Friday, 1 April 2016

Motivating individuals to engage in pro-environmental behavior haven’t gain prominent momentum in our society today. Psychological understanding of the different variables to behavior and attitude peculiar to Nigerian people, which is influence by their social, cultural and religious beliefs, has to be further capitalized for policy making and research seeking solution to solving environment problems, that require behavioral change. Studies have indicated that no single technique can be used to ignite pro-environmental attitude in different people.

 Pro-environmental behaviors are the activities or actions that people do, engage in everyday life that significantly promotes the betterment of the environment. For example, recycling of used waste, reduction in household consumption of fuel (firewood), elevating the green nature of the surrounding environment (planting new tress, pollinating fruit trees). Reforming the act of pro-environmental behaviorism among youths’ in Nigeria shows the need to identify the existing factors that influences attitude. 

According to Kollmuss and Agyeman (2002), environmental influence can be separated into both direct and indirect experiences. “Direct experience have a stronger influence on people’s behavior than indirect experience, ….. such as learning about environmental problem in school as opposed to directly experiencing it”. 

Behaviors which pre-existed in both direct and indirect influence, such as childhood experiences, knowledge and education, felt responsibility, cultural norms and values (depicts a traditional belief that a forest or tree possess/attract spiritual power, in some cases are to be destroyed), age difference, gender concern, social class, urban-rural differences, proximity to problematic environmental sites, cultural and ethnic variation among others.

 This begin to explain how the society or individual is influenced, having non-environmental goals to contribute to environmental development. The mindset that the environment is idle, which continue to exist without flaws, mainly because it has not (yet) had a direct influence or experience of hostile effect on their personal wellbeing. They don’t even know the outcome of their actions. For example, much of the Nigerian household do not even understand the implication of the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, what green house effect means or even what it is about climate change.

 Identifying the need for environmental activist to integrate solutions derived from individual and groups psychological processes, and from survey statistics to relay, orient individuals towards particular action. Lack of openness to speak freely, not relating well with others for a proper data collection, hinders efficient analysis. Community sample and undergraduate student sample are of a necessity. 

Information is one of the key approaches to reformation; people need to know what they do, the way they do it, the result of what they do and also providing facts. Although, most individuals neglect this climate change issues even when they know all about it, these people needs to see some goal settings that will prompts their actions, like the economic benefits. 

 Understanding existing beliefs to introduce new ways of acting according to those beliefs is a prerequisite. Goal setting ask people to set their own target, such as certain reduction in consumption of fuel, pledging to plant new trees, recycling and proper waste disposal. These are some of the social-psychological techniques to transform pro environmental behavior in Nigeria. Getting feedback on the level of impact have, on their behavior as seen or reward/incentive of pro-environmental behavior.

 Transforming youths’ attitude needs to be taken with utmost priority. Starting from elementary schools, to tertiary level, they need to know about sustaining the environment, need to identify key element in the environment. And live up to have a positive environmental behavior. Knowledge learned will infuse into their parent and families.

Youths’ in institutions are to take active role in participating, volunteering and contributing to solve these issues of climate change. We need to voice out our GO FOR GREEN campaign in the mind of every Nigerian. 

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