Learn more about the Environmental Learning Group »The “Environmental Learning in the Bay Area” (ELBA) project is a multi-year project investigating these questions; more generally, the project explores how, why, where, and when people learn about the environment, and what motivates them to act sustainably.
In 2013, as one component of this larger project, in 2013 Dr. Nicole Ardoin and her research team worked with a professional survey company to speak to 1200 residents of the San Francisco Bay Area. This interactive site shares results from this survey.
Please explore a sample of our findings by using the interactive modules below:
The survey examined multiple concepts related to the environment, including:
Much research, including the Environmental Learning in the Bay Area project, explores how these concepts interact. Use the graphic below to compare these concepts with each other.
The survey included a small number of open-ended questions: questions that respondents could answer in their own words. For many of these questions, we organized these “free responses” into themes and categories.
Here we share categorizations of the themes to the responses by (right) types of outdoor activity people reported as their “favorite hobby or outdoor interest” and (below) types of environmental concerns people reported.
Given the rapid urbanization of the global population, we wanted to investigate how urbanity interacts with sense of place. Our research explored four dimensions of sense of place: biophysical, psychological, socio-cultural and political. We wanted to understand how these dimensions of sense of place relate to (a) the scale and related urbanity of what people consider to be “their place,” and (b) the actual degree of urbanity of where people live.
The results (demonstrated by the charts and described in words below) suggest a two-pronged approach to outreach and planning efforts: increasing engagement with “urban nature” and encouraging people’s perception of their place to be larger than the urban areas where they live.
The graphs above demonstrate two findings:
In one section of the survey, we asked respondents to share if they visit five different types of places (museums, zoos, parks, neighborhood parks, places for water-based activities) in their free time, and if so, how often they visit. These places can help people connect to their environment and to their place in a variety of ways. Understanding how often people visit, and any patterns in how visitation may interact with people’s backgrounds, may support the tailoring of environmental education and outreach activities to appropriate populations.
Our respondents were equally distributed within the 12 counties of the bay area; we talked to 100 people per county (counties are outlined in red). We explored if there were patterns in some of our key variables based on where people live. We used people’s zip codes to place them in one of the regions displayed (zip codes are outlined in black).
As mentioned above, our 1200 respondents were diverse in age, ethnicity, gender, and income.
To explore this graphic:
Select one of the attributes from the dropdown to see its distribution across the six age groups. You can furthermore switch between absolute and relative values to better compare the differences within the groups.
The Environmental Learning and Behavior in the San Francisco Bay Area project is ongoing. We are currently working on multiple papers, drawing data from this survey and other aspects of the project (Community Listening Sessions, interviews, case studies, and an organizational network analysis). Papers in progress or in review cover topics including:
The Bay Area population is diverse, socially and ecologically, and our results reflect that diversity. As evidenced above, our participants displayed wide variation in environmentally-related behaviors, participation in outdoor activity, environmental concern, and mechanisms of environmental learning. We hope you have enjoyed exploring data from the individuals generous enough to share their time and thoughts with our research team. We genuinely thank our participants, in the survey and in the other aspects of this project, for helping us to understand more about the connections between environmental learning and environmental behavior.
And importantly, we also thank you for visiting our website!