Published on February 24, 2014
Stormwater Industry Association 2005 Regional Conference, Port Macquarie, NSW SUSTAINABLE STORMWATER: You Are Responsible - Justify Your Decisions. 20-21 April 2005 HOW CAN WE MAKE STORMWATER EDUCATION MORE EFFECTIVE? Neil Dufty, Principal, Molino Stewart Pty Ltd 1. STORMWATER EDUCATION Education has been viewed by many organisations as an important non-structural stormwater management tool with considerable investment made to support it. Stormwater education activities have included media campaigns, signage, stormwater drain stenciling and industry training courses. They aim to change the behaviour of sectors of the community whose activities are thought to impact on stormwater quality (and quantity) and the health of waterways. Yet, have these stormwater education programs been effective in changing behaviour and achieve water quality improvements? According to research, the answer is ‘in some cases’. There is certainly a formula for effective stormwater education - this will be developed in this paper. 2. BEHAVIOUR CHANGE AND SUSTAINABILITY Behaviour is what people do. People may perform a host of environmentally appropriate and inappropriate behaviours every day. Governments around the world have made numerous legal agreements that commit their countries to take responsibility for a suite of actions to change and move society towards sustainability. Such progress to sustainability depends on the behaviour of people in all walks of life, requiring changes in their way of thinking, living and working. Where possible, it is therefore important to place stormwater management (including non-structural behavior change activities) in a sustainability context instead of treating it in isolation. This may mean lobbying planners to include stormwater management in local, regional, state and national sustainability plans. The advantage of this approach, apart from working towards more holistic goals, is for stormwater management to benefit strategically and cumulatively from links with other specialised activity e.g. biodiversity actions such as Landcare. In other words, ‘there is strength in working towards the common good’. It also helps ensure longevity of behaviour change strategies by sharing ownership across the community. 1
Stormwater Industry Association 2005 Regional Conference, Port Macquarie, NSW SUSTAINABLE STORMWATER: You Are Responsible - Justify Your Decisions. 20-21 April 2005 Molino Stewart (2004) recently developed a strategic sustainability education framework for the Central Coast and Lake Macquarie region of NSW. Concentrating on the ’environmental ‘ part of the triple bottom line, it used regionally acknowledged sustainability outcomes (see Figure 1) as the basis for the development of behaviour change strategies (including stormwater education). Clean Air Good Quality Water Conserved Cultural Heritage Efficient Resource Use Conserved Biodiversity HEALTHY & SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENTS Healthy Aquatic Systems Healthy and Productive Land Liveable Urban Environments Figure 1: Recommended environmental sustainability outcomes for the Central Coast and Lake Macquarie region To effectively direct strategies, a suite of ‘best management practice’ behaviours was identified for each environmental outcome. An example of the behaviours related to stormwater management is shown in Figure 2. Use water sensitive urban design Mulch gardens Bin dog droppings HEALTHY & SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT GOOD QUALITY WATER Use fertiliser sparingly Use pesticides appropriately Shop with reusable bags Figure 2: Example of stormwater behaviours linked to regional outcomes 2
Stormwater Industry Association 2005 Regional Conference, Port Macquarie, NSW SUSTAINABLE STORMWATER: You Are Responsible - Justify Your Decisions. 20-21 April 2005 3. STORMWATER EDUCATION AND OTHER NON-STRUCTURAL TOOLS There are several classifications of non-structural stormwater management tools. In this paper, four classes of tools are identified: 1. Regulation e.g. environmental licences 2. Planning e.g. town planning instruments, stormwater management plans 3. Incentives e.g. grants, subsidies 4. Education (including communications) There may be benefit in combining activities from several of these classes of nonstructural tools to change behaviour. According to Young et al. (1996), prospects for changing behaviour will always be greater ‘if direct regulatory approaches are overlain with a web of mechanisms that create a financially attractive and voluntary atmosphere that encourages cooperation and the sharing of information’. On the other hand, with constraints such as staffing and budget an organisation may have to be more discerning and choose activities from only one of the classes. Figure 3 provides a model to help this decision using the four classes as tiers in a triangle. The lower tiers, including education, are seen as best to address diffuse pollution sources where appropriate community behaviour is critical. The upper tiers are best suited for point source pollution issues such as improving sewage treatment plants. Point Source Specific groups Regulation Planning Incentives Education & Communications Diffuse Community Figure 3: Model to help choose non-structural stormwater management tools to change behaviour 3
Stormwater Industry Association 2005 Regional Conference, Port Macquarie, NSW SUSTAINABLE STORMWATER: You Are Responsible - Justify Your Decisions. 20-21 April 2005 4. STORMWATER EDUCATION IS MORE THAN AWARENESS The focus on behaviour change to achieve sustainability has led to a re-think of approaches to environmental education (including stormwater education). Monroe, Day and Grieser (2000) argue that ‘knowledge alone doesn’t help or harm the environment. Human attitudes don’t harm or help the environment. Human behaviours, on the other hand, have greatly harmed, yet hold a great deal of hope for helping the environment. Those of us who work for environmental sustainability must address human behaviour’. Similarly, Neiswinder and Shepard (2002) state that to be successful environmental education ‘programs must go beyond making people aware of the problem and rather should focus on changing critical behaviours’. The NSW government through its NSW Environmental Education Plan 2002-05 has embraced the move from traditional environmental education to that which targets behaviour change leading towards sustainability. The Plan notes that ’in NSW the focus of environmental education programs has shifted in recent years, due to a deeper understanding of the causes of environmental problems and how to prevent them’. It concludes that these changes in the direction of environmental education may be described as moving towards ‘education for sustainability’. Implications of this shift in environmental education focus are summarised in Table 1. Table 1: Differences between ‘traditional’ environmental education and ‘education for sustainability’ (EFS) ASPECT Problem TRADITIONAL APPROACH Pollution/end of the pipe Education methods Environmental protection Humans separate from ecosystems Present/short term Awareness and knowledge Predominantly information-based Learners Implementation Audiences/target groups Mainly top down Legitimacy Predominantly technical expertise Solution Connectedness Time frame Goals 4 NEW EFS APPROACH Pollution/source reduction Sustainability solutions Humans as part of ecosystems Future/long term Changed behaviours, practices and structures Participatory and experiential learning, community development and capacity-building Participants/stakeholders Through partnerships/networks Based on different ways of knowing
Stormwater Industry Association 2005 Regional Conference, Port Macquarie, NSW SUSTAINABLE STORMWATER: You Are Responsible - Justify Your Decisions. 20-21 April 2005 5. ENABLERS AND BARRIERS Stormwater education programs can be developed using the EFS approach outlined in Table 1 yet struggle to be effective because enabling factors (or ‘enablers’) such as appropriate community capacity, resourcing and institutional arrangements are not in place. Similarly, the education programs may be constrained by ‘barriers’ such as language, level of funding and lack of recognition. Enablers are ‘catalysts’ for stormwater education programs to achieve behaviour change (see Figure 4). The enabling factors may need to be built, modified, extended or better coordinated to ensure the effectiveness of the program. Likewise, efforts may need to be made to ‘break down’ or resolve barriers prior to program inception. Institutional arrangements Networks Education Programs Sustainability knowledge Resourcing ENABLERS Partnerships Behaviour change Infrastructure Leadership Information sharing Figure 4: Some factors that enable stormwater education programs to achieve community behaviour change 6. THE PARTICIPATORY APPROACH. According to Taylor and Wong (2002), participatory stormwater education programs, ‘promoting community involvement in defining problems and implementing strategies are seen by most authors as more effective than traditional educational initiatives developed by experts and imposed on a target audience’. Some drain stencilling and Waterwatch/Streamwatch programs are examples of the participatory approach. There has been increasing concern about the use of traditional ‘top-down’ approaches to environmental education particularly by government agencies and local councils (Baker 2002). This ‘traditional’ approach involves communities receiving information mainly through one-way dissemination e.g. agency or council media releases, publications. It can alienate the ‘recipient’ from the decision-making process thus inhibiting sustainable behaviour change. 5
Stormwater Industry Association 2005 Regional Conference, Port Macquarie, NSW SUSTAINABLE STORMWATER: You Are Responsible - Justify Your Decisions. 20-21 April 2005 Elcome and Baines (1999) have developed a continuum (Figure 5) that shows a range of community participation levels in environmental education programs. No influence over outcomes Informing Consulting Total influence over outcomes Deciding Together Acting Together Supporting Community Decisions Figure 5: Community participation levels Organisations should seek to use the more participative levels in the continuum for stormwater education programs. Allen, Kilvington and Horn (2002) suggest the ‘increased user involvement not only helps keep research and information transfer relevant, and encourages stakeholders to take ownership of outcomes. It also provides key people in the wider community who have to work together with new ideas and perspectives, which they will share with others thus paving the way for improved user thinking and change’. Participation in stormwater education programs can lead communities towards empowerment. Empowerment enables communities to decide on and set their own pathways towards sustainability. Page and Czuba (1999) stress that ‘to create change we must change individually to enable us to become partners in solving the complex issues facing us. In collaborations based on mutual respect, diverse perspectives, and a developing vision, people work towards creative and realistic solutions. This synthesis of individual and collective change is our understanding of the empowerment process.’ 7. THE VALUE OF EVALUATION A major weakness of many stormwater (and environmental) education programs is a lack of evaluation. According to McDuff (2002), ‘the majority of environmental education programs do not integrate ongoing evaluation into educational programming’. In relation to stormwater education programs, Taylor and Wong (2002) have found that ‘the data analysis and reporting’ aspects of evaluation are ’often poor’. Reasons for this include a change in personnel, lack of resourcing and short time frame of projects. 6
Stormwater Industry Association 2005 Regional Conference, Port Macquarie, NSW SUSTAINABLE STORMWATER: You Are Responsible - Justify Your Decisions. 20-21 April 2005 Evaluation should be planned and commence at the beginning of a program or project. Where possible, it should be participative involving stakeholders. It should direct continual improvement throughout the program. A model for evaluating the appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency of a program integrated with planning is shown in Figure 6. SITUATION (Reason for program) APPROPRIATENESS OBJECTIVES (What do we want to achieve) EFFECTIVENESS EFFICIENCY INPUTS (What we invest) e.g. staff, time, money, materials, partners OUTPUTS (What we do, who we reach) e.g. training for Council staff OUTCOMES (Impacts) e.g. learning, behaviour change, long term benefits I N F L E N C I N G F A C T O R S Figure 6: Elements of the Logic Model for program planning including evaluation A particular concern for evaluating the effectiveness of stormwater education programs is the reliance on self-reporting as an indicator of resultant behaviour change. According to Taylor and Wong (2002), ‘research indicates that self-reporting of behaviour change can, in some contexts, be unreliable and misleading’. Self-reported behaviour (e.g. littering, recycling, tree planting) needs to be verified, where possible, in evaluation. 7
Stormwater Industry Association 2005 Regional Conference, Port Macquarie, NSW SUSTAINABLE STORMWATER: You Are Responsible - Justify Your Decisions. 20-21 April 2005 8. CLOSING TIPS Everyone’s an educator! This is a double-edged sword: we all are involved in providing some type of education during our lives but it may not necessarily be effective. The same rings true for stormwater education: they are many providers but not all of their programs are effective in achieving appropriate behaviour. Based on the discussion in this paper, the Figure 7 provides a framework for strategic planning of stormwater education programs. STORMWATER EDUCATION PROGRAM E N A B L E R S BARRIERS BARRIERS SUSTAINABILITY BEHAVIOURS SUSTAINABILITY Figure 7: A framework for strategic planning of a stormwater education program More specifically, the following tips are provided to make stormwater education programs more effective: • Identify appropriate behaviours and ways to measure these behaviours 8
Stormwater Industry Association 2005 Regional Conference, Port Macquarie, NSW SUSTAINABLE STORMWATER: You Are Responsible - Justify Your Decisions. 20-21 April 2005 • Link education activities with other non-structural management tools • Use a participatory approach with participants to planning, implementation and evaluation • Direct program activities to behavior change and not awareness • Identify enablers and strengthen them if possible • Identify barriers and attempt to overcome them • Plan evaluation as an on-going process leading to continual improvement of the program REFERENCES Allen, W, Kilvington, M., & Horn, C. (2002). Using Participatory and Learning-based Approaches for Environmental Management to help achieve Behaviour Change. Wellington, NZ: Landcare Research Report. Baker, E. (2002). Preparing for Evaluation: Lessons from capacity building for natural resource management. Paper presented to the 2002 Australasian Evaluation Society International Conference. Elcome, D., & Baines, J. (1999). Steps to success – working with residents and neighbours to develop and implement plans for protected areas. Switzerland: IUCN Commission on Education and Communication. McDuff, M. (2002). Needs Assessment for Participatory Evaluation of Environmental Education Programs. Applied Environmental Education and Communication Vol 1pp25-36 Molino Stewart (2004). The Central Coast and Lake Macquarie Environmental Education Strategic Framework. Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority Monroe, M.C., Day, B.A., & Grieser, M. (2000). GreenCom Weaves Four Strands. In Day, B.A. & Monroe, M.C. (Eds.) Environmental Education and Communication for a Sustainable World: Handbook for International Practioners. Washington D.C.: Academy for Educational Development. Neiswinder, C., & Shepard, R. (2002). Elements of Successful Stormwater Outreach and Education. University of Wisconsin Extension Paper. Madison USA: University of Wisconsin. 9
Stormwater Industry Association 2005 Regional Conference, Port Macquarie, NSW SUSTAINABLE STORMWATER: You Are Responsible - Justify Your Decisions. 20-21 April 2005 NSW Council on Environmental Education (2002). Learning for Sustainability: NSW Environmental Education Plan 2002-05. Sydney: NSW Government. Page, N., & Czuba, C.E. (1999). Empowerment: What is it? Journal of Extension, Vol 37, No 5, October 1999. Taylor, A., & Wong T. (2002). Non-structural Stormwater Quality Best Management Practices – A Literature Review of their Value. CRC Technical Report. Canberra, ACT, Cooperative Research Centre for Catchment Hydrology Young, M.D., Gunningham, N., Elix, J., Lambert.J. Howard, B., Grabosky, P., & McGrone, E. (1996). Reinbursing the Future: An Evaluation Of Motivational, Voluntary, Price-based, Property-right and Regulatory Incentives for the Conservation of Biodiversity. Canberra: Division of Wildlife and Ecology, the Australian Centre for Environmental Law and Community Solutions. 10
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