Finding Hope on a Planet in Crisis: Combining Citizen Science and Tourism
This thesis is produced in conjunction with the documentary film Whale Chasers (a copy of this film is included in the back cover of this thesis). The film follows the progress of the annual Cook Strait Whale Project, a New Zealand-based citizen science project for conservation biology. The written thesis explores the origins, popularity and success of the contemporary citizen science movement, and its role in conservation biology and informal science education. It also explores the physical and mental health benefits of participation (a key component of the citizen science movement), and the potential for citizen science to inspire hope in times of ecological crisis. The new fields of hopeful tourism and positive psychology in tourism are then explored for their parallels with citizen science, with discussion of how the movements might be merged to create citizen science tourism experiences. A survey of local travellers and international tourists to New Zealand provides a complementary empirical investigation, assessing current interest and thus practical potential for citizen-science based tourism. This survey showed a strong desire among participants to be part of citizen science-ecotourism activities, and to increase their own wellbeing and that of the planet. With this in mind, and given the popularity of the Cook Strait Whale Project, the author recommends further exploration into how a thriving citizen-science industry might be built and maintained for long-term purpose of helping science, humans and the environment.
Advisor: Rock, Jenny; Filep, Sebastian
Degree Name: Master of Science Communication
Degree Discipline: Science Communication
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Citizen Science; science; documentary; New Zealand; hopeful tourism; tourism; ecotourism; science communication; scientific literacy; public participation; data collection; education; marine; research; science education; biology; nature-deficit-disorder; conservation; conservation biology; depression; mental health; green-space; mindfulness; Positive Psychology; PERMA; Flow; Optimism; humpback whales; Megaptera novaeangliae; Whales; whale-watching; oceania; climate change; illegal soviet whaling; Marine Metre Squared; New Zealand Marine Studies Centre
Research Type: Thesis