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March 1998 - Issue No. #29 (p.12 - 14)

Environmental Awareness Survey

Reprinted by permission from Green Teacher Magazine, Issue 27 (p. 10)

by Bob Simpson

What do your students really think about environmental issues? How do they feel when they hear about the global crisis? Obtaining the answers to these questions may be the single most important step toward providing students with material that meets their intellectual and emotional needs. The necessity of discovering what my students thought and felt before I embarked on a unit on environmental issues was brought home to me when I discovered that some of them did not believe much of what they were told about the environmental crisis because their parents had caused them to believe that environmentalists were radicals who distort the truth. It's easy to understand this kind of thinking when you live in a forest industry dependent community in a province that some environmental groups have labelled the "Brazil of the North." To overcome this problem and to find out what my students really think about environmental issues. I designed a simple ten-item survey that provides a way for each student to express their views on a range of issues in complete anonymity. The results of the survey provide sufficient information to prepare a meaningful unit plan that meets the needs of that particular group of students. They also provide an excellent focal point for global discussion.

Please circle the letter next to the answer you feel is correct
or best corresponds with your feelings about the statement made.

1. Our environment is:
  1. in good shape

  2. in some trouble but can be saved with a little effort

  3. in bad shape but a lot of effort might save it

  4. in such bad shape little can be done about it

2. Which of the following do you feel is the worst environmental problem facing the planet?
  1. ozone depletion

  2. toxic waste

  3. global wanning

  4. water pollution

  5. air pollution

  6. deforestation

3. Who are the worst polluters?
  1. industries

  2. governments

  3. individual people

4. Who should be responsible for making sure we have a healthy environment?
  1. industry

  2. government

  3. environmental groups

  4. individuals

5. Is the current concern over the state of the environment justified? (Do you think it is really as bad as some people say it is?)
  1. yes

  2. no

  3. not sure

6. Given the current concern about the environment, how would you describe your future?
  1. bright and hopeful

  2. challenging

  3. depressing

  4. uncertain

7. The single most important thing that will make sure the environment is healthy for future generations is if:
  1. the polluting industries shut down, even if people lose their jobs

  2. new technologies can be found to solve our problems

  3. people learn to live with less and be more efficient users of energy and materials

  4. we find a way to have economic development continue in a way that minimizes pollution

8. I believe my health has already been affected by pollution.
  1. yes

  2. no

  3. maybe

  4. haven't thought about it

9. By the time you are 30 years old, the environment will be:
  1. destroyed

  2. better than it is now

  3. worse than it is now

  4. about the same as it is now

10. Sustainable development means:
  1. development that provides the most jobs

  2. development that will save the environment even if it means lots of people will lose their jobs

  3. development that takes into consideration the economic and environmental needs of future generations

Bob Simpson teaches science in Quesnel Secondary School in Quesnel, British Columbia.


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