Climate change is one of the most urgent environmental challenges of the 21st century. Although the consequences can be observed all over the world, it is in the polar regions that the effects are most significant. To mitigate this problem, it is critical to raise awareness of the consequences of climate change.
A study at the School of Education of Bragança evaluated the perception of climate change by undergraduate students taking two courses on climate change: Social Education and Environmental Education. The researchers performed a total of 129 surveys on a non-probabilistic sample, focusing on the main topics within environmental studies. Misguiding questions were included in the surveys to test the knowledge of the subjects regarding climate change.
The researchers found that the perception of the students on climate change differed depending on the course they were taking. The students taking Environmental Education ranked medium, with an understanding of climate change processes closer to the facts. That is, their education and technical knowledge on the topic had a stronger influence on their perception of climate change.
In general, the students showed concern about the environment, but the will to act on it seemed to be lacking. Most of the students faced climate change as a critical issue that must be solved by various sectors of the society. Yet, there was a lack of scientific understanding or knowledge about climate processes and climate change. Further, most subjects identified the consequences of climate change, but did not connect those with the need to preserve the environment.
These results indicate that one of the main challenges moving forward will be to find strategies that allow more information and education about climate change, i.e., education on this topic is critical and should be implemented in the educational system. This will encourage students to take action and develop activities to match their concerns.
Source: Ramos, Ricardo. (2016). “Percepção dos alunos do ensino Superior face as alterações climáticas” Dissertação de Mestrado. Bragança. Escola Superior de Educação de Bragança. doi: https://bibliotecadigital.ipb.pt/handle/10198/13904
Author: Ricardo Ramos