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Climate change advocacy: exploring links between student empowerment and civic engagement

Climate change advocacy: exploring links between student empowerment and civic engagement This study identified the attitudes and behaviors of college students regarding their advocacy for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Specifically, perceptions of climate change were assessed and advocacy activities were identified for climate change and/or other topics.Design/methodology/approachUsing convenience sampling, students (n = 440) from three universities in the Midwest, the USA, completed surveys assessing their level of agreement with activities related to civic engagement, climate change and policy. Semantic differential scales focused on “learning about climate change,” “advocating for climate change mitigation” and “advocating for climate change adaptation.” Three open-ended questions were used to identify student experiences with civic engagement and/or service-learning, as well as topics in which they advocate and how they advocate.FindingsRegarding advocacy in general, over 50% of the sample did not advocate for any topic, with 24.5% of students stating they advocated for the environment/climate change. Students who identified as female, democratic and 1st or 2nd year in school were more likely to be engaged with environmental advocacy. Regarding civic engagement, seniors were more actively engaged with their communities and also more likely to vote in local, state and national elections.Research limitations/implicationsTime of data collection was a potential limitation with schools conducting data collection at different time periods. Students who identified more progressive politically were also more likely to participate in the study.Originality/valueWhile research exists regarding student civic engagement levels, this research project identified ways in which students engaged in advocacy, identifying potential links with civic engagement and enhanced participation in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education Emerald Publishing

Climate change advocacy: exploring links between student empowerment and civic engagement

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1467-6370
DOI
10.1108/ijshe-03-2020-0091
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study identified the attitudes and behaviors of college students regarding their advocacy for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Specifically, perceptions of climate change were assessed and advocacy activities were identified for climate change and/or other topics.Design/methodology/approachUsing convenience sampling, students (n = 440) from three universities in the Midwest, the USA, completed surveys assessing their level of agreement with activities related to civic engagement, climate change and policy. Semantic differential scales focused on “learning about climate change,” “advocating for climate change mitigation” and “advocating for climate change adaptation.” Three open-ended questions were used to identify student experiences with civic engagement and/or service-learning, as well as topics in which they advocate and how they advocate.FindingsRegarding advocacy in general, over 50% of the sample did not advocate for any topic, with 24.5% of students stating they advocated for the environment/climate change. Students who identified as female, democratic and 1st or 2nd year in school were more likely to be engaged with environmental advocacy. Regarding civic engagement, seniors were more actively engaged with their communities and also more likely to vote in local, state and national elections.Research limitations/implicationsTime of data collection was a potential limitation with schools conducting data collection at different time periods. Students who identified more progressive politically were also more likely to participate in the study.Originality/valueWhile research exists regarding student civic engagement levels, this research project identified ways in which students engaged in advocacy, identifying potential links with civic engagement and enhanced participation in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.

Journal

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher EducationEmerald Publishing

Published: Sep 5, 2020

Keywords: Sustainability; Higher education; Climate change; Advocacy; Civic engagement

References