Social-psychological drivers of relational organizing to reduce human-bear conflict
January 2022 - June 2027
This project involves a multi-phase research program to plan, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of a relational organizing campaign focused on reducing bear attractants in residential settings in the western United States. Phase 1 will lay the foundations of community engagement to design this applied research collaboratively and considering local needs. Phase 2 will generate a more systematic understanding of the barriers, motivations, and opportunities influencing residents’ personal, political, and relational organizing action about reducing bear attractants. Phase 3 will implement a relational organizing campaign and evaluating the impacts of that campaign, both on the volunteers themselves and on the uptake of bear-resistant garbage storage across focal communities. This research project has two objectives:
1) Understand the barriers, motivations, and opportunities influencing whether residents in the western United States engage in relational organizing on the topic of securing attractants for bears through individual voluntary behavior change.
2) Design, implement, and evaluate a community leader program in collaboration with partners in one or two focal communities to train and encourage leaders to participate in relational organizing.