David Bucy

Why Aren’t They Listening When We Talk?   The Need to Change the Communication Paradigm

We cannot protect all the resources we need to sustain life through set-asides alone. We need people to lead sustainable lifestyles. Communication can be an effective tool in the struggle to create a sustainable society, but only if we learn how to communicate in ways that inspire and guide behavioral change. Based on his 35 years of experience planning information networks to support visitor experiences in wildlife refuges, parks, museums, botanical gardens, and other destinations focused on conserving cultural and natural resources—reinforced by his study of communications research—Dave Bucy explains why most communication efforts seeking to catalyze social change fall short. Bucy advocates nothing less than a paradigm shift in communication designed to motivate people to want to practice sustainable behaviors and lead more sustainable lifestyles. 

 Dr. David Bucy

For over 35 years, Dave Bucy has developed programs to conserve natural and cultural resources and foster sustainable behaviors in all corners of the globe. His work is based on deep knowledge and rigorous evaluation of the dominant communication paradigms interpretive planners use to enhance the public’s appreciation of environmental and cultural heritage sites. Bucy is adept at designing multimodal experiential learning environments that shape perceptions, change behaviors, and empower cultural institutes, government agencies, and other organizations to accomplish real-world conservation goals.

As a consultant, Bucy works with a variety of conservation organizations to improve their success rate in using interpretation and visitor experiences to reach conservation goals. Recent projects include interpretive planning for a World Heritage Site in China, evaluating visitor opportunities in a World Biosphere Reserve in the Province of Khakassia of the Russian Federation, and providing training and consulting services to the National Museum of New Zealand. He is currently focused on assisting the US Fish & Wildlife Service in creating a conservation constituency by developing more effective visitor experiences at wildlife refuges around the country. Education includes undergraduate work in environmental interpretation and a PhD in Communication Theory.

Previous Symposium Keynote Speakers

  • David Kelleher

  • John Flicker, President of Prescott College

  • Activist and artist Melanie DeMore

  • Dr. Craig Chalquist, department chair of East-West Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies and a former core faculty member in the Department of Consciousness & Transformative Studies at John F. Kennedy University

  • Dr. Mitchell Thomashow, Director of the Second Nature Presidential Fellows Program
  • Bryant Terry, chef, food justice activist, and author
  • Jaimie Cloud, Founder and President of the Cloud Institute for Sustainability in Education
  • Andres Edwards, Sustainability consultant, educator, entrepreneur, and award-winning author
  • Ron Goode, Chairman of the North Fork Mono Tribe
  • Dr. Sandy Grande, Associate professor and Chair of the Education Department at Connecticut College
  • Dr. Devon Peña, Professor of American Ethnic Studies, Anthropology, and the Program on the Environment at the University of Washington
  • Gibrán Rivera, Senior Associate at the Interaction Institute for Social Change