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pp. 695-715 | DOI: 10.12973/ijese.2015.261a | Article Number: ijese.2015.026
Published Online: September 09, 2015
Article Views: 589 | Article Download: 511
In this paper, the effectiveness of environmental education (EE) programs at fostering ecologically responsible behavior is analyzed through the lens of psychology. In section 1, a critique of knowledge and attitude appeals is presented using contemporary psychological understandings of these constructs to show why many EE programs have been met with mixed results. It is argued that knowledge and attitudes are misunderstood in precisely how they are employed in decision-making and that these misunderstandings hamper the impact of EE programming. In section 2, the theoretical foundation for applying identity research is developed further and is shown to engage both the automatic and controlled cognitive processes—the key distinction of the IBEE model. In section 3, this research is applied to develop a novel program for producing ecologically responsible behavior through EE using self-identity as a more sophisticated and effective behavioral mediator, as is how a ‘pro-environmental identity’ could be developed. Self-identity is a durable and robust behavioral mediator that has been shown to be highly predictive of an individual’s behavior and can be shaped to lead one toward ecologically responsible behavior across behavioral domains.
Keywords: environmental education, environmental behavior, environmental psychology, conservation
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