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Article

COVID-19: An Outcome of Biodiversity Loss or a Conspiracy? Investigating the Attitudes of Environmental Students

1
Department of Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural Resources, Democritus University of Thrace, 68200 Orestiada, Greece
2
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, School of Health Sciences, Democritus University of Thrace, Dragana, 68100 Alexandroupolis, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Eila Jeronen
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 5307; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095307
Received: 4 April 2021 / Revised: 22 April 2021 / Accepted: 5 May 2021 / Published: 10 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection Science Education Promoting Sustainability)
The global environment is being constantly degraded, placing humans at increased risk for outbreaks of infectious diseases. In this regard, environmental quality must be enhanced in order to prevent pandemics in the future. However, it is unknown whether future environmental experts are aware of the intricate relationship between environmental degradation and infectious diseases. This question is important because if they lack awareness about this relationship, they may not be able to contribute to biodiversity conservation which, in turn, can prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases. Hence, the aim of this paper is to investigate the attitudes of environmental students towards the pandemic. The primary objective is to examine their views on the origin of COVID-19 and a secondary objective is to discover the factors that affect the endorsement of conspiracy and non-conspiracy theories on the origin of COVID-19. Our findings indicated that an alarmingly high percentage of students endorsed the conspiracy theory that COVID-19 is a man-made virus for which there was a vaccine before it emerged, whereas only one in five students perceived that the virus is associated with climate change. These students are the future scientists who will be responsible for biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation. Therefore, it is necessary to pay more attention to environmental students, both in Greece and elsewhere, and examine if such perceptions stem from any deficiencies in curricula or from the effects of the media. View Full-Text
Keywords: attitudes to pandemics; biodiversity; environmental science education; the effect of biodiversity loss on pandemics; undergraduate environmental students; conspiracy theories about pandemics; COVID-19; categorical regression attitudes to pandemics; biodiversity; environmental science education; the effect of biodiversity loss on pandemics; undergraduate environmental students; conspiracy theories about pandemics; COVID-19; categorical regression
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tsantopoulos, G.; Papageorgiou, A.C.; Karasmanaki, E. COVID-19: An Outcome of Biodiversity Loss or a Conspiracy? Investigating the Attitudes of Environmental Students. Sustainability 2021, 13, 5307. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095307

AMA Style

Tsantopoulos G, Papageorgiou AC, Karasmanaki E. COVID-19: An Outcome of Biodiversity Loss or a Conspiracy? Investigating the Attitudes of Environmental Students. Sustainability. 2021; 13(9):5307. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095307

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tsantopoulos, Georgios, Aristotelis C. Papageorgiou, and Evangelia Karasmanaki. 2021. "COVID-19: An Outcome of Biodiversity Loss or a Conspiracy? Investigating the Attitudes of Environmental Students" Sustainability 13, no. 9: 5307. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095307

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