Student perceptions on climate change: an analysis and story map
Throughout the entirety of history, the Earth’s climate has been changing. A small fraction of warming is natural over time, but most scientists agree that humans are the primary contributor to this change. Although some research exists explaining what people know about climate change, there is not significant research regarding how college students view and understand climate change. In this thesis, I survey and interview numerous college students and analyze their opinions, thoughts, and knowledge of climate change. I also create a visual tool to educate these same students on current climate change issues involving wildlife. The working hypothesis is that students will understand basic climate change concepts but will have minimal knowledge of hard facts about climate change, students will not have done much to personally fight climate change, and students in science majors will have a better understanding of climate change than non-science majors. This thesis comes to the conclusion that students are less knowledgeable than they thought about climate change, but still moderately knowledgeable. Students have also taken some steps to combat climate change. Lastly, students in science-related majors were, indeed, more knowledgeable about climate change than those in unrelated majors.