Green Attitudes or Learned Responses?

Marian Morris, Ian Schagen

01 December 1996

Under Phase III of the ESRC Research Programme into Global Environmental Change (GEC), environmental education was highlighted as an area for research support. This report is one of a series of outcomes of a project which addressed one of the central aims on the GEC programme, 'Can people be persuaded to make changes in behaviour - through reducing consumption, recycling or conserving resources?'

The research drew on survey data from staff in 294 schools in England and Wales, interviews with staff in 40 schools, and semi-projective questionnaires administered in 428 young people in Year 11. It focused on the relative impact of schools on:

  • students' overall environmental awareness;
  • their individual actions in the environment;
  • their environmental concerns;
  • their attitudes toward other people's actions;
  • their feeling of personal power in the environment.

The main finding that schools' provision of environmental educational was a key factor in developing students' awareness, raising concerns and promoting action, although their role in shaping young people's attitudes towards policies and practices in the environment was less significant than that of the media.

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