Characteristics of Environmentalism at Calvin College A Qualitative Analysis Sociology by therza


									Characteristics of Environmentalism
         at Calvin College:
      A Qualitative Analysis

   Sociology & Social Work 320
              Spring 2007

      Audrey Kelly, Lauren VanderPlas,
           Megan Miller, Pa Thao,
             Anna Taglialatela

         Instructor Rachel Venema
Purpose Statement
Humans and the Natural
 Researcher Perspective
   Calvin students analyzing Calvin
 Ideal human relationship to nature:
 environmental harmony
 More common human relationship to
 nature: environmental harm
Calvin College and the Natural
 Intellectual traditions of earth-keeping
   Value the earth as God’s creation
   Stewardship of creation is a way to serve God
   “Every Square Inch” Kuiperian theology
 Cultural behaviors of environmental harm
   Majority white, North American population
     “Ecological Footprint”
Research Purpose
 Probe the relationship between
 environmental beliefs, attitudes, and
 Examine dimensions of environmentalism
 within Calvin College
   Areas of growth
   Areas of concern
What will this research do to help
the Calvin College community?
 Environmental intervention programs
 Administrative policy
 Future scholarship regarding
 Overall awareness within the Calvin
 College community
Literature Review
Environmental Education &
Area of Study
 Studies in Natural Sciences relates to
 environmental concern (Sherman, 2004)
 Students studying biology and environmental
 science possess significantly higher rates of
 environmental concern than those in computer,
 statistics and business majors (Hodgkinson &
 Innes, 2001, Tikka et al, 2000).
 Increases in environmental education do not
 always translate into environmental concern
 (Bright & Tarrants, 2002; Hsu, 2004)
Attitudes & Behaviors
 No clear relationship between attitudes
 and behaviors (Eagly and Chaiken, 1993).

 Some research have found those with
 positive attitudes toward the environment
 also tend to act on those attitudes (Tikka,
 Kuitunen, and Tynys, 2000).
  Judgmental sampling
  12 key respondents
  11 faculty and staff members: Science
  department faculty members, leaders within
  environmental groups, administrators, staff
  directors on Calvin’s campus, and 1 student.
  9 males, 3 females
  4-38 years at Calvin
  Length of interviews: 15-55 minutes with an
  average of 39 minutes per interview.
Interview Questions
1) General background information of the
2) General attitudes towards the environment
  within the Calvin College community
3) The relationship between Christian worldview
  taught at Calvin and environmental stewardship
4) How the Calvin College community responds to
  environmental issues
 5) How beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors towards
  the environment have changed in the last decade
Data Analysis

 Interviews were transcribed and coded in
 order to analyze findings.

 Grounded Theory Method content analysis
 based on frequency of themes
Coded Research Themes
 Relationship between environmental concern and
 Christian worldview.

 Environmental impact of Calvin College.

 Current environmental beliefs, attitudes, and
 behaviors within the Calvin community.

 Changes in beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors in
 the Calvin community over the last decade.
Environmental concern and
Christian worldview
 Environmental concern & faith perspective
   Reformed tradition
   Environmental content in Calvin’s curriculum
     DCM interim courses
     Specific disciplines of environmental science, biology,
   Broader attitude within the Calvin community

 Key phrases
Ways that Calvin College contributes to
the wellbeing of the environment
 LEED certified Buildings
   Bunker Interpretive Center – Gold Rated LEED
 Ecosystem Preserve
 Educating Students
 Alternative Transportation
 Wind Turbines
 Recycling Initiatives
Ways that Calvin College damages or
harms the environment
 Energy Use
   Heating and cooling buildings
 Chemical Pollutants
 Solid waste
 Agriculture and food
Current Environmental Beliefs,
Attitudes, and Behaviors
 Pockets of concern
 Faculty concern
   Faculty concern and behavior varies, just the
   same as students
   Faculty members as a group tend to care more
   than students about the environment
Changes in Environmental Concern
over the past 10 years
 Varied responses
   Increased Awareness/Concern in the Calvin
   community over the past 10 years
   Similar Awareness/Concern in the Calvin
   community over the past 10 years
   Some Changes in behavior over the past 10
Other Interesting Findings
 Land Development vs. Land Preservation
 Fiscal cost of environmentalism
   Building projects
Significant Findings
 Calvin students, faculty and staff generally
 have sensitive attitudes towards the

 Relationship between environmental
 concern and Christian Worldview

 Concerns and actions don’t always line up
Significant Findings (Cont)
 Science division more sensitive towards
 environment Calvin

 Pockets of concern, ESC and CEAP


 Areas that need to be addressed
 Sample size (n=12)

 Respondent selection

 Location of Interviews

 Possible bias in respondents
Further Research
 Christian Worldview

 Influences of concern

 Stewardship and pockets of concern

 Demographics (Race, Class, Gender, Religion,
 Place of Origin, etc.)

 Larger sample size
Question & Answer

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