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The aim of the study was to gain insight into undergraduate students’ environmental worldviews by exploring their ideas about nature and human–nature relationships. Participants were 29 students from a university in Taiwan. Interviews were employed as the dominant method, while a questionnaire survey was also used to support the sample selection and enhance the understanding of the interview data. Interview responses were analyzed using a phenomenographic approach and revealed a variation of students’ ideas. One key finding was that although the students were generally pro-ecological, their ideas about nature and human–nature relationships seemed to be often a mixture of worldview tendencies typically as follows: (1) humankind is part of nature and subject to natural laws, and thus cannot possibly destroy nature; (2) humankind plays a dominator role in nature, but can be ‘replaced’ by other species; and (3) humankind should take responsibility for nature in order to secure sufficient natural resources and a livable environment for all species, especially humans. Moreover, the students described and explained nature predominantly from a scientific perspective. The educational implications of the findings and limitations of the study are also discussed.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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