The research has been conducting a survey focusing on the environmental views of students from two cultures: US and China. Previously, the researcher has collected over 130 responses from students in Chongqing, China. Accordingly, this semester the research will concentrate on distributing surveys and collecting data from students in New York City, United States of America. The survey contains both quantitative and qualitative questions.
So far, the researcher has collected data from 50 students who are English native language speakers at Pace New York Campus. Their average age is 21 years old. 65% of them are female, while around 34% are male respondents. Additionally, 38% of the responses have been living in New York City one years and below, while around 52% have lived in the city for over 2 years. Accordingly, 35 out of 50 students are studying at Pace campus less than 2 years, while around 35% of them have been on campus for over 3 years. Among all, Art and Humanities discipline has occupied the most of the sample.
In the survey, it asks which goal the city should prioritize in terms of development, 39 out of 50 respondents choose “environmental protection” over “economy” as its priority. When it comes to specific reasons, many address that economy and environment are intertwined, indicating that good environmental protection could be the foundation for economy growth. Some even go further claiming that without a good environment, economy would not matter so much. Furthermore, “survival” becomes a common addressing issue in their statement. The answers express the respondents’ uncertainty of whether people will continue to live on the planet if we do not prioritize environment. In addition to that, the respondents who choose economy over environment does not necessarily mean they do not care about the nature. For instance, one respondent expresses that he “[loves] the environment”, but “people will be less willing to protect the environment if they don’t have enough money.” The beliefs like “without economy we can’t help environment” are common shared among the respondents.
Half of the respondents choose to prioritize “local” environmental protection, while the rest choose “global” first. For those who choose “local”, they believe that starting from small parts can eventually lead to the changes in larger structures. In other words, they tend to believe that starting from local issues is one of the strategies leading to the formation of global environmental principle. On the other hand, the rest of 50% respondents claim that local initiatives are not enough; because everyone shares the same planet, individualized principle is not sufficient in succeeding environmental efforts.
The US students have already shared some similarities with the students in China. They both address concerns on “survival” on the planet; health and wellbeing are the most frequent theme appearing in their statements. For instance, they both identify air pollution as the most pressing issue. Simultaneously, the researcher finds quotes about “breathing in the clean air” from both groups, despite of their differences in native languages.
One of the results that the researcher finds it interesting is that US students tend to talk more negatively about their country taking responsibility in global environmental efforts.
(Do you think your country has done well in taking responsibility of global environmental protection? — US students response)
As the graph shows, 20 out of 50 respondents think US is done poorly, while 12 respondents believe it “terrible”; only 18 respondents believe US is above average.
(Do you think your country has done well in taking responsibility of global environmental protection? — Chinese students response)
As for Chinese students, the majority of them think China’s global environmental efforts are “on average”, and there are 39 out of 132 respondents think China is doing “good”. It might be due to the factors which we have not yet measured, such as differences in shared public discourse in environment from both cultures.
So far, the researcher has identified some similarities and differences between the students from US and China, but it needs to further analysis and more data collection. Thus, the researcher will continue on collecting responses on a larger scale.