ENVIRONMENTAL KNOWLEDGE AWARENESS AND CONCERN AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

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CHAPTER ONE

Background

People who really care about the environment’s preservation for future generations are more likely to adopt environmental habits. Concerns about the environment, whether internationally or locally in Africa, are no longer a problem for individuals regarded to be in “environmental circles.” Environmental concerns are often assumed to be the focus of climate change scientists, environmental scientists, or conservationists. This relationship is shifting as environmental problems or concerns are recognized as issues that all people living on the planet must deal with—because it impacts them in some manner. These dynamics highlight the necessity for individuals to be educated about the environment and the linkages (causes and effects) that exist within it.

Environmental concern has been defined as an assessment of, or attitude toward, facts, one’s own behavior, or the behavior of others that has environmental effects (Weigel, 1983; Ajzen, 1989; Takala, 1991). As a result, it seems that environmental concern might relate to either a particular attitude that directly influences intentions, or a more general attitude or value orientation. Stern (1992) distinguished four types of value orientations. Environmental concern, in fact, reflects a new style of thinking known as the New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) (Dunlap & Van Liere, 1978). Environmental concern is linked to anthropocentric altruism in a second value orientation; individuals care about environmental quality primarily because they believe that a damaged environment constitutes a danger to people’s health. Thus, it is the danger to people’s well-being, not the environment, that is of primary concern (Van Liere & Dunlap, 1978; Van Liere & Dunlap, 1978; Van Liere & Dunlap, 1978; Van Liere & Dunlap, 1978; Van Liere & Dunlap, 1978; Van Liere & Dunlap,

 

Hopper & Nielsen, 1991; Black et al., 1985). Environmental care, according to a third value orientation, shows self-interest. Baldassare and Katz (1992), for example, discovered that environmental deterioration’s perceived personal dangers are a key component in ecologically responsible behavior. Finally, Stern (1992) established a viewpoint that thinks environmental concern is the result of underlying religious convictions or post-materialistic principles. Gardner and Stern (1996) found a progressive trend among persons with the second and third value orientations toward what they call an ecocentric value orientation, which is comparable to the NEP worldview, after evaluating public opinion data.

Having an ecocentric value orientation means that you care about the environment for its own reason. It should be emphasized, however, that Stern and Dietz (1994) and Stern et al. (1995) failed to establish that the ecocentric value orientation differed from the anthropocentric altruistic value orientation in a broad population sample. This change in perspective is why environmental education is so important among the youth. This research intends to emphasize and argue for having an ecocentric value orientation among university students in Kenya, coining it as environmental concern and pro-environmental.

The primary goal of environmental education, whether official or informal, is to raise awareness among people. In 1975, a workshop in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, focused on the primary goal of environmental education: to create a worldwide population that is aware of and concerned about environmental challenges; this became known as the Belgrade Charter (UNESCO- UNEP, 1990).

An individual’s responsibility to the environment can take many forms, including better water resource management, waste management, recycling, reusing shopping bags, using public transportation, purchasing local or organic products, carpooling rather than driving individual cars in one family, advocating for environmental issues, and, as recently seen globally, protesting for a cause on climate change. Others may submit protest letters to newsrooms or authorities, urging them to support ecosystem restoration or attempting to preserve water and energy. Despite evidence that a large number of the population expresses a commitment to the environment, as shown at the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA-4) in Nairobi in March 2019,- Countries pledged to address the destruction of our ecosystems at this meeting, including significantly reducing single-use plastics by 2030 (IISD, 2019). However, participation in environmentally-friendly behavior (also known as pro-environmental behavior) rarely reflects the strength of those promises (Schultz and Zelezny 1998, 1999).

Problem Statement

As attempts to emphasize environmental concerns in schools via a multidisciplinary approach have grown over time, a wide range of comments has been received about students’ degree of awareness, attitudes, and engagement in environmental activities. Students in urban regions are more ecologically aware than those in rural ones, according to the results of a research conducted by Sarkar in Bangladesh (Sarkar and Ara, 2007). While disparities in Kenyan family characteristics are still a key factor of differences in school attendance patterns, there is now a rising urban-urban split as a result of increasing urbanization, according to previous study (Woodgate, 2012). This process has resulted in the formation of settlements with distinct features from those of earlier stages of urbanization, which have been utilized in previous research to model the degree of awareness, attitudes, and engagement of rural and urban students. This puts into doubt the concept that African cities are usually better off. Represent several Nigerian secondary school divisions.

The spread of slums and informal settlements in African cities is one of the most visible physical indicators of social exclusion. The people who live in these villages have the worst living and environmental circumstances. They are also barred from taking part in the city’s economic, social, political, and artistic sectors. As a result, slum dwellers—many of whom are already poor—are rendered poorer by the different types of exclusion they confront.

 

The more formal urban divisions are on the opposite side of town (UN Habitat, 2010). Because of the financial, cultural, and ecological differences across urban settlements, it is no longer clear that all urban pupils benefit, as research that studied rural vs urban comparisons suggested. In an urban setting, this involves the establishment of a connection across these divisions.

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