Examining the Relationship between Environmental Attitudes and Behaviour in Education Programmes

Behavioural Views in Environmentalism

Changing attitudes toward the environment has long been a goal of education programmes focused on helping students change their environmental behaviour. The relationship between environmental attitudes and personal behaviour changes, however, is complex. The purpose of the present study was to explore these relationships in two groups of children who participated in an earth education programme Earthkeepers, which was designed to affect both attitudes and behaviour. In stage one, the environments attitudes and behaviours of children in the United States before and after participating in the programme were compared. Children whose attitudes changed the most after the programme were the most likely to demonstrate the adoption of new proenvironmental behaviours. In stage two, a sample of Czech students who had participated in the Earthkeepers programme one year earlier completed the attitude instrument again and were interviewed. Most students maintained the attitude changes made during the programme. Some also maintained the behaviour changes one year later while others did not, often due to pressure from social norms or the lack of on-going motivation. The study suggests the importance of attitude change in promoting environmental behaviour while also noting the need for additional support for maintaining these changes in the long term.

Klíčová slova:
environmental attitudes; environmental behaviour; environmental education; Earth education; Earthkeepers

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