Future Decision-Makers: Children's Perceptions of Environmental Problems

EPA Grant Number: F6C30157
Title: Future Decision-Makers: Children's Perceptions of Environmental Problems
Investigators: Strife, Susan
Institution: University of Colorado at Boulder
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: September 1, 2006 through September 1, 2008
Project Amount: $105,792
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Environmental Justice , Fellowship - Environmental


As environmental problems become increasingly complex, the next generation will have important decisions to make about the world in which they live. My research seeks to explore how youth develop their environmental perspectives and knowledge, and if these perspectives and knowledge correlate with environmental concern, variations in socio-demographic indicators and/or understandings of current environmental issues. Understanding how youth's environmental knowledge correlates to concern is an essential first step to exploring, analyzing and resolving environmental problems.


This research will employ both qualitative and quantitative strategies for collecting data on youth's environmental knowledge and concern. The qualitative data approach will mainly consist of in-depth interview and participant observation within school settings. In addition to contrasting insights across the two school sites, I will stratify the data by ethnicity and gender to examine variation along these lines. This will allow for a more in-depth understanding of how and if these social factors play a role in shaping environmental experiences, perceptions, and concerns. Quantitative data will be collected through questionnaires garnering knowledge on specific environmental questions.

Expected Results:

This research will contribute to understanding the critical thinking, environmental awareness and problem-solving skills necessary to mitigate environmental challenges facing the next generation. In addition research involving children’s development of environmental concern will provide a foundation to theorize about learning processes as well as a framework for understanding how environmental problems are projected by social structures and then absorbed by children.

Supplemental Keywords:

environmental decision making, youth, environmental concern, environmental education, environmental participation, environmental sociology, children, youth and environments, ecosystem management, urban planning, the next generation, sustainability in education, youth participation in environmental decision-making,, RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, decision-making, Ecology and Ecosystems, Social Science, Economics & Decision Making, community involvement, belief system, environmental awareness, environmental decision making, decision making, environmental policy, demographics, social sciences, ethnographic analysis

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2007
  • Final