Handing over the mic: Interview updates

Handing over the mic: Interview updates

Environmental Perceptions by Country

Hey guys! Our group project will focus on the debate on the importance of environmental issues beliefs in connection with education levels within 6 different countries, each from a different continent (Libya, Singapore, USA, Netherlands, Australia and Chile). We chose the highest country from each continent on the education index list, as long as it was also present on the World Values Survey. By using the World Value Survey database we will be inquiring how important it is to people to look after the environment, this will be categorized based on their educational level. This database is made up of specific values for issues concerning social and political life from countries around the world.

The news that will begin our news article is the fact that on February 8th Antarctica reached the highest temperature it ever has. This shows how climate change is as prevalent as ever, and is represented by media on a daily basis, and this makes it highly relevant. Considering how Fridays for Future have been in the talks in the last year, it is clear that younger generations of students are highly invested in climate change. This sparks our interest in finding out how education is related to climate change perception. In addition to this, with this Data News report we would like to better represent the different sensibilities regarding environmental issues. As humans tend to base their perception on people closer to them, an analysis based on data coming from different countries, divided by different educational levels could be a significant representation of how diverse people feel about the environment. This may be eye opening for those who believed people to either care or not care just like them.

Our choice of countries will be based on the Education Index by the United Nations, as we will be trying to represent the broadest possible variety of educational level. This is also the reason behind why we chose one country from each different continent; while it is speculative to argue that people’s values radically change just because of the location of their country, our selection probably still represents a large variety of cultures and values than, for instance, five European countries would.

As mentioned above, environmental issues are becoming more and more important in the public sphere, it will be interesting to see if there is a connection between environmental awareness and educational levels. Hence it would be thought provoking for us to draw a comparison with the notion of education levels differing in each one of these countries. Unfortunately, many people today still think the environment issues are not important enough to take action. This could be due to the educational level of a country as people learn about what is important and worthy of attention in educational institutions. By looking at the chosen five countries from the Human Development Report’s Educational Index list, it will be interesting to see if higher or lower education levels indicate that people are more willing to look after the environment or not.

Nowadays, education on the environment is implemented more and more into educational institutions, but this differs per country. One could maybe argue that higher educational levels bring more attention to issues such as environmental issues whereas lower educational levels might be focusing on other topics. However, it might also prove to be the opposite: people with lower educational levels might be more sensitive to environmental issues because they might be affected by them the most. It is important to remember that the data we will be using is from the years 2010-2014. After these years, the perceptions and opinions on climate change have changed drastically. Because of this, we will be using another data set for the years after 2014 to draw a comparison and see if things have changed since then.

Our main reasoning behind pursuing such a topic is to help visualise these facts in a manner that is not manipulated by public rhetoric, for example by the media sphere. We are aiming to communicate a concrete perception based on the data collected, that does away with perspectives synonymous with political discourse within these countries, but focuses on the field that is key to combating issues facing the environment, education. The results of this investigation may yield an interesting insight into the connections and correlations between education and the perceived importance of environmental protection, management and awareness as an important issue in society.

Using the World Value Survey database and our other literary sources, we will be focusing on the statistics of the level education systems of each country and how this affects students learning about climate change. We think that countries which have a higher concern with education directly correlate with climate change awareness, especially with the youth. We will attempt to interview Greta Thunberg about the way she perceives levels of education to treat climate change related issues, if it is talked about differently in university environments and how so. Additionally, if Greta Thunberg is unavailable, we plan to interview a specialist in education, possibly from the Netherlands, on their point of view on this situation concerning climate change and schooling.

For what concerns the statistics (AKA the fun part), we found an article from the Pew Research Center that is a good overview of how different factors affect climate change perception. We will be mainly using their data about how education is correlated to it, but, if proves to be helpful we will add data regarding other variables. In addition, we are planning to include a paper that is a report of 237 questionnaires from universities from 51 countries around the world about how students and staff feel about climate change. This should be a good starting point for our statistical journey.

Stay tuned for more!





remind your topic/story

what are your variables

what statistics are you calculating and why? pitfalls?

preliminary findings (5W)

next steps


For now, we have contacted multiple people that we could possibly interview. Examples of this are the media team of Greta Thunberg, Tamara Ledley, and some professors from the faculty of Child Development and Education. We are still waiting for some answers and are hoping to schedule the interview this or upcoming week. Depending on the person we will schedule the interview either through skype or in person. We did come up with our interview questions, but depending on the person we will edit these accordingly. These are our questions:

  1. Do you believe that higher education in general is a tool to combat climate change skepticism (considering the critical thinking methods that it offers students), or is a specifically improved climate change education key?

  2. In your research did you consider how different levels of education affect climate change perception? If so, what result did you find?

  3. What would be a good approach in education that can contribute to increasing awareness of environmental issues in your opinion? Are you aware if any of these approaches already have been implemented somewhere and if so, did they have any impacts?

  4. In the current Information Age, where we have freely available content like documentaries on YouTube and handheld devices with social media apps where awareness campaigns can be spread, informing and educating the masses (with arguable correctness), do you think that learning about climate change or the environment from a national curriculum in schools is as effective as the causal learning taking place on social media channels?

  5. When you were in school did you ever experience any environmental issues being spoken about? If so, do you believe that there has been a general gradual rise in educating students on climate change over the years, considering the growing pertinence of the situation?

  6. Do you have any final remarks to make on the interrelation between education and climate change or environmental issues?

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