What is my EcoType, and what does it mean?
If you’ve taken the (draft summer 2021) EcoTypes survey, you’ve received a report that places you in one of five EcoTypes. This page will help you answer the question above.
The EcoTypes survey has remained consistent from January 2019 through May 2021. During this period of time over 2500 college students—mostly from the U.S. and the vast majority undergraduates—completed the survey. Based on cluster analysis of theme scores (themselves derived from axis scores), five predominant EcoTypes were identified, and named to reflect their theme characteristics.
Your survey scores were compared to these EcoTypes to find the closest one to you…your EcoType! Essentially, you get to see how you compare with over 2500 other students in your environmental ideas—all 15 EcoTypes axes as summarized via the three themes of Place, Knowledge, and Action.
It’s possible that you scored relatively close to several EcoTypes, or that another one seems to resonate more with you; thus your report also indicated how far away you are from all five EcoTypes. However you relate to your designated EcoType, it’s worth learning about all five, so that you can better understand your own environmental ideas in comparison to those of other students.
The five EcoTypes, all derived from statistical analysis of over 2500 student survey responses, each bear a distinctive combination of theme poles. Here they are, with prevalence and distinctive gender/race characteristics noted. (Please consult the three EcoTypes themes of Place, Knowledge, and Action if you need clarification on each.)
- Small is Beautiful (35.9% of all respondents, particularly male/nonwhite): Small Action. The most prevalent EcoType, Small is Beautiful expresses a longstanding sentiment among environmentalists who distrust large-scale processes and solutions, and prefer local approaches to address environmental issues. Small is Beautiful respondents did not differ much from other respondents in their Place and Knowledge theme scores; this EcoType is defined solely by its small Action inclination.
- Ecoscience (17.9%, particularly white): Nonhuman Place + New Knowledge. Ecoscience joins a strong preference for nonhuman Place with an equally strong preference for new Knowledge. Here, for example, might be those who support conservation biology to preserve nonhuman species. Ecoscience does not display any distinctive Action characteristics.
- Ecopirituality (16.6%, particularly female/white): Nonhuman Place + Old Knowledge. Similar to Ecoscience, Ecospirituality includes a strong preference for nonhuman Place, but eschews science in favor of old Knowledge emanating, for example, from spiritual and wisdom traditions. Like Ecoscience, Ecospirituality is not unique relative to all responses in terms of Action.
- Indigenous Justice (16.0%, particularly female or other gender): Big Action + Old Knowledge + Human Place. As contrasted with Small is Beautiful, Indigenous Justice embraces big Action, much along the lines of social justice movements, and as such also embraces human Place in focusing on inequities among people. Yet Indigenous Justice grounds big Action and human Place in old Knowledge, advocating Indigenous and other ancient traditions. The Action preference of Indigenous Justice is bigger than all other EcoTypes.
- Science for Humanity (13.7%, particularly male): New Knowledge + Human Place. Science for Humanity, the final EcoType, joins new Knowledge and human Place. Here, for example, might be those who advocate the application of climate science to avert human disasters in future. Though not as big as Indigenous Justice, Science for Humanity also tends toward big Action.
There they are!…five EcoTypes. Look not only at your closest EcoType from your survey report, but your Place, Knowledge, and Action scores, to better understand how you relate to all of them.
Here is another way to think of your EcoType in comparison to the others. These five EcoTypes occupy distinctive locations in a three-dimensional space defined by Place, Knowledge, and Action theme poles [statistics-ese: the three themes are orthogonal factors, statistically independent from each other].
But since three dimensions can be hard to visualize, the below diagrams compare the above features of these EcoTypes, first along the Place and Knowledge axes, then along the Action axis.
Where does your EcoType, and where do your theme results, place you on these axes?