UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Messaging for wildlife conservation : leveraging attitudes, intentions, and actions for transformative change Naito, Rumi


Addressing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution requires immediate and coordinated action that fundamentally transforms current social, political, and economic systems. Drawing on theories of human action in psychology and sociology, this dissertation explores dynamic processes of social change for environmental sustainability and examines how messaging can motivate individuals to take conservation actions, using the global wildlife trade as a case. Chapter 2 develops an integrative framework that identifies key elements of social change at individual and system levels and explains how these elements might interact to promote pro-environmental social norms and large-scale behavioral shifts. The framework serves as the conceptual and theoretical foundation for the subsequent chapters. Chapter 3 examines how individuals intend to engage in wildlife conservation through different patterns of action and what factors correlate with these intentions. Using an online US sample (n=527), I show that there are three distinct types of individual action that can contribute to the transformation of the exotic pet trade. Based on the same sample, Chapter 4 quantifies and evaluates the impact of conservation messaging to reduce demand for exotic pets and engage people in civic action for wildlife conservation. The study shows that, while conservation messaging can be effective in changing attitudes and reducing demand for wildlife entertainment, different strategies are needed to promote more effortful actions such as civic engagement and to discourage exotic pet ownership. Chapter 5 develops a novel audience segmentation approach to investigate the heterogeneity of people and their responses to conservation messaging, using an online US sample (n=2953) in both quantitative and qualitative methods. I show that conservation messages can have different effects depending on audience segments and that each group has distinct reasoning for action and inaction on wildlife conservation. Taken together, this dissertation highlights the need for more integrated approaches and targeted behavioral interventions to amplify wildlife conservation efforts across diverse populations.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International