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Environmental Attitudes and Environmental Behavior—Which Is the Horse and Which Is the Cart?

Author

Listed:
  • Efrat Eilam

    () (School of Education, Institute of Sustainability and Innovation (ISI), Victoria University, P.O. Box 14428, Melbourne, Victoria 8001, Australia)

  • Tamar Trop

    () (Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, Technion City, Haifa 32000, Israel)

Abstract

The present article challenges the prevailing perception in the field of environmental education that acquisition of environmental behavior is an ultimate goal of the educational process, in comparison to acquisition of environmental attitudes, which is perceived as a minor goal. The article presents a compilation of results obtained from two studies that shed new light on the relationship between influences on environmental attitudes and influences on environmental behavior. The results suggest that: (a) among adults, the strategies required for influencing attitudes are different from those required for influencing behaviors; (b) the mechanisms for achieving influence among children are different from those among adults; and (c) conventional educational approaches, such as behavior modification, can influence behavior more easily than they can influence attitudes. The results provide grounds for questioning the prevailing belief that individual acquisition of responsible environmental behavior can drive changes on the global political scale. We suggest increasing the focus of environmental education on construction of attitudes.

Suggested Citation

  • Efrat Eilam & Tamar Trop, 2012. "Environmental Attitudes and Environmental Behavior—Which Is the Horse and Which Is the Cart?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(9), pages 1-37, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:4:y:2012:i:9:p:2210-2246:d:20098
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:4:p:997-:d:138467 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Matthew T. Ballew & Allen M. Omoto & Patricia L. Winter, 2015. "Using Web 2.0 and Social Media Technologies to Foster Proenvironmental Action," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(8), pages 1-29, August.
    3. Upham, Paul & Carney, Sebastian & Klapper, Rita, 2014. "Scaffolding, software and scenarios: Applying Bruner's learning theory to energy scenario development with the public," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 131-142.
    4. Syndhia Mathé & Hélène Rey-Valette, 2015. "Local Knowledge of Pond Fish-Farming Ecosystem Services: Management Implications of Stakeholders’ Perceptions in Three Different Contexts (Brazil, France and Indonesia)," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(6), pages 1-23, June.
    5. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:9:p:1660-:d:112388 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    environmental attitudes; environmental behavior; environmental influence; intergenerational influence; community environmental education; community-based education;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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