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Evaluating conservation grantmaking from a social science perspective

Courtesy of George Mason University and Marco Beltrametti.
June 17, 2013

Grantmakers interested in environmental conservation typically focus on ecological metrics like air or water quality, animal populations or the number of acres protected. Yet the path to reaching those targets nearly always requires human behavior or policy change. A report out this month from George Mason University shines new light on how social psychology, behavioral science and economics can inform those efforts. 

The report, Nudging Toward a Healthy Natural Environment: How Behavioral Change Research Can Inform Conservation, by Karen Akerlof, PhD, and Chris Kennedy, PhD, provides tools to help grantmakers gain insight into the human and social issues integral to conservation work. 

  • How can funders use social psychology and behavioral science to effectively and ethically encourage conservation behaviors?  
  • What new questions should we ask when designing a project? 
  • How can we better evaluate whether a funded project succeeded in driving the desired behavior change and led to the targeted conservation outcome? 

Read the full report here.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation believes in bold ideas that create enduring impact in the areas of environmental conservation, patient care and science. Intel co-founder Gordon and his wife Betty established the foundation to create positive change around the world and at home in the San Francisco Bay Area.  

Our environmental conservation efforts promote sustainability, protect critical ecological systems and align conservation needs with human development. Patient care focuses on eliminating preventable harms and unnecessary healthcare costs through meaningful engagement of patients and their families in a supportive, redesigned healthcare system.  And science looks for opportunities to transform–or even create–entire fields by investing in early-stage research, emerging fields and top research scientists.  

Visit us at Moore.org or follow @MooreEnviro. 

Related link: http://newsdesk.gmu.edu/2013/07/paper-urges-behavior-change-in-conservation-practices/