AN EXAMINATION OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENT’S KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDE OF CLIMATE CHANGE
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Climate is the most important factor in determining global patterns of vegetation shape, productivity, and the composition of plant and animal species. The average weather conditions in a location over a long period of time are referred to as climate. While the weather can change in an instant, climate change can take years. According to Small and Nicholis (2003), the climate is the average weather for a given location over a long period of time. It refers to the totality of all weather that occurs in a specific location over a long period of time. Ordinary weather conditions, the typical weather season (winter/spring/summer/fall), and exceptional weather occurrences are all included (such as tornadoes)
(For example, tornadoes and floods). Climate variability affects the evolution of natural ecosystems as well as the human economic and cultural systems that rely on them.
When we talk about climate change, we’re talking about long-term average seasonal changes. According to Igwe (2003), climate change is defined as the fluctuation of global or regional climates over time. This graph depicts changes in the atmosphere over time periods ranging from a few decades to thousands of years. Climate change, according to Nzewi (2009), is defined as a demonstrable rise in the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere, seas, and landmasses over time. According to Ezeudu (2009), climate change is defined as as a long-term substantial shift in the average weather conditions that a certain area experiences. Climate change, as defined by Nwagu and Nzewi (2009), is defined as a significant shift in weather (including wind, precipitation, and temperature) over an extended period of time (over 100 years). According to Udenyi (2010), global climate change is simply a change in the global climatic condition, and if the change is judged to be increasing by scientists and other relevant authorities, it is referred to as climate change. Climate change is defined in this study as a significant and observable shift in global temperature that is assumed to be rising rather than decreasing. The local weather
As a result of a natural cycle, the Earth is dynamic and constantly changing. In any case, the world is most concerned about the fact that the changes occurring now are occurring at a faster rate than they were previously due to human activity (Okebukola & Akpan 2009). Similarly, Uzochi (2009a) observed that humans have been significantly altering their environment since they learned how to hunt with weapons, domesticate animals, and farm crops. Humans have also modernized transportation and industrial systems, allowing for more convenient movement and manufacturing.
These human activities have a negative impact on climate change as a result of the excessive release of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases, according to Sjoberg (2002), are Those gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect by collecting and releasing infrared light into the atmosphere. Some of the gases produced include carbon dioxide, methane, chloroflorocarbon, water vapour, and nitrous oxide. A greenhouse gas, according to Igwe (2003), is a gas in the atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation in the thermal infrared spectrum. The greenhouse effect is a major contributor as a result of this process. The greenhouse effect is the rise in global temperature caused by certain gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane, water vapour, nitrous oxide, and chloroflorocarbons, trapping and retaining more solar energy. This has resulted in global warming and climate change.
which we are currently experiencing.
Furthermore, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has resulted in ozone layer depletion. The ozone layer, located in the stratosphere, is a thin layer that shields the earth from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Furthermore, it protects life on Earth from the sun’s highly damaging radiation. Beginning in the 1980s, scientists discovered evidence that the ozone layer was either depleting or disappearing. Furthermore, ozone depletion allows more ultra-violent radiation to reach the earth’s surface, hastening the rate at which the global climate changes over time. As the rate of climate change accelerates, serious consequences such as desertification, droughts, and temperature rises will result. Poor agricultural yields, drying up of water bodies, and flooding are just a few examples. (2011); (Oruonye, 2011). (Oruonye, 2011). Similarly, Igwebuike, Odoh, Ezeugwu, Okparaku, and Opkaraku (2009) listed the consequences of climate change, which included melting polar ice, which could lead to sea-level rise, among other things. Flooding disasters could result from rising sea levels (which can wash away farmland and crops, in addition to rendering the affected people homeless). According to Ekezie (2010), an increase in temperature due to climate change could cause drought, desertification, a drop in water table, the extinction of some plant and animal species, a decrease in crop yield, and the outbreak of climate-related diseases such as malaria and meningitis, among other things.
other things. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as a result of our continued release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the effects of climate change may last for a longer period of time. In light of the foregoing, Omotosho (2007), Ishaya & Obaja (2008), Anyadike (2009), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, 2010) have argued that human continued perpetuation of acts that cause excessive emission of greenhouse gases, such as bush burning, indiscriminate cutting down of trees (deforestation), constant burning of fossil fuels, and other activities, is dependent on their awareness that their activities contribute to climate change.
According to Oragwam (2004), awareness is a state of consciousness with a specific goal. The According to Chinedu (2008), awareness is the state of being aware of and able to comprehend what is going on in one’s environment. The condition or capacity to observe, experience, or be cognizant of events, objects, or sensory patterns is known as awareness. It is also known as “consciousness” at times. The concept of awareness refers to the awareness of the presence of something. According to Wikipedia (2009), awareness is defined as having knowledge of, understanding of, appreciation for, recognition of, attention to, perception of, conscious of, acquaintance with, enlightenment with, mindfulness of, cognizance of, or general awareness of something. Belloti (2002) defines awareness as recognizing who is chatting with whom and providing one’s perspective.
Another in one’s daily work environment; this is referred to as social awareness. However, in the context of this study and in relation to the preceding points of view, awareness entails comprehension and knowledge of the actions and events (such as climate change) occurring in one’s immediate surroundings. This knowledge and awareness had a significant impact on one’s attitude toward such events (or events in one’s surroundings).
Abini (2006) defines attitude as a learned proclivity that can be acquired. Abini went on to say that feelings of liking or disliking, or being favorable or unfavorable, shape students’ attitudes. Williams (2000) defined attitude as a person’s willingness to perform in a certain way, which can be demonstrated. by their words, gestures, or facial expression. According to this viewpoint, one’s activity is bolstered by one’s facial expression, the way one acts and expresses his or her opinions about the subject matter. According to Good (2001), a person’s attitude is a state of mental and emotional readiness to respond to stimuli that have previously been conditioned or associated with them. According to Kent (2002), attitude is a mental and natural state of readiness that has been shaped by experiences and has a direct or dynamic impact on the individual’s reactions to all objects and situations with which it comes into contact. To put it another way, attitude, as defined above, refers to how a person feels or acts. behaves toward a certain topic or situation. As a result, the term “climate change attitude” refers to how a person thinks and behaves in relation to global climate change. It refers to a person’s feelings and concerns about climate change in general. In response to the above discussions, an attempt has been made to increase students’ understanding of and attitudes toward climate change in secondary schools. Most secondary school subjects, including Geography, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Agriculture, and Social Studies, were instilled with climate and general environmental content such as our environment, the physical environment, sanitation pollution, natural and manmade environmental hazards such as deforestation, population, the effects of industrial concentration, and the composition of atmospheric composition. To name a few topics, there are gases, weather and climate, climate classification, and the world’s major climate types. Secondary school students in Nigeria can greatly benefit from these topics and materials, which will help them become more aware of and accepting of climate change. Secondary school teachers, for example, have been instilling climate change content into their respective subjects in order to increase students’ knowledge and attitudes about climate change while also influencing their attitudes in favor of resolving climate change problems, according to Ishaya and Obaja (2008). Againde (2006) claims that schools are attempting to raise awareness about important environmental challenges such as climate change through classroom education and activities. Chinedu (2008) and Ofoebe (2009) have both made similar claims.It was agreed that most secondary school curriculum material could be used to successfully raise awareness of environmental concerns and foster a constructive attitude toward resolving environmental problems. According to preliminary findings, despite efforts made through school curriculum to increase understanding and attitudes toward environmental challenges, particularly climate change, the program does not appear to be achieving its goals. This is because people (including those who went through the instructional program in school) appear to have continued perpetuating actions like bush burning, deforestation, and the burning of fossil fuels like gasoline, coal, and crude oil, all of which contribute to climate change. However, it is critical to emphasize that, as long as human activities continue,
If the factors that contribute to climate change continue, the consequences of climate change will continue to confront humans on the planet. As a result, it is necessary to determine the extent to which instructional delivery in schools using an infusion technique has increased students’ understanding and attitudes toward global warming.
When assessing students’ levels of knowledge and attitudes toward climate change, the effect of gender and geographic location on students’ levels of awareness and attitudes toward climate change must be considered. Gender, according to Lee (2001), is an attributed characteristic that socially distinguishes the feminine and masculine. Gender is defined in the universe of matter as the classification of matter into sexes. Gender, according to Kalusi (2000, p. 21), is a cultural construct that assigns duties, attitudes, and values that society considers appropriate for each gender. According to Ekeh (2000), gender includes characteristics such as being male or female, man or woman, boy or girl, and so on. Gender, according to Robert (2007), is a social construct that is not determined by biology, but rather a concept similar to race or social class. According to Offorma (2004), gender is a learned socially constructed state that is assigned to both males and females. Gender, according to the author, is reinforced through cultural practices because gender identity is the result of cultural learning. As a result, men and women face different expectations based on their cultural milieu.
In accordance with Offorma.
It is possible that these expectations will influence how people perceive environmental challenges such as climate change. In his analysis of gender and environmental interactions, Ekezie (2010) emphasized the importance of gender as a variable in environmental debate. According to Ekezie (2010), females appear to be more connected to nature than males in the sense that they rely on forest resources for food production and the provision of fuel wood for cooking. Chinedu (2008), on the other hand, discovered that females had a more positive relationship with their environment than males. That is, females used the environment primarily for agricultural purposes, whereas males used the environment for a variety of other purposes. felling forest trees for timber, clearing forest for road construction, building houses and factories, and a variety of other activities. Given the preceding points of view, Ofoebe (2009) argued for the inclusion of gender differences or physiological differences between males and females in environmental sensitization programs both inside and outside of schools. These distinctions are obvious, and they are expected to influence how both sexes respond to environmental issues such as climate change. According to Oruonye, the different ways males and females are socialized tend to determine their level of environmental exploration, degree of environmental manipulation, and overall relationship with the environment, including their general awareness and attitude toward environmental problems such as climate change (2011). This includes, among other things, theThe current study sought to determine whether gender influenced students’ understanding and attitudes toward climate change as a distinct environmental concern. Conclusions People’s knowledge and attitudes toward climate change, on the other hand, may be influenced by their geographical location. A geographical location or area is defined as follows by Benton (2000): According to Ogunniyi (2008), location can also refer to a human-inhabited settlement, whether it is a hamlet, town, or city. According to Igwe (2003), a location is defined as a place in the world where something or someone lives. When we talk about location in the context of this research, we mean a geographical location or region.Someone or something has been found. Depending on the circumstances, it could be in a rural or urban setting. Rural regions are typically composed of small settlements that are scattered, nucleated, or even linear in their pattern of distribution on the land, with few structures and a small population. It offers its residents a tranquil and peaceful way of life. Farming accounts for the majority of their economic activity, and they have few amenities and service facilities. As a result, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the amount and quality of information available to Nigerian rural residents is directly related to their level of climate change knowledge and attitude. Urban areas are places where people live.
of generally significant size, density, and permanent settlement of people from various social backgrounds. It could be a village, a town, a city, a conurbation, or a metropolitan area. A large and diverse population, medical and political facilities, educational and recreational opportunities, banking and administrative services, and social activities are some of the characteristics of urban areas. They also have highly developed manpower (both male and female), artisans, and other non-agricultural workers, as well as highly impersonal relations. It is the polar opposite of rural areas, with its sophisticated way of life and doing business.
Because of the previously mentioned divide between urban and rural areas, it is possible that their understanding and communication will suffer. Climate change attitudes would be influenced. According to Nicholis and Small (2003), the location of people’s homes (their geographic location) determines the amount of information and knowledge that reaches them, particularly in developing countries like Nigeria. Despite this, Agiande (2006) discovered in a Calabar-based study that students’ understanding of environmental issues is no longer hampered by their geographical location (like climate change). Ishaya and Obaje (2008) discovered in a study conducted in Kaduna that pupils’ understanding of the challenges of climate change is not significantly influenced by their geographical location. The goal of this study is to see if students’ knowledge and attitudes about climate change are influenced by their geographic location. In fact, only a Few studies have been conducted to determine whether or not students are aware of, and have an opinion about, climate change. Ishaya and Abaje investigated indigenous people’s perceptions of climate change, as well as adaptation measures at senior secondary schools in Kaduna State’s Jema Local Government Area (2008). According to the study’s findings, the students had a low level of awareness and a negative attitude toward climate change. Oruonye (2011) assessed the level of knowledge of students in Tabara State’s Jalingo Metropolis about the implications of climate change. According to the study’s findings, the students who took part in the survey were unaware of climate change and had a negative attitude toward it.
Climate change is another issue. Ofoebe (2009), Chinedu (2008), and Agiande (2006) conducted relevant studies on environmental education awareness and attitude of students in Okigwe Education Zone, Imo State, in order to better understand their perceptions and attitudes toward the environment. The Owerri Education Zone is in the state of Imo. To name a few, Ogoja Education Zone and Cross River State. As a result, the current level of understanding and attitude toward climate change among secondary school students is described.
1.2 THE PROBLEM’S STATEMENT
The inherent threat of global climate change is currently one of the most serious global problems. For the first time in Nigeria, the effects of climate change are becoming visible. Desertification, drought, temperature rise, poor agricultural production, drying up of water bodies, and floods are just a few examples. Climate-related coursework has been included in almost all secondary school curricula in order to mitigate the effects of climate change. This infusion method aimed to raise awareness of environmental issues such as climate change while also encouraging a positive attitude toward them. However, there is concern that, despite educational efforts in schools to promote understanding and a positive attitude toward climate change, individuals will continue to engage in behaviors that contribute to climate change acceleration. Some studies have been conducted in Nigeria’s Kaduna, Imo, and Cross River states to determine whether or not students’ comprehension and retention are adequate.
Climate change attitudes have shifted as a result of school-based education. The researchers are most concerned because it appears that such an important current study has not been conducted in Abia State. This is the void that the current study is attempting to fill with its findings. Given the aforementioned gap, the question of the research is what level of climate change understanding and attitude pupils at the senior secondary level have.
1.3 THE STUDY’S OBJECTIVE
The study’s overarching goal is to assess secondary school students’ knowledge and attitudes toward climate change. The study specifically intends to;
To assess secondary school students’ understanding of climate change.
ut the extent to which secondary school students’ attitudes toward climate change have changed.
To assess the significance of gender differences in students’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices.
1.4 QUESTIONS FOR RESEARCH
The following study questions have been prepared:
What is the level of knowledge of climate change among secondary school students?
What are the attitudes of secondary school students toward climate change?
Is there a significant gender difference in students’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices?
1.5 THE STUDY’S IMPORTANCE
The study will be useful to students, the government, society, and curriculum planners. The students stand to benefit from the study because it will allow them to assess themselves, particularly their level of awareness and attitude toward climate change.
This will be possible because, by actively participating in the study by responding to the items of the research instruments, the students will understand (as they read through the items) the issues in climate change such as its meaning, causes, and effects, as well as the positive attitudes required for cautioning further increase and effects of climate change.
This finding is significant for the government because it will allow the government and other concerned non-governmental organizations to determine whether environmentally relevant school subjects such as Chemistry, Biology, Geography, Physics, Social studies, and Basic science have actually increased students’ awareness and attitude toward climate change. Again, non-school-based programs such as radio jingles, television shows, and newspaper articles are helping to raise awareness about climate change.
and positively influencing people’s attitudes toward climate change.
The study will benefit the academic community because it will add to the existing literature.
1.6 STUDY OBJECTIVES
This study will look at secondary school students’ knowledge of climate change. The research will also look into secondary school students’ attitudes toward climate change. Finally, the study will assess the significance of gender differences in students’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices. As a result, the study will be limited to Akwa Ibom State.
1.7 THE STUDY’S LIMITATIONS
As with any human endeavor, the researcher encountered minor challenges while conducting the study. Because of the nature of the subject, there was a significant lack of literature on the subject.
As a result of the researcher incurring more financial expenses and spending more time sourcing for relevant materials, literature, or information, as well as in the data collection process, the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. Furthermore, the researcher conducted this investigation in addition to other academic activities.
1.8 TERM DEFINITION
Knowledge is defined as facts, information, and skills gained through experience or education; theoretical or practical comprehension of a subject.
A settled way of thinking or feeling about something is referred to as an attitude.
Climate change is defined as a long-term shift in the average weather patterns that have come to characterize the Earth’s local, regional, and global climates.