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Title: Civil Engineering Students’ Beliefs about the Technical and Social Implications of Global Warming and When Global Warming Will Impact Them Personally and Others
The United Nations recognizes reducing the effects of global warming as a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) (#13). This goal is interconnected and critical to improving health and education, reducing inequality, and spurring economic growth globally. Civil engineers will play a vital role in meeting this goal. To understand how civil engineering students perceive global warming, we surveyed a national sample of civil engineering students in their final semester of college (n = 524). We asked them (a) if they recognize both the technical and social issues associated with global warming and (b) when they believe global warming will start to have a severe effect on themselves, others, and the planet. Civil engineering students are significantly more likely to recognize the technical issues associated with global warming than social issues. In particular, the majority of students understand global warming is an immediate issue for the environment, engineering, health, and science, but less than half recognize global warming presents social justice, poverty, and national security issues. Moreover, civil engineering students hold an inverse relationship between spatial distance and the timing of the effects of global warming. The majority of students believe global warming is currently having a severe impact on plant and more » animal species, the environment, people in developing countries, and the world's poor but do not recognize themselves in this group. Instead, civil engineering students predominantly believe the effects of global warming will start to have a serious impact on themselves, their family, and people in their community in 25 to 50 years. These results are troubling because if those beliefs translate into students waiting to address climate change for another two to five decades locks in more emissions and increases the chance of future and more severe global humanitarian crises. Educational interventions are needed to change these perspectives about time and impact. « less
Authors:
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Award ID(s):
1635534
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10189399
Journal Name:
2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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