Environmental knowledge, attitudes and behavior in Dutch secondary education

1 juni 1999
Auteur: Kuhlemeier, H., Bergh, H. van den, & Lagerweij, N.

Uit: The Journal of Environmental Education, 1999, Vol. 30, No. 2, 4-14


In the Dutch National Assessment Program, environmental knowledge, environmental attitudes, and environmentally responsible behavior were studied in a nationwide sample of more than 9,000 students (aged ± 15 years) from 206 secondary schools. Fifty-seven percent of the 9th-grade students had a (very) positive attitude toward the environment, and 35% were prepared to take extra pains or to make (financial) sacrifices for the environment. The students' knowledge about environmental problems was fragmentary and often incorrect, however. Similarly, the environmentally responsible behavior of many of the students was inadequate. The relation between environmental knowledge and environmental attitudes and behavior proved to be very weak. There was a substantial relation between environmental attitude, willingness to make personal sacrifices, and environmentally responsible behavior. Consistent with theories on attitudes, environmentally responsible behavior was more strongly connected with willingness to make sacrifices than with attitude toward the environment.