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The Impact of Education Level on Individual Concern for the Environment

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Introduction

            Does education level impact individual concern for the environment? One may have noticed in his or her day to day routine the increasing public awareness on all related environment concerns. It seems that a direct correlation exists between one’s level of education and his or her concern for the environment. One might have observed as well that the main characteristic of those who have specific concerns with the environment has the intelligence to suggest alternative solutions. Considering these observations, it can be assumed that education plays a big factor in one’s awareness of and contribution to current environmental problems.

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But what about individuals with only average education credentials—are they at least aware of the present environmental concerns? Hence, this paper aims to collect data and analyze the results if there is indeed a correlation. The importance of this study can help us decide on what action is required to ensure awareness and concern for our environment.

Brief Review

            Environmental concern is defined as the affect or the emotion associated with beliefs about environmental problems.

[1] While past efforts to address environmental concerns have contributed to one’s understanding of the source of environmental concern on behavior as well as education , environmental concern, in a sense, involves sympathetic emotion (e.g., compassion towards the environment and love of motherland). Correspondingly, environmental behavior could be considered as one kind of altruistic behavior, whereby individuals take certain measures to protect the environment for the benefit of a community, an ethnic group, or all humanity.[2]

            The utility of beliefs regarding the motivational role played by three classes of outcomes in predicting environmentally-concerned behavior was examined in a survey conducted by Axelrod and Lehman.[3] The data were collected from two samples—undergraduate students and community residents. The three classes of outcome desires were those related to obtaining tangible rewards, those pertaining to social acceptance, and those derived from acting in accordance with one’s deeply held principles. General attitudes toward the natural environment and environmental protection, issue importance, level of perceived threat, and efficacy beliefs were also measured. Multiple regression analyses indicated that desires regarding principled and social outcomes explained a significant amount of variance in behavioral reports for the student sample, whereas desires related to tangible outcomes did so with the community sample. In support of a multivariate approach to the study of environmentally-concerned behavior, threat perception, issue importance, and efficacy constructs also accounted for a significant portion of variance in behavioral reports. Theoretical and applied implications were also discussed.[4]

The Social Impact Theory introduced by social Psychologist Latane(1981) might provide some directions as to how perceived environmental responsibility should be related to environmental behavior.Generally speaking the social impact theory states that the impact of any social force acting on a group, the less impact the force has on any one member. Consequently, the larger the size the size of the group, the less pressure each person faces to perform well.[5] This social impact theory captures the concept of “diffusion of responsibility”[6]that is, as the size of the group increases, the ability for doing the job is diffused.

Conceptual Model

Variable
Definition
Method of Collection
Measure
Type

Dep. Variable
Environmental Concern
Survey
Indicate 1-10 how concerned you are with the environment
Nominal

Ind. Variable
Level of Education
Survey
Choices of level of education (fixed-choice)
Nominal

Control Variable
City Size
Observation
Find participants in the same city
Nominal

The conceptual model has only three significant variables to easily obtain the data required to answer the question. The main method of collection will be a survey to analyze whether the education level has an impact on one’s concern for environment. A fixed-choice measurement will be used to easily gather the respondents’ level of awareness of environmental issues. The dependent variable in this research will be determined by only one independent variable, education level. This  variable can quickly determine whether the environmental concern  has any significance at all.

Research Plan

            The survey will be distributed in a city. The choice of city is not really of importance as long as that city is populated with people with varied educational backgrounds. In the survey, the subjects will also be asked to provide details of their age group, gender, and demonstration of practical concern for the environment. The data gathered will be used for a cross-sectional analysis in order for groups in all of respondents to be compared at different ages with respect to the independent variable. The results of the survey will indicate the correlation either directly or indirectly of the impact of level of education towards concern of the environment.

           A serious threat to human beings and their environment is the continuous and accelerating overuse and destruction of natural resources. Bearing this in mind, it is unfortunate that efforts to permanently change people’s environmentally destructive behaviour through interventions has typically not been met with success. A necessary condition may be an increase in environmental concern and knowledge about the effects and consequences of the ongoing environmental deterioration for future generations. Studies are reviewed that have attempted to show (1) correlations between determinants, such as socio-demographic and/or psychological factors, and environmental concern, and (2) an impact of environmental concern on environmentally responsible behaviour. In general, correlations with background factors are weak. Factors affecting behaviour appear to be knowledge, internal locus of control (positive control beliefs), personal responsibility, and perceived threats to personal health. [7]

Bibliography

Bibb Latane. The Psychology of Social Impact.American Psychologist,  36(1981):343-356

Lawrence Axelrod and Darrin Lehman. “Responding to environmental concerns: What    factors guide individual action?.” Journal of Environmental Psychology 13 no. 2       (1993): 149-159.

Lee, Kaman. Factors Promoting Effective Environmental Communication to Adolescents: A

            Study of Hongkong. Location: Publisher, 2008

Niklas Fransson and Tommy Garling, Environmental Concern, Journal of Environmental             Psychology vol 19 Issue 4 (1999):369-282

Schultz, P.W., Shriver, C., Tabanico, J.J. and  Khazian, A.M. “Implicit connections with

            Nature.” Journal of Environmental Psychology 24 (2004): 24-32.

[1]             . Schultz, P.W., Shriver, C., Tabanico, J.J. and  Khazian, A.M.  “Implicit connections with Nature,” Journal of Environmental Psychology 24 (2004): 24-32
[2]             . Kaman Lee, Factors Promoting Effective Environmental Communication to Adolescents: A Study of Hongkong (Hongkong, 2008), p. 28
[3]             . Lawrence Axelrod and Darrin Lehman., “Responding to environmental concerns: What factors guide individual action?,” Journal of Environmental Psychology 13 no. 2, (1993): 149-159.
[4]             . Ibid.

[5]    Bibb Latane. The Psychology of Social Impact.American Psychologist,  36(1981):343-356
[6]    Ibid.
[7]             Niklas Fransson and Tommy Garling, Environmental Concern, Journal of Environmental Psychology vol 19 Issue 4 (1999):369-282

Cite this The Impact of Education Level on Individual Concern for the Environment

The Impact of Education Level on Individual Concern for the Environment. (2016, Jul 07). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-impact-of-education-level-on-individual-concern-for-the-environment/

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