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Home arrow Environment arrow Bats in the Anthropocene: Conservation of Bats in a Changing World

Values

Theory

Values are fundamental beliefs about how the world should be, and they express a personal or social preference for an end state of existence or specific mode of conduct (Rokeach 1973). For example, people may value the end states of beauty, peace, wealth, friendship, equality, freedom (Rokeach 1973), and behaviors that can lead to these end states, e.g., self-expression, egalitarianism, belongingness, and humanity toward other living organisms. Values are single beliefs that form slowly in youth over many experiences (Rohan 2000). Consequently, they are stable through time, providing motivational constructs that persist through adulthood (Schwartz 1992), and are thus likely to strongly influence attitudes and guide an individual's processing of information and events.

There is a strong cultural component to values, so values tend to vary less within than they do among different cultures (Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck 1961; Schwartz 1992). Values are thought to be organized into value systems or value orientations (Rokeach 1973), and prioritization of values within these orientations is more individual and appears to explain differences among people in conservation-related attitudes and behaviors within cultures (Teel et al. 2015). Although values of an individual rarely change, they can change across generations as cultural expectations change through time (Manfredo and Teel 2008).

Empirical Values

Given the stability and motivational influence of values, much research has focused on identifying core values or sets of values that influence attitudes toward conservation and wildlife. A central hypothesis guiding this research is that, because of the commonalities of challenges that humans face across cultures, there should be a limited set of universal values (Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck 1961). Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck (1961) identified and tested six dimensions of cultural value orientations, one of which addressed the relationship of individuals and groups with nature. Human–nature relations fell into one of three orientations: mastery, in which humans are seen as superior to nature and have a need and responsibility to attempt to control it; harmony, whereby people work with nature to maintain harmony and balance; and subjugation, in which people cannot and should not exercise control over natural forces but, rather, are subject to the higher power of these forces. The influence of this foundational work persists, with value orientations that affect attitudes and behaviors more specifically toward wildlife variably described as mutualism/harmony/protection orientation versus materialism/domination/mastery/utilization (e.g., Fulton et al. 1996; Manfredo and Teel 2008).

Later influential work by Rokeach (1973) identified at most 36 universal values addressing all aspects of life, but most current conceptual frameworks have their origins in the theoretical structure for life values of Schwartz (1992). Schwartz proposed a typology of ten motivational life value types, comprising 56 value items, clustered along two motivational dimensions: openness to change versus conservation (meaning conservative behavior) and self-enhancement (e.g., materialism, personal ambition) versus self-transcendence (e.g., benevolence, respect for the environment) (Schwartz 1992), and these have proved remarkably consistent across cultures (Schwartz and Sagiv 1995; Schultz et al. 2005). Pro-environmental behaviors tend to correlate positively with self-transcendence values (Stern et al. 1998; Stern 2000).

While values can be hard to influence and change, there has been recent interest in their use in communication strategies intended to motivate conservation behavior (Clayton et al. 2013; Teel et al. 2015). “Deep framing” forges connections between the kind of language used in communication materials and a set of values (Crompton 2010). This approach is central to the “Common Cause” network of NGOs led by WWF-UK (valuesandframes.org/) seeking social and environmental change (Crompton 2010). The “Common Cause for Nature” publications comprise a detailed report and a practitioner's guide (Blackmore et al. 2013a, b) commissioned by 13 UK conservation organizations, including the Bat Conservation Trust. The reports focus on the ways in which values can be engaged as part of conservation communication. Schwartz's value topology is adopted, although grouped into “intrinsic” and “extrinsic” motivational clusters, which are broadly equivalent to self-transcendence (selfdirection, benevolence, universalism) and self-enhancement (power and achievement), respectively. Blackmore et al. (2013a, b) caution strongly against the use of extrinsic frames that “sell” the conservation issue. They argue that by framing conservation messages in terms of economic or utilitarian value, campaigns appeal to self-interest motivations and may suppress environmental concern. Rather, messaging should appeal to intrinsic values which are more likely to foster environmental concern. This is a pertinent consideration as many bat conservation frames are based on ecosystem services provided by bats, and there are a growing number of studies attaching monetary values to the services (e.g., Cleveland et al. 2006; Wanger et al. 2014).

 
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