Water and Climate Change, Two Key Objectives in the Agenda 2030: Assessment of Climate Literacy Levels and Social Representations in Academics from Three Climate Contexts
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Climate changeTerritorial contextSustainable Development GoalsUniversity studentsClimate literacySocial representation
Escoz-Roldán, A., Gutiérrez-Pérez, J., & Meira-Cartea, P. Á. (2020). Water and Climate Change, Two Key Objectives in the Agenda 2030: Assessment of Climate Literacy Levels and Social Representations in Academics from Three Climate Contexts. Water, 12(1), 92.
SponsorshipThis research is part of the Resclima-Edu2 Project, “Educación para el cambio climático en educación secundaria: investigación aplicada sobre representaciones y estrategias pedagógicas en la transición ecológica” funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of the Government of Spain and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Ref. RTI2018-094074-B-100; and the “Sustainability in Higher Education: Evaluation of the scope of the 2030 Agenda in curriculum innovation and teacher professional development in Andalusian Universities”, Ref. B-SEJ-424-UGR18.
The relationship between climate change and water is an obvious and key issue within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This study aims to investigate the social representation created around this relationship in three different territorial contexts in order to evaluate the influence of the territory on the perception of the risk of climate change and its relationship with water. By means of a questionnaire completed by 1709 university students, the climatic literacy of the individual was evaluated in order to relate it to other dimensions on the relationship between climate change and water (information, training previous on climate change and pro-environmental attitudes) in their different dimensions in three different territorial contexts. Three hypotheses have been tested: (1) The denial of the CC is significantly associated with a representation that belittles the consequences of global warming and other extreme phenomena. (2) Territorial contexts with high average rainfall levels and low average annual temperatures tend to minimize the social representation of water risks associated with the CC. (3) There is significant interaction between the socio-cultural context and social representations on the causes, consequences and solutions to the problems of CC and water. The first two hypotheses have been rejected, while the third has been accepted. The research results show high climate literacy in the samples of selected university students. It is noted that students recognize a close relationship between the problem of water and the climate crisis. Likewise, they identify different types of causes, consequences, physical processes and solutions. Different climatological contexts do not show significant differences in the social representations that students show about climate change, while socio-educational variables such as available scientific information, or ideology orientation do show significant differences.
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