Environment, resource sustainability and sustainable behaviour: exploring perceptions of students in South West Victoria
Wallis, Anne and Laurenson, Laurie 2004, Environment, resource sustainability and sustainable behaviour: exploring perceptions of students in South West Victoria, Asian journal of biology education, vol. 2, pp. 39-49.
The movement toward a sustainable future has begun in many parts of the world, as the seriousness of the environmental problems faced by the planet become more widely recognised. Waste reduction, improved efficiency of energy use, water saving devices and changes in modes of transport are the first steps in the transition to a sustainable future. The students of today will be the decision makers of tomorrow and, thus, can have a significant effect on future development and the environmental impacts of that development. If students today are to become active participants in the environmental decision-making process, education for sustainability becomes a key component in ensuring sustainable futures. There is a need to establish data describing students’ attitudes toward environmental and resource sustainability issues so that challenges to implementing sustainable development policy can be better recognised. The aims of this study were to identify the perceptions of students in the south west region of Victoria regarding environment and resource sustainability, and to identify their level of participation in sustainable behaviours. A survey of students has found that global environmental issues perceived by students as being in urgent need of attention were access to freshwater, loss of tropical rainforest and exhaustion of natural resources. At the local level the most urgent issues identified were water pollution, salinization and soil degradation, and clearing of native vegetation. Students perceive that Australians are overusing natural resources. They indicated particular concern for the sustainability of fossil fuels, water, coastal environments and fisheries resources. The results of this study indicate that students are responding to concerns for the environment and resource sustainability by embracing some forms of sustainable behaviour. However, as educators we need to ensure that the link is made between environment and resource sustainability and the implementation of policies that will further encourage sustainable behaviour.
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Field of Research
050203 Environmental Education and Extension
Socio Economic Objective
970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
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