Date of Award
Master of Environmental Studies (MES)
A survey of undergraduate students (N=208) at a private, Christian university assessed environmental attitude with the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP), environmental knowledge with the National Environment Education & Training Foundation NEEFT)/Roper Survey, and self-reported environmental behaviors. Some additional survey components explored the relationships of Christian faith and environmental attitudes of students. Sampling occurred among students in a few select classes and via all-campus student email announcements for voluntary and anonymous responses. This survey can serve in program and curriculum development, survey tool development and as a benchmark study for Taylor University.
Students overwhelmingly recognize a relationship between their Christian faith and the natural world. Female gender positively correlated with endorsement of the NEP and self-reported proenvironmental behavior, and negatively with environmental knowledge. The NEP showed moderate predictive abilities for environmental behavior. Students who had taken an environmental science course scored significantly higher on the environmental knowledge portion. The low endorsement of the NEP by Christian students suggests some negative interaction of the NEP with Christian beliefs; those not identifying as Christians (N=11) showed significantly greater endorsement of the NEP.
Future research could involve exploration of specific Christian beliefs and how they relate to the environment, in an effort to better capture the environmental concern of Christian populations. The use of this survey in another Christian environment, such as another Christian University, may help confirm the inadequacy of the NEP in assessing Christian environmental attitudes. Other future research could include tailoring behavioral survey components to more fully reflect actions of pro-environmental college students, and a longitudinal study to assess the impact of Taylor’s curriculum and programming on individuals.
Rudy, Kathryn R., "Surveying Environmental Attitudes, Behavior and Knowledge at a Christian Liberal Arts University: Exploring Faith, Stewardship, and the "New Ecological Paradigm"" (2015). Master of Environmental Science (MES) Theses. 6.