Panel Paper: Risk Perception and Environmental Justice: Predicting Flooding Behavior

Friday, July 20, 2018
Building 3, Room 211 (ITAM)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Donta Council, Old Dominion University

Public policies are most effective during the formulation of the problem consensus. As climate change and sea level rise proliferate policy agendas, understanding citizen perceptions and behaviors provide insight to the best alternatives in mitigating potentially harmful effects of environmental threats. The second most vulnerable region in the United States (Hampton Roads) to SLR and recurrent flooding is positioned by two bodies of water, the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. As projections of SLR and flooding are expected to increase over the next eighty years, appropriate planning to mitigate the impacts of climate change are essential to the quality of life of people. Drawing from data collected from citizens of Norfolk, Virginia, this qualitative phenomenological study sought to explore the next wave of environmental justice at the intersection of climate change. The central research questions of this study are 1) What are the perceptions of SLR? 2) How are residents responding to SLR? Using the Protection Motivation Theory framework, the findings of this study suggests that contrary to previous studies, self-efficacy yielded to be the most influential construct in predicting behavioral intention to threats. The main implication from this study is to bridge the academic-practitioner gap and provide a toolbox that gives voice to and addresses the need for equity in policy decision making.