Paradojas del comportamiento proambiental de los estudiantes universitarios en diferentes disciplinas académicas
Sandoval-Escobar, Marithza | 2019-09-26
The objective of the present study was to establish the characteristics of the pro environmental behavior of Colombian university students; that is, to identify the attitudes, beliefs, valuations, practices and environmental knowledge of Colombian students from different university careers. For this purpose, a cross-sectional descriptive-correlational study was carried out with a sample of 1503 students from different university careers in five Colombian cities, with an incidence probability of .5, 95 % confidence and an error of 2.5 %. The participants were randomly selected within each university and the questionnaires applied were the Pro environmental Behaviour Inventory (ICP) and the Environmental Knowledge Test (TCA); the latter was developed specifically for the purposes of this research. The students surveyed were found to have positive environmental attitudes and beliefs in most dimensions. The level of environmental awareness of students in the five selected cities is low. Although no significant differences were observed between the careers with respect to beliefs, valuations, actions and environmental knowledge, paradoxically the students of environmental sciences occupied inferior places to those who study economic and administrative sciences. Thus, in the analysis of specific items it was evidenced that the students of environmental sciences develop diverse anti environmental actions, in a similar way to the behavior patterns of the students of the other researched careers. With respect to the region, the results show that it is possible to conclude that there are differences according to the city with respect to the beliefs, valuation, knowledge and environmental actions of the students surveyed. Among the findings it is worth highlighting the results of Bucaramanga in terms of the report of environmental actions and the highest average in the TCA observed in that city. Similarly, Cali stands out along with Bucaramanga in its results, while Medellín obtained the lowest scores in environmental knowledge. Finally, in the report on environmental actions in university students, contradictory results are observed, given that it presents a controversial profile because people perform pro-environmental and anti-environmental behaviors at the same time, with positive environmental attitudes and beliefs in accordance with these attitudes. Regarding the knowledge about the environment, in the descriptive results the average of the test was 12 points, which means that the students failed the test. The multivariate analysis showed that the theoretical model on which the construction of the ICP was based and the instruments from which items were selected for its conformation, apparently has great predictive power with respect to the verbal report of environmental actions; however, the TCA, a test constructed specifically for this research, would covariate with almost all the factors of the ICP but does not predict causally the actions reported by the students. In general, this study shows that university institutions and the Colombian government have the challenge of ensuring that environmental education achieves the expected results for the fulfillment of both the country and the world’s environmental goals. The results also demonstrates the need to articulate policies, actions and regulations to improve the quality of environmental education in universities, as well as to implement citizen behavior programs that promote responsible consumption, given that knowledge does not correlate with effective actions in terms of public services, green brands and solid urban waste management, among other areas.