Date of Award

8-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

College/School

College of Science and Mathematics

Department/Program

Earth and Environmental Studies

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Jessica Miller

Committee Member

Maria Kromidas

Committee Member

Neeraj Vedwan

Subject(s)

Climatic changes, Sustainability, Generation Y, College students--New Jersey

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative multi-case study is to explore the beliefs and perceptions of millennials on the subjects of climate change and sustainability. Some millennials pursuing an undergraduate degree in a non-environmental science field may lack knowledge pertaining to climate change and sustainability. The conceptual framework for this qualitative explanatory multi-case study is grounded in contributions from Henri Lefebvre, Nicholson-Smith (1991), and Simpson (2014) who explore how the notion of space has evolved in recent years, as well as researchers who are quantitatively studying climate change and sustainability. I conducted semistructured focus groups and drafted field notes from two universities in Northern New Jersey. The purposeful sample consists of 14 participants. Interviews were transcribed and imported into NVivo 12 Pro. I utilized NVivo 12 Pro in order to organize data and assign codes which led to the emergence of four themes: (a) knowledge and understanding; (b) generations and responsibility; (c) awareness, political power, and purchasing power; and (c) affect and importance. Findings from this study suggest that millennials utilize social media to obtain information pertaining to climate change and sustainability. Findings also indicate that millennials who are non-environmental science majors lack the requisite knowledge regarding climate change and sustainability. In light of this study’s findings, some recommendations are seen in chapter 5.

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