VII. Short or long term change?

Step 7. Select intervention technique(s)

Developing a strategy: short term or long term change?

blueprint_image002_008_short-or-long-term-changeConsider whether you want to focus on an immediate problem or specific behavior, or whether you want to look towards a long term, sustainable result, or both. You may want to create an outreach strategy that offers a combination of techniques applied at various stages of an initiative.

For example, incentives have been shown to be very effective for the duration of the incentive, but to have little effect once the incentive is removed (Dwyer et al., 1993). Recent studies have shown more flexibility in this interpretation, based on a careful effort to identify incentives that have potential for long-term impact, such as those that create peer pressure (Pearce, 2006). Incentives are commonly applied in natural resource management. It is, therefore, important to investigate pre- and post- interventions that can prolong the behavior change effect.

A community-based approach to identifying opportunities, problems, and potential solutions provides the educator with a long-term perspective. Community-based environmental education (CBEE) emphasizes designing the education strategy in a way that also builds local skills and supports voluntary actions. [More information about: the CBEE model; Community-Based Research And Outreach – Ethics Considerations]

CBEE practitioners work in collaboration with the community to choose an outreach strategy (Step 1); to consider how and when the strategy could be used; and to guide whether the strategy is applied alone or in combination with others (Figure 1). The intent is to build the skills of citizens to gather, analyze, and apply information for the purpose of making environmental management decisions (Andrews et al., 2002). Successful application of the model contributes to the environmental policy capacity of the community; that is, the community’s ability to engage in collective action that secures environmental public goods and services (Press & Balch, 2002).

Figure 1. Community–Based Environmental Education (CBEE)

Community–Based Environmental Education

  • is locally based
  • works with a coalition or group
  • takes action based on information
  • practices quality education with broader groups

NEXT: A continuum of choices

Go back to Step 7


Andrews, E., 1998. An EPA/USDA Partnership to Support Community-based Education – A Discussion Paper. EPA 910-R-98-008

Andrews, E., Stevens, M., Wise, G. 2002. A Model of Community-Based Environmental Education”. Chapter 10 in New Tools for Environmental Protection: Education, Information, and Voluntary Measures. National Research Council Division of Behavior and Social Sciences and Education: Committee on the Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change, Thomas Dietz and Paul C. Stern, editors. National Academy Press.