Environmental Awareness of Primary School Aged Children in Brisbane, Australia

Ruel Muldoon, Tessa Shelford, Olivia Holland, Deanne Helena Hryciw

Abstract


Increased interest in conservation has led to an emerging interest in understanding children’s environmental awareness. Consequently, an increase in environmental education as part of the curriculum in Australian primary schools has resulted. The awareness of students in Australian primary schools has not been extensively studied. Consequently, the aim of this study was to investigate the environmental awareness of primary school aged children, and if gender or age influences awareness. We surveyed 105 primary school students (66 girls, 39 boys; 9 to 12 years of age) from Brisbane, Australia. The survey consisted of 10 closed questions and two open questions about human impacts on the environment and food waste. There was no gender difference in the number of correct responses, and older students had more correct responses. Further, females were more likely than males to correctly answer questions focused on behaviour and its impact on the environment. Open questions identified broad global themes of human impacts on the environment, with students focusing on repurposing food waste rather than reducing the amount of food purchased as a way of managing food waste. Therefore, specific types of environmental awareness are observed in primary school aged children.

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