Publication Date

Spring 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies


Lynne Trulio


Attitudes, Education, Environmental, Film, Intentions

Subject Areas

Environmental education; Environmental studies; Behavioral sciences


California's Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, "the Delta," is one of the state's most important natural resources. Beginning in the mid 1800s and continuing to the present day, anthropogenic activities radically altered, and continue to affect, this ecosystem. Wetland reclamation and water projects transformed the Delta landscape from a tidal wetland into an artificially homogenous freshwater system. As a result, the health of the Delta ecosystem is in jeopardy. Experts agree that current management practices of the Delta are unsustainable; however, experts cannot agree on a viable solution.

An educational documentary film, "California Kings: Sold Down the River," was used as the treatment in experimental groups for this study. The film covered key social, political, economic, and environmental issues regarding the Delta ecosystem. This thesis work evaluated the film's effect on viewer knowledge levels, personality factors (attitudes, locus of control, personal responsibility), perception of threat, and behavioral intentions concerning the Delta. The sample population consisted of environmental studies and non-environmental studies students at San José State University, California. Regardless of major, student pro-environmental responses shifted towards the producer's goal of increased sensitivity towards the Delta ecosystem. Environmental education (EE) films which include divergent opinions from multiple stakeholders can be effective at increasing pro-environmental responses from viewers.