Reframing plastic through experiences at a beach clean-up : a frame analysis of experience-based learnings at a beach clean-up for creating knowledge, building responsibility and motivation to shape individuals’ pro-environmental plastic behaviours

Detta är en Master-uppsats från SLU/Dept. of Urban and Rural Development

Sammanfattning: The plastic crisis is one of the major environmental challenges of our times. Plastic pollution impacts our health, water, tourism, fishing and overall ecosystem. Plastic debris has accumulated in natural habitats from the poles to the equator. Plastics, defined as synthetic materials composed of polymers, are incredibly versatile: they are inexpensive, lightweight, strong, durable, and corrosion-resistant, with high thermal and electrical insulation properties. Whilst plastic consumption only started a few decades ago, today societies are deeply entrenched in the everyday use of plastic. Literature reveals that the current plastic crisis is sustained through a collective blindness towards plastic and a diffusion of responsibility for the crisis. Behavioural change studies focusing on methods to implement pro-environmental plastic behaviours through a top-down approach, such as providing incentives and nudges to change behaviour, have been shown to be limitedly successful; missing out on involving the individual in the process and creating intrinsic motivation. This study takes a bottom-up approach, focusing on how an individual can change their perception of plastic, understand responsibility, create motivation to contribute to combatting the crisis, and, ultimately, ideally change their plastic behaviours. This can be best grasped through the study of individuals’ plastic frames. Frames provide people with interpretative lenses to make sense of what is going on and indicate what would be an appropriate way to react. In the research, the experiences of individuals at beach clean-up events in Valencia, Spain have been used as the test bed. At a beach clean-up event towards the end of winter, seventeen semi-structured interviews were conducted investigating the experience of participation in relation to plastic. Over a month later, through purposive sampling, a selected number of five interviewees was again profoundly interviewed to further investigate what impacts the participation had had on their everyday life, leading to the extraction of three plastic frames. To conclude, this study offers an empirical exploration on how the experience at a beach clean-up shapes individuals’ plastic frames, and presents the resulting consequences in everyday life.

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