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TitleHow do students perceive and evaluate responses to climate change?
Author(s)Vargas-Callejas, Germán
Barba-Núñez, María
Carvalho, Anabela
Vicente-Mariño, Miguel
Arto-Blanco, Mónica
Meira-Cartea, Pablo Ángel
KeywordsClimate Change
Social Representations
Higher Education
Focus Groups
Comparative Studies
Issue date2018
PublisherCommon Ground Research Networks
JournalInternational Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses
Abstract(s)Impacts of climate change are increasingly felt in our daily lives. Although scepticism is still found among certain social groups, most lay discourses show awareness of the current environmental challenges. In order to move forward and develop action plans to mitigate and adapt to climate change, young people are an important voice to be heard. This research article tackles questions pertaining to the relation between climate change communication, education and social perception of science, exploring social and cultural representations of climate change through the discourses of young people. Fieldwork involved eight focus groups conducted in Brazil, Mexico, Portugal and Spain with a total of 50 higher education students of Experimental/Natural Sciences and Engineering, and of Social Sciences and Humanities. Discussions were organized around 16 images referring to the causes, consequences and responses to climate change. Without significant differences between knowledge areas or countries, findings point to awareness of multiple types of responses to climate change, even though students’ analyses were more grounded on common culture than on solid scientific evidence and language. Adaptation strategies were more rarely mentioned than mitigation actions. A strong emphasis was put on barriers to response implementation. Moderate optimism regarding some possible responses was impaired by distrust regarding the political and economic systems leading to calls for transformation at multiple levels.
AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:CECS - Artigos em revistas internacionais / Articles in international journals

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