The Role of Gender and Race/Ethnicity in Environmental Identity Development through Duke Undergraduate Students’ Narrative
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Recent work in environmental psychology and environmental education emphasizes environmental identity as important in predicting a broad array of environmental behaviors. However, there are gaps in our understanding of how other identities interact with environmental identity. We addressed this gap by conducting semi-structured interviews with 30 undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds at Duke University. Our interviews supported the hypothesis that gender and race/ethnicity affect the development of Duke undergraduate students’ environmental identity by differentially influencing (1) significant life experiences (SLE) with nature and (2) social influences on environmental identity. In particular, we found that ethnicity shaped travel experiences to different environments, gender and race impacted relationships with mentors, gender stereotypes limited potential SLE in nature, and female-identification resulted in physical constraints to environmental activity. Other themes that emerged included the effects of socio-economic status on SLE in nature and nature as a source of empowerment for gender and racial minorities. Our work suggests more research is needed on the interplay among different identities and environmental identity, and that more work is needed to make the environmental field inclusive for all.
significant life experiences
race and ethnicity
CitationMiao, Ruolin (2019). The Role of Gender and Race/Ethnicity in Environmental Identity Development through Duke Undergraduate Students’ Narrative. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18539.
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Rights for Collection: Undergraduate Honors Theses and Student papers