Environmental problems such as climate change, ozone layer depletion, global warming, and so on are now growing at an alarming rate. Many of this problem are believed to be increasing due to human impacts as a result of irresponsible environmental behaviors, which is highly influenced by the attitudes people possess The research survey was carried out to find out the environmental attitude of respondents and their opinion on environmental issues facing Australia and the world at large.
The aim of this study is to determine how some of the demographic characteristics affect environmental attitudes of the students surveyed. Thus, the differences between the environmental attitudes of the students will be explained. This study aims to find the answers to these questions: Are there any differences between the environmental attitudes of students surveyed and the degree they are enrolled in? Is there a difference in environmental attitudes to their gender? Is there a difference in environmental attitudes to their socio-economic status?
Data was collected using an environmental attitude questionnaire which was administered to students in ENVENOMS and TIOGA of Flinders University, Forty two respondents ere received. In order to get a balance view from respondents the questionnaire has a section that asked questions on the demography of respondents which was aimed at collecting data such has age, gender, degree studied, ALGA, household and type of dwelling place. Figure 1 below shows that of 100% that responded to the survey 54. 8% were female, 42. 9% were male while the remaining 2. 4% were missing.
Tablet shows that 41 respondent indicated their age with a mean value of 24. 12, while the least and maximum age of respondent is 17 years and 58 years old respectively. All respondents where from various academic background I. E. 33. 3% enrolled in B. EVEN. MGM, 26. 2% enrolled BAA, 7. 1 enrolled in B. DE, 11. 9% enrolled BAG’S, 2. 4% enrolled in B. ARCH, 4. 8%enrolled B. SC and 4. 8% enrolled in B. INTO. STUDIES. This varieties of educational background gives the survey a more outward and broad view of environmental attitude from people with different orientation.
The respondents that were surveyed come from 13 different Local Government Areas of South Australia with 10 been the highest number of respondents from Inappropriate Local Government Area and Alexandrine, Norway, Payment & SST Peters, Tea tree gully and Unless having 1 respondent each this is shown in table 2 below. Majority of the respondents 64. 3% lived in a house hold as part of a family and 14% lived as a couple while the remaining percentage of respondents were shared relatively among living as group, by themselves and in a non-private home. Figure 2 below shows that 78. % of the respondents dwell in a separate house, 7. 1 in a flat. The questionnaire was designed to profile specific environmental attitudes of students which focused more on everyday activities of the respondents. The collective information of the demography shown above shows the characteristics of the respondents which can be used to show the attitudes of the students to environmental issues based on the questions asked in the questionnaire. The first series of question were asked to ascertain the type of environmental friendly activities the students are personally involved in.
Table 3 below shows that 4. 8% of the respondents are members of Land care, 1 1. 9% are members of Greenback and 14. 3% are members of a University group while 19. 0% are members of other environmental groups, 61. % of the respondents refuse excessive packaging, 73. 8% shop with their own bag, 83. 3% minimize paper use, 16. 7% attend rallies and demonstrations and 4. 8% writes letters to politicians. The array of information gotten from this section shows that a large percentage of the students are environmentally conscious and seeking to improve the quality of the environment..
The second series of question were asked to show the type of environmental features present in the students dwelling. The table below show that 52. 4% of the students has compost bin or heap, 9. 5% has worm farm, 31. % has a rain water tank plumbed into their dwelling while 52. 4 has a rain water not plumbed into their dwelling, 9. 5% has their hot water powered by solar, 7. 1% has their electricity powered by solar, 83. 3% has compact florescent bulbs, 28. 6% dwelling has passive design while 31% has some other type of environmentally friendly features not included in the questionnaire.
Table 4 below shows the average level of the respondents’ agreement to the questions asked in section 3 which is aimed to determine get their opinion on different environmental issues. The average level of students that agreed that the welling they live is environmentally sustainable in terms of the energy and water they use is 3. 02, The average agreement level of students that agreed that free market mechanism, such has polluters pay, are the best ways of dealing with environmental problems sis. 76 and 2. 7 is the average level of those that agreed that environmental protection is more important than economic growth. Those that agreed that Australian environment is in a better state now than 10 years ago has the highest level of average in this survey while those that agreed to be strongly omitted to minimizing environmental impact in their day to day activities has the lowest level of average. The level of average of those that agreed that Australia’s environmental issues are cause by the actions of miners and farmers, An average of 3. 6 of the student also agreed that in the long term Australia would be acting more responsibly to the environment if it develops its nuclear resources in order to reduce the emission of CO into the environment from burning fossil fuels. The students average level of agreement that the world faces the collapse of major ecosystems within the next 20 years is 2. 4 while those that agreed with the view that scientific research and the careful actions of government and communities can repair the damage done to the environment is 2. 4. Question 4 of the questionnaire asked the students to indicate one most serious environmental issue they think is confronting the world today and 59. 5% wrote that Global warming is the most environmental issue confronting the world today while 2. 4% wrote that loss of biodiversity is the most problem facing the world as shown in figure 3 below. In question 5 the scale of the question in question 4 was changed to Australia and it as notice as shown in figure 5 below that majority 73. % wrote that water issue is the most serious environmental issue confronting Australia while loss of biodiversity and global warming are the least of the environmental issues confronting Australia. It can be deduce from the responses gotten from question 4 and 5 that global warming is the most serious environmental issue confronting the world but that Water issue is the most environmental issue confronting Australia which shows and indicate that different environmental issues is confronting different areas of the world.
Question 6, 7 & 8 are questions based on the mode of transportation that each individual uses to ascertain the level of impact their mode of transport is causing the environment. Table 6 below shows the percentage of respondents that uses either the Adelaide public transport or use bicycle as means of transport and it is noticed that 38. 1% of the students use Adelaide public transport most days while 16. 7% hardly ever or never used the Adelaide transport and in contrast it is noticed that just 4. % of the students used bicycle most days compared to the 38. 1% that uses the Adelaide public transport while 47. % of the student hardly ever or never use the bicycle. It is noticed in the response of the students to question 6 and 7 that there seems to exist a relationship between the two mode of transport I. E. The percentage of usage of Adelaide transport reduces from most day (38. 1 to hardly ever or never (16. 7) use the percentage usage of bicycle increases from most days (4. 8%) to hardly ever (47. 6%) as shown in figure 6 below.
Table 6 below shows the outcome of comparing the gender of respondents with their environmental attitudes based on whether they agree strongly to been committed to missing environmental impact and minimizing the use of paper. It is observed that there is a significant difference in the percentage of female 91. 3% compared to 72. 2% of male that said yes to minimizing the use of paper and these is further strengthen by the result shown with 30. 4% of female strongly agreeing to been committed to minimizing environmental impact while no male strongly agreed to the statement, Though majority of the male(88. %) agreed to been committed while compared to the 56. 5% of female that agreed. This result implies that females are ore inclined to be committed to minimizing their impact on the environment by participating more in minimizing their paper use When the degree enrolled in by the respondents was compared as shown in table 7 below it was observed that students enrolled in bachelor of environmental management and bachelor of Art are more inclined to going to the shop with their own containers than the remaining students enrolled in other courses.
With students enrolled in bachelor of environmental management having the highest percentage that go to shopping with their own bags and container it shows that environmental attitudes of student enrolled in environmental topics have a higher tendency of participating and engaging in more environmentally friendly activities Table 8 and 9 below which compared the socio economic status of students surveyed with their environmental attitude based on their response to different question clearly shows that students with socio economic status above 1000 have a higher percentage of solar electricity and rainwater tank plumbed to their dwelling than their counterpart with socio economic status below 1000. This implies that students room high socio economic status are more inclined to be able to afford environmentally friendly feature in their dwelling. Its is also notice from this study when the age of the respondents was compared to the number of students that use the Adelaide public transport and bicycle has their mode of transport. It is noticed that respondents aged 18 and 19 are both the highest(18. % each) user of Adelaide public transport, while respondents within the range of 36 to 57 years did not make use of Adelaide public transport at all. This may be as a result of older people having owned their personal vehicle. Conclusion This study was aimed at determining the environmental attitude and opinion of students and the effects of their degree of study, age, socio economic status and gender and on these environmental attitudes. In this study it has been observed that the degree a student is enrolled in has a significant effect on their environmental attitudes when the students take more environmental courses, because the participation in their environmental attitudes increases.
As a result of the study, it could be concluded that the students surveyed generally had positive attitudes toward the environment regardless of the demographic characteristics used. Findings in this studies can be significant, because to face the challenges of environmental problem it is important to know the attitudes of students who are the potential leaders and policy makers of the future, so as to acquaint these younger generation with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitude relating to the environment regardless of their demography characteristic, because this students will affect and be affected by the environmental policies and decisions undertaken today.