Foundations for effective sustainability education

Eagle, Lynne, Low, David R., Vandommele, Lisa, and Li, Siqiwen (2013) Foundations for effective sustainability education. In: Proceedings of Australia New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference 2013. 087. From: Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference, 1-4 December 2013, Adelaide, SA, Australia.

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This paper presents a two-part study of undergraduate university students regarding attitudes and beliefs regarding climate change adaptation and actual sustainability-related behaviours. The findings reflect naïve awareness of the impact of individual contributions to sustainability and environmental challenges by respondents and a tendency to regard major issues as both beyond personal control and being the responsibility of others. This is coupled with reluctance to consider major lifestyle changes. Contrary to expectations based on extant literature, we find few significant differences in actual sustainability-related behaviours between new entrants and senior students. More concerning is a significant reduction in acceptance of the need to change behaviours and an increase in skepticism regarding the reality of climate change among the latter. A factor analysis shows that common themes identified in the literature fail to reflect the diverse range of influences on young people, including family, friends and news media. Achieving significant long-term changes in behaviours will be a substantial challenge for tertiary curricula when these other influences do not support the curricula themes.

Item ID: 31330
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
ISBN: 978-0-646-56330-5
Keywords: business students, higher education, sustainability, climate change, environment, attitudes, and behaviour change
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Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2014 00:51
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