University of Tasmania
whole_McDonnellJennifer1998_thesis.pdf (12.68 MB)

The role of established voluntary neighbourhood groups in disseminating environmental information

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posted on 2023-05-26, 18:41 authored by McDonnell, Jennifer
This thesis examines the role of voluntary established neighbourhood groups in the dissemination of environmental educational material. It used a participatory case study approach to involve eight neighbourhood groups in an education program disseminating information about wood-smoke pollution and how smoke could be minimised through correct woodheater operation. A primary goal of the program was to determine whether or not an environmental issue such as wood-smoke pollution could be linked in and 'piggybacked' on established groups which have other principal interests. An information kit about the problems associated with wood-smoke and clear steps that can be taken to reduce wood-smoke was prepared and given to eight neighbourhood groups in Hobart and Launceston, Tasmania. The information kit comprised of overheads for a seminar, an information booklet, and a pamphlet. The groups were asked to disseminate the information in any way they thought fit. The researcher acted as a facilitator and was available to participate in education efforts and provided support to the groups. The neighbourhood groups were surveyed to see what initiatives they took to distribute and promote the wood-smoke educational material. Observations were also made about the group processes within neighbourhood groups involved in the case study. The outcomes of the case study indicated that a considerable multiplier effect can occur by using established neighbourhood groups and their existing communication networks and interpersonal channels. The education activities carried out by the neighbourhood groups included public seminars on the topic of wood-smoke pollution, a door knocking campaign with wood-smoke pamphlets from the information kit, and education information was published in numerous newsletters. Overall the findings from the thesis indicate that established neighbourhood groups are willing to take environmental issues 'on-board' that are outside their principal interest. Observations of the groups that became more fully involved in the education program were encouraging, and a range of group characteristics were identified which would be useful to target suitable neighbourhood groups for future studies. Assessment of the information kit showed that the pamphlet and seminar materials were of high quality. A telephone survey conducted as part of the assessment of the case study activities revealed that council newsletters may have limited success as a means of disseminating information. This thesis has revealed that there are neighbourhood groups in the wider community that have established infrastructure, communication networks and channels that can benefit the distribution of environmental information. Supplying information to these groups on urban environmental issues such as the wood-smoke issue may provide a double benefit. Environmental education could be spread in an interpersonal manner and public interest and support for neighbourhood groups may increase.


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Copyright 1998 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). 3 pamphlets in back pocket. Thesis (M.Env.Mgt)--University of Tasmania, 1998. Includes bibliographical references

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