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Kamrowski, R. L., Sutton, S. G., Tobin, R. C., & Hamann, M. (2014). Potential applicability of persuasive communication to light-glow reduction efforts: a case study of marine turtle conservation. Environ Manage, 54(3), 583–595.
Abstract: Artificial lighting along coastlines poses a significant threat to marine turtles due to the importance of light for their natural orientation at the nesting beach. Effective lighting management requires widespread support and participation, yet engaging the public with light reduction initiatives is difficult because benefits associated with artificial lighting are deeply entrenched within modern society. We present a case study from Queensland, Australia, where an active light-glow reduction campaign has been in place since 2008 to protect nesting turtles. Semi-structured questionnaires explored community beliefs about reducing light and evaluated the potential for using persuasive communication techniques based on the theory of planned behavior (TPB) to increase engagement with light reduction. Respondents (n = 352) had moderate to strong intentions to reduce light. TPB variables explained a significant proportion of variance in intention (multiple regression: R (2) = 0.54-0.69, P < 0.001), but adding a personal norm variable improved the model (R (2) = 0.73-0.79, P < 0.001). Significant differences in belief strength between campaign compliers and non-compliers suggest that targeting the beliefs reducing light leads to “increased protection of local turtles” (P < 0.01) and/or “benefits to the local economy” (P < 0.05), in combination with an appeal to personal norms, would produce the strongest persuasion potential for future communications. Selective legislation and commitment strategies may be further useful strategies to increase community light reduction. As artificial light continues to gain attention as a pollutant, our methods and findings will be of interest to anyone needing to manage public artificial lighting.