Date of this Version
Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 2015
Our global society is becoming increasingly aware of the way the climate is changing worldwide and the consequences that will result from those changes. An individual’s level of concern for the environment will likely affect how willing they are to engage in and support behaviors that aim to preserve the natural world. This study aimed to determine how local environmental literacy, degree program type and college grade level impact environmental concern. Two surveys were used in this project: one to measure environmental concern and one to measure local environmental literacy. The survey measuring environmental concern was the Revised New Ecological Paradigm scale. The demographic questions, environmental literacy test and revised NEP survey were assembled into one survey consisting of 38 questions and distributed online. A significant difference was found between average Revised NEP scores for each category of degree program. There was no significant difference between average revised NEP scores and college grade level or local environmental knowledge and revised NEP score. Students who major in agricultural sciences tend to display much lower levels of environmental concern. Ultimately, consideration and concern for the natural world is an important quality that must be expanded in all societies. Acceptance of the New Ecological Paradigm must happen for people to support and promote true environmental sustainability and responsibility. The sooner we can untangle the root causes of this important trait, the sooner we can cultivate a commonly shared, pro-ecological mindset within all societies that can be used to mitigate climate change, protect the earth, and sustain humankind.