ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202211.0301.v1
Subject: Environmental And Earth Sciences, Environmental Science Keywords: students’ awareness; climate change; climate information; mitigation activities; Democratic Re-public of Congo
Online: 16 November 2022 (08:58:25 CET)
Students are often portrayed as future leaders. Their participation in climate change mitigation would improve when they access climate information and gain a high level of climate change awareness. This study was initiated to assess the Congolese students’ awareness of climate change by focusing on their sources of information on climate change, knowledge about the causes and impacts of climate change and activities that can raise awareness on climate change. Using a convenience sampling technique, we collected data through individual interviews conducted among 1,278 students from 13 universities across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The interview results showed that all students irrespective of their disciplines were concerned about climate change, a phenomenon strongly driven by human activities, such as deforestation (78%), urbanisation (30%), agriculture activities (30%) and transport services (26%). The students’ perceptions of climate change impacts included increase in temperature (82%), decrease in the number of rainy days (66%), proliferation of pests (60%) and increase in the number of malaria patients (39%). The primary sources of information that significantly affected students’ awareness of climate change included environment-related university courses and television broadcasts. The awareness-raising and mitigation actions related to climate change recommended by the students included educating people about good waste management (56%), planting trees (65%) and using the taxes paid by mining companies for the restoration of degraded ecosystems. The students believed that in DRC, all layers of the society (educational institutions, civil society organisations, community members and businesses) are important in building resilience to climate change. This study can guide teachers to focus their educational efforts on shaping pro-environmental behaviour in students.