The Effect of Environmental Education at School and Home on How Students Behave Towards the Natural Environment in Japan

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 11:30 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Mikiko SHINOKI , Faculty of Policy Studies, Chuo University, Japan
Koji ABE , Faculty of Literature and Social Sciences, Yamagata University, Yamagata, Japan
Several studies on the factors that promote pro-environmental behavior have found the importance of environmental education. A number of environmental educational programs that aim to nurture ethical behavior towards the environment have been developed worldwide. For example, in Japan, some students in a junior high school take part in diving programs to study marine environments. The aim of this study is to examine the effect of environmental education at school and home on students’ pro-environmental behavior. In November 2010, we conducted a quantitative survey of all third-year students and their parents at all the junior high schools located in the city of Minamata, Japan. Pollution has had a severely detrimental effect on the health of the residents of Minamata since the 1950s, and the disease caused by pollution has come to be known as Minamata disease. The negative experiences with pollution have led to the implementation of various interesting environmental education programs in all the junior high schools in the city.

     The analysis of the results indicates the important factor that effects on the pro-environmental behaviors of students: It was their perception of the contributions their parents made to address environmental challenges, instead of the actual contributions or behavior of the parents. The pro-environmental behavior that parents took had a mediating effect on the way students’ perception on their parental contributions to the environment. The results also indicate that experience-based environmental education, such as related volunteering activities at school, promoted students’ pro-environmental behavior significantly more than classroom-based environmental education that focused on knowledge creation. However, classroom-based environmental knowledge creation remains critical because it provides an opportunity to influence pro-environmental behavior through the discoveries and the surprises by learning.