GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 295-13
Presentation Time: 4:30 PM


DOMENECH, Julia A., Earth and Atmospheric Science, Mississippi State University, 301-I Hilbun Hall, Mississippi State, MS 39762,

What drives water enthusiasts to knowingly enter coastal waters during health advisories when the risk for water borne illness is greater? Particularly after any severe storm events that produce contaminated runoff from urban areas that may enter their recreationally trafficked coastal water.

An examination of the overall geocognition of southern California lifeguards, surfers and other water enthusiast types may help researchers understand the tribal nature of this particular water community. Specifically, any resistance to altering their behavior despite pre-existing geoliteracy regarding pollution occurring in their coastal marine waters. Through the use of online surveys and personal interviews an investigation into a water enthusiast's geocognition may demonstrate common themes in water knowledge and any misconceptions that may exist throughout this particular coastal community.

Furthermore, does water bring humans together helping to foster a sense of place? Cultivating one’s water awareness through socio-cultural associations as well as through informal geoscience education may help raise awareness and combat common geoscience misunderstandings. Some researchers suggest that there is a need to engage a community with regard to the potential harm in their behaviors and associated hazardous activities. I argue that these risk orientated behaviors are unlikely to alter due to the community’s prevalent and deeply engrained socio-cultural nature.