snorkelling excursions.
The Green Nudge:
Addressing this concern, Nelson KM, Bauer MK, and Partelow S conducted two experiments exploring the efficacy of positive and negative framing in messaging. They wanted to see if the way we talk about snorkelling guidelines makes a difference in how people behave during their underwater adventures.
Let’s focus on their second experiment. They looked at how the „vibe“ of the instructions, whether they were positive or negative, affected what people did while snorkelling. Positive framing is like using “happy” language, and “negative” framing is more like a serious tone.
The result: When people got the sunny, positive instructions, they were less likely to accidentally bump into things underwater (with only 0.39 impacts on average). In contrast, those who received the more serious, negative instructions averaged 0.62 impacts. These numbers were much lower with folks who didn’t get any special instructions (with an average of 1.34 impacts).
In a nutshell, the study showed that using positive language and energy in snorkelling briefings tends to work best. But here’s the cool part: both the „happy“ and „serious“ instructions helped reduce bumping into stuff while snorkelling. So, providing a pleasant atmosphere about it is the way to go, but even a serious talk can make a difference in protecting the underwater world.
Are you aware of any other nudges that help to preserve nature? Feel free to get in touch: email@example.com
From Luisa Ropio, representing the Nova Nudge Club, a student-led nudge unit affiliated with Nova School of Business and Economics – a leading business school in Portugal. The club specialises in assisting smaller, impact-driven companies in effectively implementing behaviorally-aligned solutions