4.2 Quantifying the Climate Change Awareness of College Students and Its Implications for the Curriculum of Climate Studies

Tuesday, 8 January 2019: 10:45 AM
North 229AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Daniel Waktola, Los Angeles Mission College, Sylmar, CA

While a growing number of Americans believe that climate change is a major environmental issue, the awareness level of students has remained inadequately assessed. Natural disasters boost environmental awareness and are bound to unique locations. And yet, the contribution of students’ location-specific disaster knowledge to the global warming awareness is hardly investigated. The knowledge gap could be partly attributed to the limitations of methods in the acquisition and analysis of climate change awareness attributes. This study assesses the climate change awareness of college students by using the 2011-2017 California drought as a point of reference and locational knowledge as a proxy variable. A questionnaire survey was administered in two community colleges: Los Angeles Mission College and East Los Angeles College, California. Sample students enrolled in the Introduction to Physical Geography and Earth Science courses completed a questionnaire that consists of written and map-based questions: comprising knowledge, awareness, and opinion of students tuned to the recent California drought. SPSS is used for the statistical analyses of quantitative data. GIS is used for the spatial accuracy analysis that are relevant to the drought phenomena. This study will generate not only the patterns of climate change awareness of students, but also useful information for improving the curriculum and pedagogy of climate study courses including the integration of the AMS Climate Studies course materials.
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