5th UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Angela Lindsey
Session Name Achieving Behavior Change: Public perceptions and awareness of water conservation issues 2
Author(s) Tracy  Irani,  UF
  Angie  Lindsey,  UF
  Kacie Pounds, UF (Presenting Author)
  The role of social capital, risk perceptions and adaptive capacity five years after the DWH oil spill.
  The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill was an extreme event considered to be the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history, sending an estimated 4.1 million barrels of oil and 2.1 million barrels of dispersants into the Gulf of Mexico and impacting over 1,600 kilometers of coastal shoreline. Gulf coast residents, whether they directly observed the effects of the spill or, like many others, were exposed to it through the long running coverage in the media, were adversely affected physiologically, psychologically, economically and emotionally. These effects have persisted for many to this day, which may create ongoing challenges for adaptively managing future risks. In addition to the ecological and human health effects, the spill also influenced residents’ perceptions, attitudes and levels of satisfaction with their communities’ response and preparedness for future disasters. This presentation will examine results of a public opinion survey conducted on the fifth anniversary of the spill with residents (N = 444) living in areas along the eastern gulf coast of Florida and Alabama. Results showed that respondents’ levels of satisfaction with their community post-spill significantly differed from pre-spill as a function of factors related to social capital (home ownership, employment status, the compensation claims process) and their perceptions as to the safety of eating locally caught seafood. Results from the study will be utilized to show how such factors can be integrated into an adaptive capacity framework designed to reduce community vulnerabilities and enhance preparedness for future extreme events.