Adolescents’ Perceptions of the Psychological Distance to Climate Change, Its Relevance for Building Concern About It, and the Potential for Education

Gubler, Moritz Raffael; Brügger, Adrian; Eyer, Marc (2019). Adolescents’ Perceptions of the Psychological Distance to Climate Change, Its Relevance for Building Concern About It, and the Potential for Education. In: Leal Filho, Walter; Hemstock, Sarah L. (eds.) Climate Change and the Role of Education. Climate Change Management (pp. 129-147). Cham: Springer 10.1007/978-3-030-32898-6_8

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One of the greatest challenges of this century is climate change. Unfortunately, it is still unclear how to motivate people to engage in environmentally friendly behaviour. To be effective, education and communication strategies must take into account people’s perceptions and beliefs. A root difficulty is that the general public tends to perceive climate change as a psychologically distant phenomenon—something that, if at all, happens not here, not now, and not to oneself. In this study, we explored perceptions of psychological distance to climate change with a highly relevant but so far overlooked population—adolescents. Swiss adolescents (N = 587) perceived climate change to be a certain and present risk. However, they perceived climate change to affect other places and other people more than themselves. Regression analysis revealed a significant inverse relationship between distance and concern: respondents who felt psychologically closer to the phenomenon expressed greater concern. The findings contribute to the understanding of how young people perceive climate change, which should assist in designing education strategies to make it more salient for individual behaviour.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography > Unit Climatology
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Business Management > Institute of Innovation Management
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Business Management > Institute of Innovation Management > Consumer Behavior
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Physical Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Gubler, Moritz Raffael and Gadient-Brügger, Adrian

Subjects:

600 Technology > 650 Management & public relations
900 History > 910 Geography & travel
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 370 Education
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology

ISBN:

978-3-030-32898-6

Series:

Climate Change Management

Publisher:

Springer

Language:

English

Submitter:

Moritz Raffael Gubler

Date Deposited:

17 Feb 2020 16:06

Last Modified:

17 Feb 2020 16:06

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/978-3-030-32898-6_8

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Climate change education, Young people, Psychological distance, Climate change concern, Sustainable behaviour

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.140419

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/140419

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