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Merging Science Education into Communication: Developing and Validating a Scale for Science Edu-Communication Utilizing Awareness, Enjoyment, Interest, Opinion formation, and Understanding Dimensions (SEC-AEIOU)
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Can Young Generations Recognize Marine Plastic Waste as a Systemic Issue?

College of Policy Science, Ritsumeikan University, Osaka 567-8570, Japan
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2586; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072586
Received: 25 February 2020 / Revised: 23 March 2020 / Accepted: 23 March 2020 / Published: 25 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Collection Science Education Promoting Sustainability)
This study reports preliminary survey results exploring whether children can recognize marine plastic waste as a systemic issue, especially regarding stock–flow relationships and delays. A systemic understanding of this issue is key to reducing marine plastic waste and to avoid its irreversible effects. Reducing the inflow of waste does not necessarily reduce the waste accumulated in the ocean, unless its rate becomes smaller than the outflow (e.g., cleanup). Delays due to a wait-and-see policy will result in irreversible effects, such as animals swallowing plastic waste, and plastic waste becoming microplastics that are difficult to clean up. A questionnaire survey was conducted during workshops and poster sessions at an event for sustainability in Japan. Participants were children from fourth grade to high school (9–18 years old). Participants were shown to have a limited systematic understanding of marine plastic waste. The majority incorrectly adopted pattern matching (70.6%) and failed to draw correct inflow and outflow curves (94.1%). The majority (83.6%) did not point out delay issues. This study indicates a need to correct mental models to understand the issue by introducing system education. View Full-Text
Keywords: childhood; delays; science education; stock–flow relationships; marine plastic waste; mass balance principles; mental models childhood; delays; science education; stock–flow relationships; marine plastic waste; mass balance principles; mental models
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Uehara, T. Can Young Generations Recognize Marine Plastic Waste as a Systemic Issue? Sustainability 2020, 12, 2586.

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