New behavioural research

In the last year, EcoAnalytics has broken new ground with two major quantitative surveys and three analytical reports on the values and behaviour of Canadians who support stronger environmental protection. The aim is to understand what distinguishes this minority, so that environmental groups can engage potential supporters more effectively.

Our research team, led by Drs Erick Lachapelle, Louise Comeau and Thomas Beckley, fielded the surveys simultaneously in  the spring of 2019: a Partner-Support Survey (n=2,653) of supporters of 12 influential Canadian environmental organizations; and a General Population Survey (n=3,458). These detailed surveys, which had nearly identical questionnaires, have generated a wealth of data on the values and behaviour of Canadians related to environmental protection that may be unprecedented.

Over the fall and winter the researchers dug deeply into the findings, and beginning in September, shared a series of four reports with Partners and Subscribers on key findings, with recommendations for stronger communications. Each was accompanied by an analytical webinar presented by the research team, in which Partners had time for questions and detailed discussion.

The reports were as follows (in reverse chronological order):

Radicals, reformers and lifestylers: Deepening engagement with diverse supporters of Canadian environmental groups. March 2020. By Erick Lachapelle. Among other topics, this compares the different theories of change of survey respondents about environmental protection with recommendations on talking about economic growth and radical systemic change.

Care of nature, care of community: Social interaction patterns of supporters of Canadian environmental groups. January 2020 By Louise Comeau. This report maps the constellation of other groups that environmental supporters interact with (political parties, social justice organizations, food security groups, etc.), providing Partners with rich information on where and how to recruit more receptive Canadians.

Millennial paradox: Engaging conflicted younger Canadians in environmental protection. November 2019, By Erick Lachapelle. The report draws mainly on results of our General Population survey to examine the psychological barriers -- or "dragons of inaction" -- that impede efforts to engage more youth in pro-environmental behaviour.

Cross-tabulated results of the Partner-Supporter and General Population Surveys: Initial highlights and summary, August 2019, By Erick Lachapelle, Louise Comeau, and Thomas Beckley. The surprising results in this presentation of the first "raw" results of the spring surveys, included that supporters of environmental groups are more supportive of radical systemic change and more politically engaged, yet fly more by than other Canadians.

Highly collaborative and trenchant research such as this, connecting leading environmental groups with top university researchers, is a distinguishing feature of EcoAnalytics.

The surveys and analyses described here was partly funded by a Partnership Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada, which ranked EcoAnalytics' proposal 4th out of over 200 applications received in 2018.

Note: Summary versions of the three latest analytical reports are available to all EcoAnalytics Partners and Subscribers. The full, unabridged reports, which include confidential data, are only available to groups that were formal partners in the original SSHRC grant proposal and gave access to their databases for recruitment of the Partner-Supporter Survey sample.