Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

International Graduate Program for Educators - M. S. in Multidisciplinary studies


International Graduate Program for Educators


Dr. Joyce Stallworth


Climate Change is fast becoming one of the most important issues for humanity to address. Education must clearly play a key role in creating future generations that understand the causes, impacts and solutions to this problem so that they can ameliorate the impacts and adapt.

One area many studies disagree on is whether climate change knowledge translates into pro-environmental behaviour or not, and whilst several studies point out that the topic benefits from being taught in a cross-curricula fashion, so that sociological as well as scientific ideas can be appreciated together, the suitability of the ELA classroom to the topic appears to be a gap in current research.

The research questions for this study were therefore as follows:

  1. Did the unit lead to a statistically significant difference in awareness in our grade 9 cohort of the causes, impacts and solutions to climate change?
  2. Did this unit lead to an increased willingness to act or not?
  3. What socio-economic factors were related to willingness to act pro-environmentally?

As with most research on environmental attitudes and intentions this study was survey based. One survey gathered initial attitudes and willingness to act environmentally, and a second survey measured the degree of difference the unit made to those variables. The research can be said to be mixed methods correlational research.

Previous studies by the likes of Hermans and Kohonen (2017) and Wu and Otsuku (2021) have come to the conclusion that students often prefer solutions to the climate crisis that are low cost and limited in impact, and whilst that may be borne out by this study as well, I feel Robert Gifford’s insight into psychological barriers to climate action can help us see these teenagers as similar to ourselves. With more awareness of these psychological barriers and the concomitant empathy it entails, more effective environmental education can occur.