Advertisement

Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 2079–2094 | Cite as

Environmental literacy in practice: education on tropical rainforests and climate change

  • Kerstin Bissinger
  • Franz X. Bogner
Article

Abstract

Environmental literacy is a key concept to promote individual behavioral changes toward a more sustainable lifestyle to consciously react to environmental challenges such as climate change. Promoting knowledge, attitudes and behaviors provides a reasonable basis to prepare adolescents for their future. A recently proposed environmental literacy model comprises three-dimensional knowledge, environmental attitudes and pro-environmental behavior. The present study applies this model by implementing an intervention focusing on tropical rainforests and climate change in a botanical garden, combining student-centered activities with self-dependent learning. Data from 283 10th graders quantify individual knowledge, attitudes and behavior scores. Knowledge acquisition, a positive development of the Inclusion of Nature in One's Self concept and increasing pro-environmental behavior intentions were found by comparing an intervention group with a test–retest group. In conclusion, our botanical garden’s intervention evidently furthered appreciative tendencies and even encouraged environmental literacy.

Keywords

Three-dimensional knowledge Knowledge acquisition Linear mixed effects models Inclusion of Nature in One’s Self (INS) Self-reported ecological behavior (GEB) 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful for all students and teachers participating in this study. Furthermore, we thank the Bavarian Ministry of Education (StM-BKWK) for approving all proposed research and consent processes (III.9-5 O 5106/91/13). We appreciate the support of the Ecological Botanical Garden Bayreuth (ÖBG) where we conducted our intervention. In particular, we would like to thank Hella Donner-Heise and her colleagues for providing ideal plants for the students to work with and who attend to the greenhouses being the key to the semi-authentic learning environment. Furthermore, we are grateful for the support of Dr. Ute Becker from the Green School within the Botanical Garden of the Johannes Gutenberg University who provided the possibility for a trial run and gave feedback on the intervention. We thank Christine and Simon Thorn for discussing the R analysis. This research has been undertaken under the Open Discovery Space project funded with support from the European Commission (Grant Agreement No. 297229), and further support was granted within the framework of the “Qualitätsoffensive Lehrerbildung” which is funded by the Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung (Grant Agreement No. 01JA160). We thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments on the manuscript.

References

  1. Benjamini, Y., & Hochberg, Y. (1995). Controlling the false discovery rate: A practical and powerful approach to multiple testing. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, 57(1), 289–300. doi: 10.2307/2346101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bissinger, K., & Bogner, F. X. (2015). Student’s quality perception and learning outcomes when using an open acessible elearning-resource. eLearning Papers, 40, 23–31. Retrieved from https://www.openeducationeuropa.eu/sites/default/files/legacy_files/asset/Assessment%20certification%20and%20quality%20assurance%20in%20open%20learning_In-Depth_40_3.pdf.
  3. Bissinger, K., & Bogner, F. X. (2016). Environmental literacy: Combining behavior, attitudes and knowledge. LUMAT (submitted).Google Scholar
  4. Bogner, F. X. (1998). The influence of short-term outdoor ecology education on long-term variables of environmental perspective. The Journal of Environmental Education, 29(4), 17–29. doi: 10.1080/00958969809599124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bolker, B. M., Brooks, M. E., Clark, C. J., Geange, S. W., Poulsen, J. R., Stevens, M. H. H., et al. (2009). Generalized linear mixed models: A practical guide for ecology and evolution. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 24(3), 127–135. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2008.10.008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bord, R., O’Connor, R., & Fisher, A. (2000). In what sense does the public need to understand global climate change? Public Understanding of Science, 9, 205–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brick, C., & Lewis, G. J. (2014). Unearthing the “Green” personality: Core traits predict environmentally friendly behavior. Environment and Behavior, 48(5), 635–658. doi: 10.1177/0013916514554695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chawla, L., & Cushing, D. F. (2007). Education for strategic environmental behavior. Environmental Education Research, 13(4), 437–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cheng, J. C. H., & Monroe, M. C. (2012). Connection to nature children’s affective attitude toward nature. Environment and Behavior, 44(1), 31–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Corral-Verdugo, V. (2002). A structural model of proenvironmental competency. Environment and Behavior, 34(4), 531–549. doi: 10.1177/00116502034004008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Davies, P., Sanders, D. L., & Amos, R. (2015). Learning in cultivated gardens and other outdoor landscapes. In C. J. Boulter, M. J. Reiss, & D. L. Sanders (Eds.), Darwin-inspired learning (pp. 47–58). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. doi: 10.1007/978-94-6209-833-6_5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Díaz, S., Fargione, J., Chapin, F. S., & Tilman, D. (2006). Biodiversity loss threatens human well-being. PLoS Biology, 4(8), 1300–1305. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0040277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dodd, J., & Jones, C. (2011). Towards a new social purpose the role of botanic gardens in the 21st century. Roots, 8(1), 5–8. Retrieved from http://www.bgci.org/files/Worldwide/Education/Social_inclusion/social_inclusion_summary.pdf.
  14. Duerden, M., & Witt, P. (2010). The impact of direct and indirect experiences on the development of environmental knowledge, attitudes, and behavior. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 30(4), 379–392. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272494410000344.
  15. Dunlap, R. E. (2008). The new environmental paradigm scale: From marginality to worldwide use. The Journal of Environmental Education, 40(1), 3–18. doi: 10.3200/JOEE.40.1.3-18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fortner, R. W., Lee, J.-Y., Corney, J. R., Romanello, S., Bonnell, J., Luthy, B., et al. (2000). Public understanding of climate change: Certainty and willingness to act. Environmental Education Research, 6(2), 127–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fraser, J., Gupta, R., & Krasny, M. E. (2014). Practitioners’ perspectives on the purpose of environmental education. Environmental Education Research. doi: 10.1080/13504622.2014.933777.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fremerey, C., & Bogner, F. X. (2014). Learning about drinking water: How Important are the three dimensions of knowledge that can change individual behavior? Education Sciences, 4, 213–228. doi: 10.3390/educsci4040213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Frick, J., Kaiser, F. G., & Wilson, M. (2004). Environmental knowledge and conservation behavior: Exploring prevalence and structure in a representative sample. Personality and Individual Differences, 37(8), 1597–1613. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2004.02.015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Geng, L., Xu, J., Ye, L., Zhou, W., & Zhou, K. (2015). Connections with nature and environmental behaviors. PLoS ONE, 10(5), e0127247. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0127247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gifford, R. (2014). Environmental psychology matters. Annual Review of Psychology, 65, 79–541. doi: 10.1146/annurev-psych-010213-115048.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Goldman, D., Assaraf, O. B. Z., & Shaharabani, D. (2013). Influence of a non-formal environmental education programme on junior high-school students’ environmental literacy. International Journal of Science Education, 35(3), 515–545. doi: 10.1080/09500693.2012.749545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hothorn, T., Bretz, F., & Westfall, P. (2008). Simultaneous inference in general parametric models. Biometrical Journal, 50(3), 346–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (1999). Making cooperative learning work. Theory into Practice, 38(2), 67–73. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1477225.
  25. Kaiser, F. G. (1998). A general measure of ecological behavior. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 5, 395–422. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1998.tb01712.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kaiser, F. G., Oerke, B., & Bogner, F. X. (2007). Behaviour-based environmental attitude: Development of an instrument for adolescents. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 27, 242–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kaiser, F. G., Roczen, N., & Bogner, F. X. (2008). Competence formation in environmental education: Advancing ecology-specific rather than general abilities. Umweltpsychologie, 12(2), 56–70.Google Scholar
  28. Lord, T. R. (2001). 101 Reasons for using cooperative learning in biology teaching. The American Biology Teacher, 63(1), 30–38. doi: 10.1662/0002-7685(2001)063[0030:RFUCLI]2.0.CO;2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Marshall, J., & Erickson, D. M. (2014). Climate change : Engaging audiences, prompting action, measuring change. International Zoo Educators Association Journal, 50, 56–60.Google Scholar
  30. Mayer, R. E. (2004). Should there be a three-shrikes rule against pure discovery learning? American Psychologist, 59(1), 14–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Milfont, T. L., & Duckitt, J. (2004). The structure of environmental attitudes: A first- and second-order confirmatory factor analysis. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 24(3), 289–303. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2004.09.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nyberg, E., & Sanders, D. (2013). Drawing attention to the “green side of life”. Journal of Biological Education, 48(3), 142–153. doi: 10.1080/00219266.2013.849282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Oerke, B., & Bogner, F. X. (2011). Social desirability, environmental attitudes, and general ecological behaviour in children. International Journal of Science Education, 0693(February), 1–18. doi: 10.1080/09500693.2011.566897.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pachauri, R. K., Allen, M. R., Barros, V. R., Broome, J., Cramer, W., Christ, R., et al. (2014). Climate change 2014: Synthesis report. Contribution of working groups I, II and III to the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.Google Scholar
  35. Pfattheicher, S., Sassenrath, C., & Schindler, S. (2015). Feelings for the suffering of others and the environment: Compassion fosters proenvironmental tendencies. Environment and Behavior, 48(7), 929–945. doi: 10.1177/0013916515574549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Roczen, N., Kaiser, F. G., Bogner, F. X., & Wilson, M. (2013). A competence model for environmental education. Environment and Behavior, 46(8), 972–992. doi: 10.1177/0013916513492416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Roth, C. E. (1968). On the road to conservation. Massachusetts Audubon, 52(4), 38–41.Google Scholar
  38. Roth, C. E. (1992). In D. L. Haury (Ed.), Environmental literacy: Its roots, evolution and directions in the 1990s. Columbus, OH: ERIC Clearinghouse for Science, Mathematics, and Environmental Education.Google Scholar
  39. Sanders, D. L. (2007). Making public the private life of plants: The contribution of informal learning environments. International Journal of Science Education, 29(10), 28–1209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Scharfenberg, F.-J., Bogner, F. X., & Klautke, S. (2006). The suitability of external control-groups for empirical control purposes: A cautionary story in science education research. Electronic Journal of Science Education, 11(1), 22–36.Google Scholar
  41. Schultz, P. W. (2001). The structure of environmental concern: Concern for self, other people, and the biosphere. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 21, 327–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sellmann, D., & Bogner, F. X. (2012a). Climate change education: Quantitatively assessing the impact of a botanical garden as an informal learning environment. Environmental Education Research, 19(4), 415–429. doi: 10.1080/13504622.2012.700696.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sellmann, D., & Bogner, F. X. (2012b). Effects of a 1-day environmental education intervention on environmental attitudes and connectedness with nature. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 28(3), 1077–1086. doi: 10.1007/s10212-012-0155-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Settlage, J. (2000). Understanding the learning cycle: Influences on abilities to embrace the approach by preservice elementary school teachers. Science Education, 84(1), 43–50. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-237X(200001)84:1<43:AID-SCE4>3.0.CO;2-F.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Stern, M. J., Powell, R. B., & Ardoin, N. M. (2008). What difference does it make? Assessing outcomes from participation in a residential environmental education program. The Journal of Environmental Education, 39(4), 31–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sweller, J., van Merrienboer, J. J. G., & Paas, F. G. W. C. (1998). Cognitive architecture and instructional design. Educational Psychology Review, 10(3), 251–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Takahashi, B., & Selfa, T. (2014). Predictors of pro-environmental behavior in rural American communities. Environment and Behavior, 47(8), 856–876. doi: 10.1177/0013916514521208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Thorn, C. J., & Bogner, F. X. (2015). Is system-related knowledge the easiest one to gain?. How a student-centered education program intervenes with knowledge dimensions: Studies in Educational Evaluation, submitted.Google Scholar
  49. Thorn, C. J., Bissinger, K., Thorn, S., & Bogner, F. X. (2016). “Trees live on soil and sunshine!”: Coexistence of scientific and alternative conception of tree assimilation. PLoS ONE, 11(1), 1–14. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147802.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Uitto, A., Boeve-de Pauw, J., & Saloranta, S. (2015). Participatory school experiences as facilitators for adolescents’ ecological behavior. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 43(2015), 55–65. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2015.05.007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Vesterinen, V., Tolppanen, S., & Aksela, M. (2016). Toward citizenship science education: What students do to make the world a better place? International Journal of Science Education, published. doi: 10.1080/09500693.2015.1125035.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wandersee, J. H., & Schussler, E. E. (2001). Toward a theory of plant blindness. Plant Science Bulletin, 47(1), 2–9.Google Scholar
  53. Willison, J. (2009). Interpretation for sustainability. Roots, 6(1), 2–4.Google Scholar
  54. Wyse Jackson, P. S., & Sutherland, L. A. (2000). International agenda for botanic gardens in conservation. VA: Richmond.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological Education, Centre of Math and Science Education (Z-MNU)University of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  2. 2.LehrLernGarten, Botanical GardenJulius-Maximilians-University WürzburgWürzburgGermany

Personalised recommendations