Environmental Action Scale


Alisat, S., & Riemer, M. (2015). The environmental action : Development and psychometric . Journal of Environmental Psychology, 43, 13–23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2015.05.006


This tool was developed by researchers Susan Alisat and Manuel Riemer. Initial development of the survey was reviewed by experts in the field. It was then pilot tested by students from a Canadian university and non-students in the U.S. recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk ages 16 - 68 years. A final of the was tested with students from different countries and environmental activists. Participants were 18 - 64 years old and from Bangladesh, Germany, India, Uganda, and the U.S. 


Survey. An 18-item survey with the prompt for all ““In the last six months, how often, if at all, have you engaged in the following environmental activities and actions?” Response choices are on a five point scale, 0 (never) through 2 (sometimes) to 4 (frequently).


Youth and adults, ages 16 years and older. 

When and how to use the tool 

This tool would be best used in programs that are interested in teaching about or influencing environmental action. The survey could be used as a one time measure or as a pre- and for programs most likely several weeks or months long. Be sure your program specifically addresses environmental action if you chose to use this tool. For example, programs that have environmental action often do things like focus on root causes of environmental issues, political participation, , systems thinking, or raising critical consciousness. 

How to analyze 

We recommend entering survey responses into spreadsheet using a program such as Microsoft Excel. Create a spreadsheet with 18 columns for the 18 statements and a row for each individual. Assign each survey a , and enter each individual’s responses (ranging from 0 to 4) across the corresponding row. Enter a dot if the response was skipped.

Create an average score for each individual by adding all of their responses and dividing by the number of questions answered. Do not include skipped questions for which you entered a dot. The average will be between 0 and 4. Higher scores indicate a higher frequencyof in environmental action. 

For more information on how to do data analysis for data such as this, we recommend MEERA which will discuss in more detail steps to collect data and analyze data. These instructional videos from EvalFest may also be helpful to learn more about data organization, tips for Excel, and data analysis. 

What to do next 

Once you’ve administered your survey and analyzed the data, consider the following suggestions about what to do next: 

  • If you used this scale once as a baseline measurement, you may want to consider those scores in designing programming. If participants scored low, you may want to design a program to increase collective action behaviors. 
  • Is there a particular item, out of the 18, that participants scored higher or lower in? This may be interesting to investigate when considering behavior components to target in future programming. 
  • If you used this scale to evaluate your program by administering a pretest and posttest, do you see a change in scores between the two ? Keep in mind you may not see a change in actions, particularly if your program is short in duration or is not designed to influence collective action behaviors. 
  • Invite program staff or other partners to look over the data. Together you might consider: 
    • What do these results tell us about our programming, are we building environmental action competence? Why do we think we got these results?
    • What scores did we think we would see with respect to environmental action? And did these data support our goals?
    • If our results did not support our goals, can we brainstorm on areas within the programming or delivery to increase behavior scores?
    • Who in our community should we out to for collaboratively discussing program design?
    • Who or what organizations can we share our learning with?

How to see if this tool would work with your program

To assess whether the tool is appropriate for your audience, please review the items carefully and pilot test the tool with a small group that represents your . To pilot test, ask a small group of willing participants who are part of your target audience to talk to you as they complete the tool. What are they thinking when they read each item? What experiences come to mind when they respond? As long as this is what you expect and you will gain relevant information from your evaluation, you are on the right track! If the answers are different for each person, and they should be more similar given their experiences, you may need to look at other tools. If the problems are minor, and limited to changing a few words to make them simpler or more relevant, you could revise the language in the tool. 

Tool Tips 

  • Survey is suggested to be used in its entirety.
  • Survey will take about 10 minutes to complete. Be sure to allow ample program time for participants to complete the survey.
  • This survey can be used as a paper copy or can be formatted to be completed online by using Google Forms or Survey Monkey.