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From Education to Action: The Effectiveness of CEMUS courses in promoting behavior and action towards sustainable development
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis studied four CEMUS courses offered in spring 2011. The purpose of this study was: 1) to measure CEMUS students‘ self-reported behavior and action as well as behavior intention towards sustainable development; 2) to analyze different factors and barriers to their behavior and action; 3) to analyze course coordinators‘ knowledge and perspectives about behavior change and action towards sustainable development; and 4) to analyze each course‘s impact on students. Finally, this thesis discusses how education can be improved to foster behavior and action towards sustainable development. This study used both qualitative and quantitative methods. According to the results, most CEMUS students were willing to recycle; to switch off electricity when it‘s not needed; and to travel by bicycle or public transportation instead of by car. On the other hand, fewer students had a willingness to pay for environmental costs and to cut down water consumption and waste. Among the opportunities for indirect action, it was political participation and working within the field of sustainable development (SD) that were most preferred. In contrast, much fewer students were willing to avoid purchasing products from companies with poor track records on CSR, to participate in voluntary work related to SD and to donate money for social or environmental causes. The two most frequently perceived constraints for behavior change among students were a lack of money and obstructive social norms. As a course outcome, four out of six coordinators expect students to take action afterwards but there is a lack of knowledge on how to encourage students to behave and act more sustainably. Based on the results, this thesis discussed what kinds of learning methods can be applied in CEMUS and ESD. It was concluded that education should focus on a specific domain and a small spatial scale, and assign project assignments in which students communicate and interact with stakeholders. Such an approach will help to approach the goals of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). CEMUS could also implement the theory of locus of control, emotional involvement and four different kinds of knowledge in their education in order to improve the effectiveness of CEMUS courses when it comes to promoting behavior and action towards sustainable development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Education for Sustainable Development, Sustainable Development, Behavior Change, Locus of Control, Emotional Involvement, Environmental Psychology
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-177264OAI: diva2:539709
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
2012-02-13, Uppsala, 14:30 (English)
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2012-07-05 Created: 2012-07-05 Last updated: 2012-07-05Bibliographically approved

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