Environmental awareness represents an understanding of the values of nature and the value of human activity associated with nature. As such, it is a socially constructed phenomenon and is culturally defined. It reflects global ideas but also the specific social, economic, political and physical world in which the citizens live and varies as their situation vary. In 1 975, the Belgrade Charter proposed a global framework for environmental education, in which the goal of environmental education was “to develop a world population that is aware of, and concerned for, the environment and its associated problems” (UNESCO-LIKEN, 1976).
The Tidbits Report built upon the Belgrade Charter with a goal to foster clear awareness f, and concern about economic, social, political and ecological interdependence in urban and rural areas. In 1992, The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development prepared a framework for international action known as Agenda 21 . Chapter 36, “Promoting Education, Awareness and Training”, called on nations to integrate environmental education at all levels. It was against the background that Hong Kong issued and implemented its environmental education curricula across the school system.
In 1999, the Curriculum Development Council published a revised “Guidelines for Environmental Education’ and viewed schools as having an essential role to play in cultivating students with environmental knowledge, environmental awareness and positive attitudes, well environmentally responsible behavior (Lee, 1997). Promoting environmental awareness and understanding was seen as the first step to achieving environmental literacy and has been accepted as a key objective of environmental education.
However, environmental consciousness and awareness, as suggested by Cockerels (1989) and Castles (1 992), vary with socio-economic status (SEES) of individual. Hamilton (1990) and Whalen (1994) argue that lower socio- economic status people may be more sensitive to environmental problems and more concerned than those in more socially advantaged circumstances. Such people have the most dangerous and dirty jobs and most often live in blighted urban areas near busy roads, toxic waste sites, polluting factories, power lines and contaminated water.
On the other hand, Evans (1994) has argued that low SEES people have greater threat of unemployment in comparison with middle class counterparts and that such stress can have adverse consequences. Environmental responsibility becomes ignored in the search for security (Disinter, 1985). Economic insecurity reduces the capacity to plan and achieve control over their environment. Omaha (1985) thus pointed out that individuals from advantaged socioeconomic groups seem more likely to act in self interest having greater access to resources in their social networks and further they are likely to be more confident in doing so.
Cockerels (1989), Castles (1992) and Omaha (1985) used the framework of social capital to analyses the citizens’ environmental contexts. Coleman (1988) views social capital as the set of resources that are inherent in family relations and in community social organization and that are useful or the cognitive or social development of a child or young person. Colleen’s (1998) theoretical model includes three forms of social capital, namely social networks, trusting relationships, and norms such as reciprocity. Figure 1. Shows the contexts of social capital 2 developed by Coleman (1998). Social networks are channels for sharing valuTABLE information about potential opportunities and risk as well as information about adherence to norms or expectations (Coleman, 1998). The content and quality of these social relations in social capital terms refers to norms of trust and reciprocity which operate within these structures. Measuring norms involves the study of socio-economic status and cultures within particular networks (Stone, 2001 Figure 1. : Elements Of Social Capital 1 The individual constructs his or her social capital though social networks of family, work or school, friends, neighborhood. This research emphasizes how social capital inherent in the parent-child relations in families and in the teacher-student relations in schools helps young people to develop their environmental awareness. It uses the framework of social capital developed by Broodier (1 986), Coleman (1988), Marjoram’s and Kook (1998), Amatol 1998), Katz (1999) and Stone (2001).
These authors focus upon quantity and quality of parent-child relations and teacher-student relations, and empirical indicators of such relations for developing social capital of 1 Extracted from: https://www. Maps . Com 3 youth. Katz (1999) has highlighted how the teacher-student relationships as an element of social capital influences student learning and achievement positively when teachers were capTABLE of combining high expectations and care. Both social capital in the family and the school are crucial to the development of environmental awareness. 12.
Aim and its Significance The ultimate aim of this research is to compare the level of environmental awareness and understanding of young people with different social capital embedded in family and school contexts. It uses young people from two contrasting types of Hong Kong schools, namely an aided school and an international school. Awareness of the environment and environmental problems are prerequisites to appropriate environmental action (Hundredfold and Folk, 1990). The overall level of environmental awareness, knowledge, and actions of Hong Kong young people has well documented by Stepson (2000).
His duty targeted students aged between 14 and 17 from typical schools in Hong Kong and did not differentiate beјmen students This study examines young people with different cultural and socio-economic background. It considers two distinctive cultural groups, namely Chinese immigrant students and international school students in Hong Kong. The research outcome is of potential significance to environmental educationists in different school systems and government officers in Hong Kong when formulating policies of environmental education in formal and informal settings for students with different backgrounds.
The formation of environmental awareness depends not only the respondent’s social and economic situation, but also on the specific school cultures. The contexts of school climate including orientation in environmental studies, classroom practices, 4 pedagogical approach, the style of training of the teachers, the resources availTABLE, the textbook and classroom activities play a vital role in the formation of young people’s environmental concepts (Barbara & Wallboard, 2002).
There is a strong need to compare young people’s awareness towards nature and environment in different learning environment. Ghent and Hosing (2003) has claimed that clarifying and understanding the different awareness across diverse social and educational backgrounds was one of the important steps toward solving the current environmental problems and provides a rationale for this study. 1. 3 Conceptual Framework Social capital consists of networks of social relations which are characterized by norms footrest and reciprocity.
Winter (AAA) argued these combined elements help to sustain civil society and enTABLE people to act for mutual benefit. Social capital involves ‘the quality of social relationships between individuals that affect their capacity to add Reese and resolve problems they face in common’ (Stewart-Weeks & Richardson 1998, p. 2. ). The research uses the concept of social capital to examine the effect of the parent-children in families and teacher-student relations in schools on young people’s environmental contexts.
It is argued attuning people with high social capital are enTABLEd to access resources about environmental knowledge and are embedded in the networks of different connections. The concept of using social capital to explain environmental awareness is illustrated in Figure 1. . Social capital is characterized by the two core dimensions Of social capital which are social networks and norms Of trust and reciprocity. Conceptualizing social relations as networks enTABLEs the identification of the structure of social relations as well as their content (Named, 1957).
The quality of these social relations in 5 Figure 1 . 2. Conceptual Framework of Social Capital Affecting Environmental Awareness And Countermanding In The Research Norm / Value/ Socio-Economic Background Network Social Capital in Family and School Trust Environmental Beliefs Reciprocity Ability to identify environmental problems Environmental Awareness And Understanding Concern for the state of the environment Readiness to take environmentally concerned actions 6 social capital terms refers to norms of trust and reciprocity that operate within these structures.
Measuring norms involves the study of socio- economic status and cultures within particular networks (Stone, 2001). Coleman (1988) describes the norms governing social relations within networks and shows that norms of trust and reciprocity are themselves closely related conceptually and thus empirically. Trust, according to Fauvism (1 995 p. 26) is ‘the expectation that arises within a community of regular, honest and cooperative behavior, based on commonly shared norms, on the part of other members of that community.
Reciprocity is the process of exchange within a social relationship whereby ‘goods and services’ given by one party are repaid to that party by the party who received the original ‘goods and services’ (Stone, 2001 A sense of obligation to reciprocate or a motivation to act environmentally for a common goal may for example be used as indicators of a norm of reciprocity. In the framework adapted, parents and teachers play central roles as facilitators of the colonization processes for youth’s development of environmental awareness and concepts. . 4 Research Questions This research examines the relationship between social capital and the level of environmental awareness and understanding in the particular context of two contrasting schools. One has social capital context based with an aided secondary school whilst another one is based with an international school. Five major questions guide the study: (1) What is the level of environmental awareness? . What is level of environmental awareness of the Chinese immigrant young people in aided secondary school? 7 b.
What is the level of environmental awareness of the young people in the international school? (2) What is the level of social capital inherent in parent-children relations in the families? A. What is level of social capital inherent in parent-children relations among the Chinese immigrant young people in the aided secondary school? B. What is the level of social capital inherent in parent-children relations among the young people in the international school? 3) What is the level of social capital inherent in teacher-student relations in schools? . What is the level of social capital inherent in teacher-student relations among the Chinese immigrant young people in the aided secondary school? B. What is the level of social capital inherent in teacher-student relations among the young people in the international school? (4) What are similarities and differences of the level of environmental awareness, social capital inherent in parent-children relations in families, and social capital inherent in teacher-student relations in schools of the two ropes of young people? A.
To compare the level of environmental awareness of the Chinese immigrant young people in the aided secondary school and the students in the international school? B. To compare the level of social capital inherent in parent-children relations of the c. Chinese immigrant young people in the aided secondary school and the young people in the c. To compare the level of social capital inherent in teacher-student relations the young people in the international school? (5) What is the influence of the social capital upon young people’s level of environmental awareness and understanding? 8 a.
How does social capital, inherent in parent-children relations in family, affect young people’s level of environmental awareness? B. How does social capital, inherent in teacher-students relations in school, 1. 5 Research Approach and Conclusion In this research, an interpretative, comparative approaches were adopted. Quantitative and qualitative methods were combined through questionnaires and interviews respectively. The findings are based on questionnaires and interviews collected from the young people in the two contrasting schools. The rationale of using such approaches is further explained in Chapter Three.
In structuring literature review, studies looking at the concept of environmental awareness and its relation to environmental concern, understanding and behavior will be discussed. Next, examples of research on social capital are presented focusing upon theoretical development, measurement of social capital, and its usefulness in the analysis of one’s environmental awareness. Lastly, attention is turned to the emergent research on the influence of social capital embedded in family and school on level of environmental awareness. 2. 2 Environmental Awareness and Understanding
The aim of discuss understanding of (I) the meaning of term ‘environmental awareness’, (ii) the relationship between awareness, concern, attitude and pro-environmental behavior, and (iii)the usefulness of using awareness as a tool in research. 22. 1 Meaning of Environmental Awareness and Understanding Linked (1980) and You (1992) view environmental awareness as the ability of a man to realism an existing connection between human activity and the state Of the environment, and to favor a safe and healthy environment and the conservation of nature.
Potentate (2000) has summarized the main characteristics of environmental awareness as: a concern for the state of the environment; 10 – an ability to identify the source of environmental threat; – a recognition of a safe and healthy environment as socially valuTABLE; – an understanding of the necessity to take personal part in prevention, protest, creation, and other collective actions; – a readiness to take a personal part in environmentally concerned actions. Environmental awareness represents the coherent interaction of “perception understanding – action”.
Borden and Stetting (1970), for example, suggest that environmental knowledge has a 11 relatively small effect on willingness to adopt responsible action arguing that there is no ineviTABLE direct causal relationship between knowledge and intention to act. An increase in knowledge and awareness does not always lead to pro-environmental behavior (Hang, Kim & Gene, 2002). Environmental understanding and pro-environmental behavior can be examined from different perspectives reflecting the various factors at work.
According to the literature on responsible environmental behavior (Hines et al. , 1986), factors influencing environmental behavior related variTABLEs can be grouped into cognitive, affective and situational factors. Cognitive factors are related to knowledge of environment including issue, action skill and tragedies. Affective variTABLEs include the feelings defined by attitude, SOCIO of control, responsibility, and norms. Situational factors include economic constraints, social pressures and opportunities to choose actions.
Knowledge about issue, as a cognitive variTABLE, is thus merely one of that factors helps to explain pro-environmental behavior. The question is the degree to which cognitive factors related to behavior change. Columbus and Seaman (2002) have reviewed research on the relationship between environmental understanding and environmental behavior and include that there is no apparent correlation between knowledge and pro- environmental behavior.
Citing the work of Fifteen and Kelsey (1981) and Blake (1999), they sought to explain the barriers and variTABLEs that influence pro-environmental behavior. Fifteen and Kelsey (1981) highlighted five variTABLEs affecting pro-environmental behavior, namely Attitude and value, Possibilities to act ecologically, Behavioral incentives Perceived feedback about ecological behavior, Knowledge. Blake (1999) saw the attitude-behavior gap as a Value-Action Gap. He identified individuality, 12 accessibility, and practicality as potential barriers to developing pro- environmental behavior.
He showed that people’s sense of environmental protection tended to be overruled by laziness, lack of interest, lack of trust, lack of time and money. You and Stepson (1997) noted that many students in Hong Kong were not motivated to think how to act environmentally and that learning approach in schools was restricted to an entry or surface level. Learning was limited to acquisition of knowledge (You & Stepson, 1997). This is attribuTABLE to traditional teaching methods in Hong Kong and a quantitative rather than