Special Issue "Education for Pro-Environmental Behaviors"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Education and Approaches".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Christina Marouli
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Guest Editor
Associate Professor, Environmental Studies & Founder and ex-Director, Center of Excellence for Sustainability, American College of Greece, Greece
Interests: education for sustainability; environmental education; change of environmental behaviors and social practices
Dr. Quentin Duroy
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Guest Editor
Associate Professor, Economics, Denison University, Granville, OH, USA
Interests: education for sustainability; environmental education; change of environmental behaviors and social practices

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Educational institutions play a crucial role in social learning. Not only do they facilitate knowledge transfer, but they also influence young minds and help mold the value systems and behavioral patterns of future citizens and decision makers. As such, they have significantly contributed to the social reproduction of ideas that marginalize environmental concerns and lead to societies that negatively impact the environment. The threat of climate change and other global and local environmental challenges require transformations that would put educational actions promoting pro-environmental behaviors and social practices front and center at all levels of schooling.

Environmental Education (EE) and Education for Sustainability (EFS) or Education for Sustainable Development—often implemented as enclaves in educational institutions—have been successful in promoting awareness; however, their effectiveness in changing behaviors has been questioned or at least lacking.

Furthermore, “greening” the operations of universities/colleges and schools (besides the curriculum) conveys a powerful message promoting pro-environmental behaviors, sometimes more clearly than the curriculum, since actions generally speak louder than words.

Pro-environmental educational efforts have been implemented outside educational institutions as well (e.g., Non-Governmental Organizations, museums, etc.). Sometimes, these efforts are more innovative and promising in terms of their effectiveness at promoting pro-environmental behaviors.

This Special Issue aspires to provide a forum for the discussion of challenges and opportunities and for an exchange of lessons and knowledge regarding the parameters and methods that make educational efforts effective at promoting pro-environmental behaviors worldwide. It invites reflections on initiatives that aim to cultivate such behaviors, from both the formal and informal education sector and relating to curricular and operational efforts. It welcomes both theoretical reflections and case study analyses, and it aims to attract contributions from those concerned about how we effectively mobilize pro-environmental behaviors and social practices, as we urgently need to transition toward sustainable communities.

Dr. Christina Marouli
Dr. Quentin Duroy
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • education for sustainability
  • environmental education
  • change of environmental behaviors and social practices
  • sustainable universities or colleges, green schools

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Effects of a One-day Environmental Education Program on Sixth-Graders’ Environmental Literacy at a Nature Center in Eastern Taiwan
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5043; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125043 - 20 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 649
Abstract
This study assessed the effects of a one-day environmental education program on sixth-graders’ environmental literacy at a nature center in eastern Taiwan. In this program, the use of role play and games for teaching about Formosan black bear and forest conservation was adopted. [...] Read more.
This study assessed the effects of a one-day environmental education program on sixth-graders’ environmental literacy at a nature center in eastern Taiwan. In this program, the use of role play and games for teaching about Formosan black bear and forest conservation was adopted. A nonequivalent control group design was used to collect data. The experimental group (N = 100) received the one-day environmental education program and the control group (N = 73) did not receive any environmental instruction. The ANCOVA results indicated that students’ environmental knowledge and locus of control were effectively improved by the end of the program. Besides, students in the experimental group showed a lower utilization preference than students in the control group. One month after the end of the program, the present study discovered retained effects on students’ environmental knowledge, environmental responsibility, locus of control, and environmental action. Moreover, students in the experimental group showed a higher preservation and a lower utilization preference than those in the control group in the follow-up test. Based on this study, implications for program development and instructional practice were presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education for Pro-Environmental Behaviors)
Open AccessArticle
Gamification Approaches for Education and Engagement on Pro-Environmental Behaviors: Searching for Best Practices
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4565; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114565 - 03 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1083
Abstract
Education is a key factor to respond to the threat of climate change, increasing not only knowledge but also encouraging changes in attitudes and behaviors to adopt sustainable lifestyles. Scholars and practitioners in the field of education call for innovative ways of engaging [...] Read more.
Education is a key factor to respond to the threat of climate change, increasing not only knowledge but also encouraging changes in attitudes and behaviors to adopt sustainable lifestyles. Scholars and practitioners in the field of education call for innovative ways of engaging youth—a reason why gamification has gained more attention in recent years. This paper aims at exploring the role of gamification in affecting pro-environmental behavioral change and searching for best practices for educational purposes. For that aim, pro-environmental gamification platforms are identified and analyzed by applying two different frameworks: the Octalysis Framework and the Climate Change Engagement through Games Framework. After scanning 181 cases, a final sample of six is analyzed and two of them are selected as best practices with higher potential to engage users in pro-environmental behavioral change: SaveOhno and JouleBug. Meaning, ownership, and social influence, as well as achievability, challenge, and credibility, are seen as core elements that can increase the success of gamification platforms. In conclusion, the more attributes are enclosed in the gamification design, the stronger physical and mental connections it builds up with participants. Insights from this study can help educators to select best practices and gamification designers to better influence behavioral change through game mechanics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education for Pro-Environmental Behaviors)
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Contributions of an Immersive, Environmental Education Workshop on Pre-Service Teachers’ Environmental Education Preparedness
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6505; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226505 - 19 Nov 2019
Viewed by 785
Abstract
Public schools are an important place to cultivate environmental agency in children, and classroom teachers play an important role in this identity process. Teachers who afford opportunities for environmental learning and care behaviors to develop during the school day play an important role [...] Read more.
Public schools are an important place to cultivate environmental agency in children, and classroom teachers play an important role in this identity process. Teachers who afford opportunities for environmental learning and care behaviors to develop during the school day play an important role in cultivating the next generation of environmental stewards. Pre-service teacher populations bring additional promise to the future development of stewardship in schools, as their teaching philosophies and early career plans are still emerging and amenable. Providing purposeful, interactive, environmental education programming within the context of teacher training programs may be an important factor in positively impacting pre-service teachers’ (PSTs) confidence, willingness, and/or sense of preparedness to implement environmental learning in their future classrooms. Utilizing a mixed-methods approach, this study examined the potential impacts an immersive, environmental education workshop conducted at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA had on a group of 61 elementary education PSTs during their teacher preparation program at California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB). After participating in a variety of ocean-themed activities and empathy exercises, data collected through pre- and post-surveys indicated that this immersive, environmental experience contributed to PSTs perceived confidence and preparedness as future classroom-based, environmental educators. Through the reported development of their environmental confidence and interest in accessing supplementary resources, PSTs’ ability to act on behalf of the environment by planning environmental learning in their future classrooms becomes a springboard for additional training and support. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education for Pro-Environmental Behaviors)
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Open AccessArticle
Reflections on the Transformative Power of Environmental Education in Contemporary Societies: Experience from Two College Courses in Greece and the USA
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6465; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226465 - 17 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 708
Abstract
In the current information-saturated world of knowledge societies, universities are at risk of training technical experts who hold myopic views of the future, and leaders who are ill-equipped to address the systemic nature of current global ecological, economic, and political crises. In this [...] Read more.
In the current information-saturated world of knowledge societies, universities are at risk of training technical experts who hold myopic views of the future, and leaders who are ill-equipped to address the systemic nature of current global ecological, economic, and political crises. In this context, and taking into account the obstacles posed, and the opportunities provided, by contemporary societies, the current paper discusses the design and implementation of courses which not only rely upon, but also increase the transformative power of Environmental Education (EE) and Education for Sustainability (EfS) within Higher Education. We rely on our experience in two college courses, in Greece and the USA, to provide reflections on the integrative, interdisciplinary and collaborative dimensions of EE/EfS and on their ability to challenge neoliberal discourse that permeates contemporary knowledge societies. The qualitative methodology utilized in the paper rests on a self-study research approach and on end-of-term course evaluations filled by the students. We propose that successful design and implementation of EE/EfS courses depends upon the instructors’ (and their institutions’) ability to democratize and rethink the classroom (beyond its physical limits and into the community), to help students self-examine their place in the system, and to create assignments that test the learning process rather than learning outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education for Pro-Environmental Behaviors)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Educational Approaches to Encourage Pro-Environmental Behaviors in Madagascar
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3148; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113148 - 04 Jun 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1565
Abstract
Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot under threat, with about 80% of the population living below the poverty line and dependent on the use of diminishing local resources. Environmental education (EE) can act as an important tool for biodiversity conservation, however, its implementation is [...] Read more.
Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot under threat, with about 80% of the population living below the poverty line and dependent on the use of diminishing local resources. Environmental education (EE) can act as an important tool for biodiversity conservation, however, its implementation is challenging in low-income countries. Here, we provide a review of 248 EE interventions throughout Madagascar. We highlight how EE can promote pro-environmental behaviors and show the major obstacles it faces, using Madagascar’s Lake Alaotra as a case study area. All EE activities are implemented by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international institutions. EE and community engagement have been shown by practitioners and scientific research alike to be valuable tools but are severely restricted in their impact when their outreach is limited by insecure and insufficient funding, and often funding periods that are too short. Another major hindrance to EE producing positive changes in people’s real-life decisions in low-income countries like Madagascar, arises when lessons are taught to a population that is at once understanding and severely constrained in its choices due to poverty, and corresponding malnutrition, that forces people to make unsustainable decisions on a daily basis. Our conclusions should help to improve the practice of EE in Madagascar and other low-income countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education for Pro-Environmental Behaviors)
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Other

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Open AccessConcept Paper
Wisdom for Traveling Far: Making Educational Travel Sustainable
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3048; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113048 - 30 May 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 950
Abstract
Educational travel has been demonstrated to be an effective means of education to develop sustainable and pro-environmental behaviors. However, as this paper reviews, recent scholarship has revealed that educational travel may harm the communities that host it even while it is achieving gains [...] Read more.
Educational travel has been demonstrated to be an effective means of education to develop sustainable and pro-environmental behaviors. However, as this paper reviews, recent scholarship has revealed that educational travel may harm the communities that host it even while it is achieving gains for students. This paper encourages educational travel providers (institutions, staff, and faculty) to leverage the need for a broader perspective towards sustainability in educational travel programs so that their host communities also benefit. The programs can accomplish this by engaging students in the process of making the programs and their participants more sustainable. The paper ends with several examples from the author’s own experience as an educational travel leader and several recommendations to reduce the negative impacts on host communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education for Pro-Environmental Behaviors)
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