Marine environmental awareness among university students in Taiwan: a potential signal for sustainability of the oceans

Marine environmental awareness among university students in Taiwan: a potential signal for sustainability of the oceans
– Articles in the current issue of Environmental Education Research – 22(7)

Chung-Ling Chen & Chen-Hao Tsai
Pages: 958-977 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2015.1054266

Abstract
University students are regarded as future decision-makers in society and have a high likelihood of becoming opinion-shapers in terms of the environment. Their awareness of the marine environment will therefore have a significant effect upon sustainable marine development. This study examines Taiwanese university students’ marine environmental awareness, focusing on environmental attitudes, understanding of marine and coastal issues, and environmental behavior. A total of 825 valid samples in a questionnaire survey are used for the analysis. Overall, respondents possess a highly positive attitude towards the marine environment and a moderate self-reported level of marine knowledge, but are not actively engaged in environmental protection endeavors, particularly ones involving spending personal income and taking legal or political action. Experience in marine-related activities and marine knowledge are important in fostering marine environmental awareness, particularly in regard to environmental behavior. This study addresses the gap between widespread environmental concerns and low engagement in environmental actions by proposing a multimodal approach: improving marine knowledge and experience in marine-related activities, creating safe recreational spaces at seasides, and reinforcing legal education. This study concludes by highlighting the importance of marine environmental awareness in the development of ocean citizenship as well as the sustainability of the marine environment.

Keywords: awareness, marine environment, sustainability, university students, Taiwan

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