Promoting Sustainability Culture among Citizens: A System Dynamic Analysis of the Role of Schools
Keywords:sustainability, system dynamics, behavioural changes, education for sustainable development
This paper concerns the issue of how to promote sustainable behaviours among citizens and consumers, that is increasingly viewed as crucial to tackle global social and environmental problems. More in detail, it investigates the potential role of schools at all levels, from kinder garden to university, in their relation to (mainly) local stakeholders. The study aims at shedding light on potential diffusion dynamics of sustainable behaviour among individuals when schools, universities and other stakeholders are involved. To do so, we develop a simple system dynamics model, that is an approach that is well suited to model non-linear dynamics, interdependencies, and time lags typical of human decision processes and behaviour. The model proposed is a first preliminary attempt to highlight the system effects that could be triggered by active sustainability projects in schools. The variables included in the model and the data are taken from an action-research project ‘Sustainability Labs’ that is being carried out in a set of schools in the Milan (Italy) area. Results suggest that taking advantage of the school-university-local stakeholder triad is able to reach many people and in quite an engaging way that is likely to have interesting results in terms of behavioural change.
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