Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Exploring the Relations Between Childhood Experiences in Nature and Young Adults’ Environmental Attitudes and Behaviours

  • Catherine Broom (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

This article presents the findings of a research study with young adults who explored the connections between their early childhood experiences in nature and their attitudes and actions towards the environment in adulthood. Drawing on E. Wilson's (1984) work, environmental or ecological consciousness is theorised to connect to ecological identity and relates to an individual's deep reflection on, connection to, and engagement with the natural environment. The study's survey tool invited young adults to select various options that described their experiences in nature as children and their views of, and actions towards, the environment in the present. The findings illustrated connections between childhood experiences in nature and later views of, and actions towards, the environment. The correlations between expressed views about caring for the environment and environmentally friendly actions were surprising, however, as actions did not necessarily align with beliefs. The article concludes with recommendations based on the findings, outlining how positive attitudes and actions towards the environment may be fostered in childhood.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Catherine Broom, PhD, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, 1137 Alumni Avenue, University of British Columbia, Okanagan, Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7, Canada. Email: catherine.broom@ubc.ca
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

M. Barnetta , M. Houle Vaughn , E. Strauss , & L. Cotter (2011). Urban environmental education: Leveraging technology and ecology to engage students in studying the environment. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 20, 199214.

R.D. Bixler , C. Carlisle , W. Hammitt , & M. Floyd (1994). Observed fears and discomforts among urban students on field trips to wildland areas. The Journal of Environmental Education, 26, 2433.

L. Chawla (1998). Significant life experiences revisited: A review of research on sources of environmental sensitivity. Journal of Environmental Education, 29, 369382.

L. Chawla (1999). Life paths into effective environmental action. Journal of Environmental Education, 31, 1526.

L. Chawla (2001). Significant life experiences revisited once again: Response to vol. 5 (4) ‘Five critical commentaries on significant life experience research in environmental education’. Environmental Education Research, 7, 451461.

L. Chawla (2006a). Research methods to investigate significant life experiences: Review and recommendations. Environmental Education Research, 12, 359374.

J.C. Cheng , & M.C. Monroe (2012). Connection to nature: Children's affective attitude toward nature. Environment and Behavior, 44, 3149.

G. Çobana , E. Akpı nara , E. Küçükcankurtaranb , E. Yı ldı zc , & Ö. Ergina (2011). Elementary school students’ water awareness. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 20, 6583.

J. Davis (2010). Young children and the environment. Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press.

S. Gough (1999). Significant life experiences (SLE) research: A view from somewhere. Environmental Education Research, 5, 353363.

A. Howley , M. Howley , V. Camper , & H. Perko (2011). Place-based education at Island Community School. The Journal of Environmental Education, 42, 216236.

E. Kals , D. Schumacher , & L. Montada (1999). Emotional affinity toward nature as a motivational basis to protect nature. Environment and Behavior, 31, 178202.

J. Kennelly , N. Taylor , & P. Serow (2012). Early career primary teachers and education for sustainability. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 21, 139153.

L.R. Larson , G. Green , & S.B. Castleberry (2011). Construction and validation of an instrument to measure environmental orientations in a diverse group of children. Environment and Behavior, 43, 7289.

S. Reinfrieda , U. Aeschbacherb , & B. Rottermann (2012). Improving students’ conceptual understanding of the greenhouse effect using theory-based learning materials that promote deep learning. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 21, 155178

C. Rice , & J. Torquati (2013). Assessing connections between young children's affinity for nature and their experiences in natural outdoor settings in preschools. Children, Youth and Environments, 23, 78102.

T. Tanner (1980). Significant life experiences: A new research area in environmental education. Journal of Environmental Education, 11, 2024.

T. Tanner (1998). On the origins of SLE research, questions outstanding, and other research traditions. Environmental Education Research, 4, 419423.

C. Ward Thompson , P. Aspinall , & A. Montarzino (2008). The childhood factor: Adult visits to green places and the significance of childhood experience. Environment and Behavior, 40, 111143.

R. Wilson (Ed.). (1994). Environmental education at the early childhood level. Washington, DC: North American Association for Environmental Education.

R. Wilson (1996). Environmental education programs for preschool children. The Journal of Environmental Education, 27, 2833.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Australian Journal of Environmental Education
  • ISSN: 0814-0626
  • EISSN: 2049-775X
  • URL: /core/journals/australian-journal-of-environmental-education
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 6
Total number of PDF views: 169 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1050 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 16th February 2017 - 26th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.