Publication Date

Fall 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies


Will Russell


Connectedness to Nature Scale (CNS), Cross-national, Environmental Education, Experience-based Learning, Knowledge-based Learning, New Ecological Paradigm (NEP)

Subject Areas

Environmental education


Environmental education has been internationally recognized as a key tool to counter increasing threats to the environment. Previous studies have found that environmental values and beliefs are the fundamental factors that shape various pro-environmental behaviors. This study aimed to increase our understanding of how environmental education during childhood and university periods influence students' sense of connectedness to nature and ecological worldview. Two measures, the Connectedness to Nature Scale (CNS) and the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scale, were used for this purpose. A total of 1,266 students in 10 universities in the San Francisco Bay Area and Tokyo Bay Area participated in the survey. Survey results revealed that university education was more strongly correlated with the CNS and the NEP than childhood education and that experience-based learning was more influential than knowledge-based learning. Demographic variables such as gender, religion, and country, significantly influenced the CNS and the NEP; however, their influence was relatively small compared to environmental education. Teachers and program managers should include more experience-based learning approaches to environmental education and should emphasize the importance of lifelong learning process of environmental education.