Teaching through the screen: how watching "our planet" impacts adolescents’ connection to nature

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kathryn Blair Downs (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://library.wcu.edu/
Callie Schultz

Abstract: Climate change is a consistent and growing threat to human life. As current and future generations of youth are the most at risk for adverse effects of climate change, encouraging the development of pro-environmental behaviors in children and adolescents is of growing importance. Adolescents, ages 10-19, are in an ideal age range to develop a connection to nature (CTN) (Braun & Dierkes, 2017; Lumber et al., 2017). During these years, experiences in the outdoors are more likely to impact how young people will value nature in the future, and thus the future development of pro-environmental behaviors (Braun & Dierkes, 2017; Wells & Lekies, 2006). In order to encourage the adoption and development of pro-environmental behaviors more effectively, an emotional affinity for the environment should be established during childhood. Supplementing outdoor experience, the utilization of nature documentaries to develop CTN in adolescents could be valuable in combatting climate change for future generations. This mixed-methods study explored how watching a nature documentary can impact adolescents’ connection to nature. The episode had notable short-term impacts on CTN in adolescents, though long-term effects require further study.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2023
adolescent, connection to nature, nature documentary, pro-environmental behavior
Environmental education
Outdoor education
Documentary films

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