Children's Environmental Concerns: Expressing Ecophobia

TitleChildren's Environmental Concerns: Expressing Ecophobia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsStrife, SJean
JournalThe Journal of Environmental Education
Pagination37 - 54
Date Published2012/01/01/
ISBN Number0095-8964
Keywordschildren, ecophobia, environmental concern, environmental problems, future perceptions
AbstractWhile numerous quantitative studies across disciplines have investigated children's knowledge and attitudes about environmental problems, few studies examine children's feelings about environmental problems—and even fewer have focused on the child's point of view. Through 50 in-depth interviews with urban children (ages 10–12) this research aimed to fill the scholarly gap in our understanding of children's environmental concerns by voicing children's feelings about environmental problems. Findings revealed 82% of children expressed fear, sadness, and anger when discussing their feelings about environmental problems. A majority of children also shared apocalyptic and pessimistic feelings about the future state of the planet. These results suggest that many children are “ecophobic” (i.e., fearful of environmental problems), which scholars argue may have serious implications for children's participation in environmental stewardship and conservation efforts more broadly. Understanding children's perspectives regarding these issues is critical, considering that children are important environmental stakeholders, consumers, residents, and future voters facing the pernicious effects of local and global environmental degradation.