Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Environmental Sciences and Management


Natural Resources Management


College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Priya Verma

Advisor 2

Seeta Sistla

Advisor Department

Natural Resources Management

Advisor College

College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Carbon neutrality has become an important focus for many municipalities, with the inclusion of mitigation measures targeted at the residential sector becoming increasingly prominent for the implementation of climate action plans (CAPs). However, many analyses fall short in identifying the barriers and motivations faced by residents to adopting pro-environmental actions in their daily lives, focusing instead on the available actions themselves. This research aims to identify both the barriers and motivations to adopting pro-environmental behaviors and assess their relationship(s) to key demographic variables, along with climate change perceptions. Using the city of San Luis Obispo (SLO) as a case study, this project used an online residential engagement survey administered to the general public through several mechanisms, including in-person and online platforms. The study reveals that the greatest barrier to SLO residents’ implementing pro-environmental behaviors is affordability, with accessibility coming in second, and the most common motivation is climate change concerns. The results further indicate that ranking climate change concerns higher on a scale of 1 to 10 significantly increase the chance of selecting climate change as a primary motivation for adopting pro-environmental behavior. Additionally, we found significant variability among those of differing socioeconomic status (SES) in selection of barriers. These results suggest that SLO should address the most pertinent identified barriers through structural solutions, with an emphasis on their varied distribution across demographic groups, while continuing to encourage existing motivations. Such efforts would help SLO move toward necessary greenhouse gas emission reductions to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.