THE ROLE OF SOCIO-ENVIRONMENTAL REPORT CARDS IN TRANSDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION AND ADAPTIVE GOVERNANCE FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Nguyen, Vanessa Vargas
Dennison, William C
MetadataShow full item record
Addressing sustainability challenges and overcoming environmental problems requires fundamental societal changes. However, communicating these issues and convincing people to act is challenging. One emerging science communication tool that can accommodate this need is boundary-spanning report cards. Report cards were originally used as a tool for assessing and communicating ecosystem health conditions, but there are a growing number of report cards that incorporate socio-economic values. My dissertation focuses on investigating the role of socio-environmental report cards in addressing sustainability challenges. My research question was centered around whether considering human dimensions and understanding the links between natural and social components of socio-environmental systems can lead to a productive collaboration. This collaboration can lead to positive actions that contribute to a sustainable future. My research has two major themes:1) Evaluation of report cards and 2) Evolution of the report card process. First, I found that report cards from a diversity of locations can lead to environmental literacy and promote sustainable actions and positive environmental change. Then, using the Mississippi River Watershed report card as a case study, I demonstrated that report cards are boundary objects that can serve as a platform for transdisciplinary collaboration and serve as a catalyst for collective action. I also established that various report cards in the Chesapeake Bay watershed were able to enhance adaptive governance by facilitating continual learning and cross-scale exchange of information between different organizations. My results highlighted the evolution of report cards from a product created to increase awareness and education about environmental issues, to a process that engages stakeholders. My conclusion is that report cards should include both social and environmental indicators and the process needs to be stakeholder-driven and action-oriented. I developed a framework and a theory of change to guide how socio-environmental report cards can address sustainability challenges and applied it in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. By creating a holistic assessment that balances environmental, economic, and social concerns, socio-environmental report cards incorporate multiple perspectives from multisectoral actors. Thus, socio-environmental report cards can enhance adaptive governance and provide the foundation for collaborative solutions for sustainable resource management.