Promoting pro-environmental behavior: community environmental engagement at home

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University of New Brunswick


The primary goal of environmental education is to promote pro-environmental behavior. Unfortunately, this goal is essentially absent from environmental education curriculums as the majority of their topics focus on global environmental issues. Environmental education is usually learned from a textbook and inside a classroom. Unintentionally, this promotes a desensitization and disengagement from the environment for students. The literature shows there are many variables and a variety of contexts that contribute to promote pro-environmental behavior. The two main variables of focus chosen for this research were internal locus of control (ILOC) and environmental agency (EA). A case study was conducted in a rural New Brunswick public high school. A two-week unit that centered around an important community watershed was carefully created in order to promote ILOC and EA. Community-based learning was the vehicle in which the curriculum and opportunities for students to develop ILOC and EA were delivered in hopes of promoting pro-environmental behavior. The study concluded that ILOC and EA increased within students in this particular context, as elements of these dispositions were visible within the data; however, evidence of the students engaging in new proenvironmental behaviors (PEB) was not evident.