Adult environmental education : a community psychology perspective

Butterworth, Iain Mark (1999) Adult environmental education : a community psychology perspective. PhD thesis, Victoria University of Technology.


Environmental education (EE) research has identified factors affecting people's environmental understanding and personal behaviours. However, it has been criticized for its largely individualistic, apolitical focus on school children. The present research used an action research (AR) approach to develop and test a model of community adult EE drawn from empowerment theory and practice, and health promotion in particular. Participants in two locations in Melbourne, Australia, engaged in skills training in peer leadership, grassroots group development, advocacy, and AR. Using adult education methods of guided discussion and peer interaction, participants were encouraged to establish and lead a group around an issue of personal and local concern, with the researcher acting as consultant. Empowerment-oriented activities and outcomes were documented. The research identified that the adult EE program, and the AR methodology used, was instrumental in fostering personal and collective environmental advocacy and empowerment. The research also highlighted the important sponsoring role in promoting environmental advocacy played by empowering community organizations with members of high local standing. Thirdly, the effort to protect urban heritage and amenity was recognized as a direct environmental issue. An EE incorporating environmental psychology principles could enhance residents' understanding about the meaning and sense of community they derive from their relationship with their urban environment, and inform their advocacy efforts.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1301 Education Systems
Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Keywords Environmental education, adult education, action research, community leadership, Melbourne
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