- The report has been drawn up with the collaboration of the Fundación Europea Sociedad y Educación (European Foundation Society and Education) and the sociologists Víctor Pérez-Díaz and Juan Carlos Rodríguez.
- The intensity of the environmental culture of the Spanish population is medium or medium-low, as reflected in general environmental behaviours and attitudes and the limited propensity to assume costs for environmental purposes.
- The opinion of youngsters regarding their school experience in terms of environmental education suggests the need for better-prepared teachers inclined to use more practical instructional methods.
Today the Endesa Foundation presented the Ecobarómetro study. Environmental culture and education, drawn up with the collaboration of the European Foundation Society and Education. This study is based on two surveys conducted using two samples of around 1,000 individuals, representing a population of internet users aged between 18-35 years and the general population aged between 18-75 years respectively.
The authors of the report, Víctor Pérez-Díaz and Juan Carlos Rodríguez, chairman and researcher of Analistas Socio-Políticos and collaborators of the Society and Education Foundation, highlighted the new additions to the report, including the use of the concept of environmental culture for giving meaning to the set of environmental perceptions, knowledge, attitudes and practices of the respondents and the fact that it focuses on young people and on the relationship between their school experience and their opinions and their behaviours regarding the environment. In this regard, they pointed out that “it is probably the first ‘sample’ of its kind to be carried out in Spain and it is probably one of very few to have been conducted in any country”.
In turn, Begoña Muñoz de Verger, Head of Projects at the Endesa Foundation, stated that the “Endesa Foundation is firmly committed to the development of educational initiatives that promote environmental culture among young people. It is essential to create an environmental awareness delving into the values, attitudes and knowledge of the Spanish population and specifically, the younger generation, with regard to the environment”.
The results of the survey conducted among young people aged between 18-35 years, included in the first part of the report, revealed that 54% consider the environmental and energy issues included in the education received during their school years (until 15/16 years of age) to be insufficient or highly insufficient; 44.5% believed it to be acceptable, high or, even, excessive. 30.8% would have liked to have learned more about these issues because they were not included in their school curriculum.
The opinion offered by the younger respondents suggests that there is margin for improvement regarding teacher preparation when explaining these subjects and it reveals that 'modern' methodologies are seldom used when teaching environmental issues. For example, 11.2% refer to regular internet use; the use of practical group or individual projects, 10.6%; and practical projects that involve various classes, 2.8%. If the frequency category of “sometimes" is added, these methodologies would be extended to 33.2, 39.7 and 17% respectively.
According to the information obtained in the study, most youngsters (57.7%) feel they know little or nothing at all about environmental issues; this percentage has varied very little in twenty years, despite the greater presence of environmental issues in education and public discussion.
For Juan Carlos Rodríguez, “the level of environmental culture received by Spanish students in their school experiences is low, which does not mean it is non-existent. Perhaps the media are also helping to develop their environmental knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and values and other reference groups probably have an influence too, mainly the family, to which respondents attribute a significant importance".
In terms of the telephone survey conducted among the general population aged between 18-75 years, the authors indicate that "when environmental conservation is included in the overall problems in Spain, these issues do not appear among the most important short-term problems.However, as indicated in the study, when analysed by itself, environmental preservation is seen as a serious problem that urgently needs a solution: 95.4% believe that it is a serious or quite a serious problem; 93.5% believe that it requires an urgent solution.In the long term, environmental problems appear in third position, after unemployment and pensions.
When asked what represents good quality of life, the environment takes second place: only 6.6% consider it to be one of the two most important factors, which is very far from the 65.8% that mention good health, 35.2% that mention sufficient income, 28.6% that mention a good job or 28.1% that mention family or friends to rely on.
According to the study, some relevant behaviour in terms of the environment is more established than others. The most commonly practiced are the use of different containers for household waste (87.6% normally carry out this disposal practice), the use of low-consumption light bulbs (85.3%) and separating rubbish according to the type of waste (%).The second level includes using public transport for daily journeys (34.3%) and the purchase of organic products (27.8%).Less frequent practices are not using own vehicles for environmental reasons (17%) and participating in environmental initiatives (9.6%).In general terms, the inclination of those surveyed to make sacrifices in order to preserve the environment is limited.
When respondents were asked about the origin of their environmental attitudes, they believe that their families have had the greatest influence (29.5% mention the family as an influencing factor) and the media (26.8%). Fewer refer to their school experiences (19.4%) or their groups of friends (12.9%).
Pérez-Díaz stated that the details from both surveys indicate "the need to continue looking into the role of schools with regard to establishing an environmental culture among Spanish people, by building indicators that enable it to be measured more accurately.In any event, the culture of society itself will have to be used together with the family, which is a crucial institution in the country's socialisation processes and often excluded when discussing the matter".
Report downloadable at:
For more information:
- Communication Endesa Foundation
Amaya Román: 912 091 910
- Communication Foundation Society and Education
Ana Rey: 91 4551576 / 666547991
About the Endesa Foundation
The Endesa Foundation, chaired by Borja Prado, has been carrying intense cultural and social activities since it was founded in 1998 as an independent non-profit organisation.
The Endesa Foundation has a clear commitment to the development of educational and training projects, focusing on the promotion of talent and the long-term employability of people and groups with limited resources.Likewise, it focuses on the development of environmental initiatives, related to education in order to promote an environmental culture and specific projects to improve natural and industrial environments.
Lighting projects for properties forming part of the Spanish artistic-historical heritage, together with the promotion, recovery and conservation of culture and art in its various aspects, are just a few more of the Foundation’s main lines of action.
More information at: http://www.fundacionendesa.org/