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Engaging science, creating sustainable cities


In both action and thought, people are affected by a wide range of influences. Past experience, cultural and social norms, and the money at our disposal are some of the most important. Connected to all of these, to some extent, are our values—which represent a strong guiding force, shaping our attitudes and behaviour over the course of our lives.

The video 'The Hight Price of Materialism' offers fascinating insights.

Values represent our guiding principles; our broadest motivations, influencing the attitudes we hold and how we act (Holmes et al 2011). It is therefore essential that we recognise the importance of values in our work as educators; and that we are very mindful about which values we wish to support and develop through our work.

Social and environmental concern and action, it turns out, are based on more than simply access to the facts. In reality, both seem to be motivated above all by a particular set of underlying values. We need to examine what values are and what they are not, the ways they work in a dynamic and interacting system, and why they are so important for those concerned with social and environmental issues.Research shows that certain values more strongly align with positive environmental behaviour than others; values such as 'equality' and 'social justice' if strengthened also increase pro-environmental behaviours.

Explore values and frames to learn more.

Reflection questions:

Digging deeper...

To really understand how values can influence sustainable behaviours read the Common Cause Handbook, downloadable here.

Explore the use of values in outdoor science through the Real World Learning Network here.