Authors: Naomi Ray, Nicole Ardoin, Alison Bowers, Anna Lee
The view of the lone individual striking out on his or her own to make a discovery, find new knowledge, and subsequently succeed or fail is, perhaps refreshingly, becoming an outdated notion. Similarly, the notion of an individual action representing the pinnacle of success in terms of saving society from its ills or, on the flip side, a single action causing society’s downfall, is equally far-fetched. To more effectively address environmental issues through environmental education, this project seeks to deeply understand how to foster and measure collective environmental literacy. Core to this work is examining the critical role of a community’s collective knowledge and action when identifying and confronting environmental issues. To those ends, the main project goals are to: (1) Examine the various epistemological lenses by which environmental behavior change and action are understood at the collective level, (2) gather, coalesce, and analyze measures that aim to capture collective efforts, and (3) operationalize and revise for our context those measures, culminating in pilot-testing them in on-the- ground, community-based settings.
This project measured collective environmental literacy with a focus on water quality. Community asset mapping and targeted survey work were used to examine high school graduates from Atlanta, Georgia. The data suggests that we can develop a few instruments and approaches for pilot testing in the future.
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