Microplastics - how and what do university students know about the emerging environmental sustainability issue?

Janoušková, S., Teplý, P., Fatka, D., Teplá, M., Cajthaml, T., Hák, T. (2020) Sustainability, 12(21), 9220

For a successful transition towards sustainability, people need information and knowledge to understand the complex interconnectedness of social, natural, and social-natural systems. In order for people to be able to take a position on a number of environmental and social issues, and make decisions arising from these challenges, they need to use environmental literacy. We have come up with a tool to answer the question of how students access information about new environmental topics in the media, and how they transform it into environmental knowledge. Almost 400 students from seven Czech universities took part in a combined knowledge test and context questionnaire on microplastics (information based on the previous analysis of selected major web media). More than a third of students tested identified mass media as their main source of knowledge. Most students, however, already had some simple partial knowledge about the topic-the level of commonly discussed information that students remember and then just reproduce. Our statistically evaluated results may help teachers improve the quality of their instruction, curriculum, and subsequently students' achievement and environmental civic competencies. The results present original findings complementing international research on the role of education and mass media in environmental sustainability knowledge.


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