In order to practice our survey skills, we created a questionnaire consisting of 10 Questions relevant to our ﬁeld of inquiry Green Conception vs. Action. We printed this questionnaire 50 times and handed them to students of Berlin International School ranging from Grade 9 to IB1. Our aim was to ﬁnd out the relation between a green conception and a green action meaning: When you think your lifestyle is green, do your actions support this? We placed the question “Do you consider your lifestyle as green?“ (conception) followed by multiple action questions so the students asked would answer the ﬁrst question as they would spontaneously, realizing their actions may be contrary to this answer later. We predicted that the number of students considering their lifestyle as green, would be higher compared to the number of students actually living green.
A pie chart showing the male/female gender distribution in our survey
Male 40 % Female 60 %
From 50 students asked, 20 were male and 30 were female. In terms of gender equality we would consider this a relatively even number with a slightly larger female contribution.
Do you consider your lifestyle as green? (Complete survey)
No 56 %
Yes 44 %
Yes 43 %
No 57 %
Yes 45 %
No 55 %
From the students we asked, in total, 44 % considered their lifestyle as green. The gender structure was fairly equal with only 2% in difference between males and females.
To what extent do you support the views of the green political party in Germany (Bündnis 90 – Die Grünen)? 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Completely Mostly Male Partly Totally Against Not interested Female
From the students asked, 44% where not interested in politics, especially females. However, 42% of all students, either partly, mostly or completely supports the views of the green political partly. Answers given to explanations for choice of option in question 2: Option selected in 2 Partly Justiﬁcation “The nuclear power station concept was good.“ “Some ideas unreasonable.“ “They want children to have a happy and clean future without evil destructive capitalistic and dark forces pulling them into their circle of evil.“ Completely “Because an intact planet is essential for our future.“ “They never agree with other parties.“
Which of the following energy sources do you prefer?
Solar 32 % Nuclear 10 % Coal Burning 8 % Tidal Fuel 10 % Hydrogen Fuel 10 %
Wind 30 %
37 % 3 % 10 % 47 % 3 %
20 % 5 %
20 % 20 %
Same Color coded key as above applies From the students asked, 82% of the students selected a renewable source of energy as their preferred one. However in this category, there is a visibly high ﬂuctuation between male and female.
Which Method of transport do you use most? 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Car Bicycle Male Metro Bus Female Walking
38% of all students use the most polluting method of transport the most (car). 34% use non polluting transport methods most. Do you sort your waste before disposing it? 12 10 8 6 4 2 0
Yes! All the time
Nearly Never Female
Not at all!
The trend shows that both males and females mostly tend to not sort their waste environmentally friendly as 74% of all students asked sorted their waste rarely, nearly never or not at all before disposing it. 6
From the results we collected, we can conclude that our prediction has been mainly rejected. From the 50 students asked, 44% considered their lifestyle to be green. This clearly is less than we had expected. We had expected a number between 70% and 90% considering a 60% participation of females who we expected are more environmentally friendly than males. This however was disproved as 45% of the males, 2% more than females considered their lifestyle to be green. To further elaborate on `how green´ the asked students lifestyle is, we received a surprising result. 44% of all students were not interested in politics, however 42% either partly, mostly or completely supported the green political party `Bündnis 90 – Die Grünen´.
This was surprising because we had expected 70% – 80% of the students to not be interested in politics. These 42% similarly correspond to our 44% assuming they are living a green lifestyle. The justiﬁcations given were mostly very general and not speciﬁed to the exact political program of the party e.g. “They never agree with other parties.“ or “Because an intact planet is essential for our future.“ As these answers had mostly come from the IB1 students, we would have expected more knowledge about the program (if they consider their selves as green) and a more detailed justiﬁcation. So far to the conceptional part of the students, now to the actions corresponding. The highest ﬂuctuation in gender of all the questions occurred in the question: “Which of the following sources of energy do you prefer?“
Of all students, a surprising 82% preferred a renewable resource including hydrogen fuel, wind energy, tidal fuel and solar energy. This however was mainly due to the female contribution. 97% of the females preferred a renewable fuel, compared to 60% of the males. Both values are above the 44% which suggested their lifestyle as green, therefore in this point, our prediction was disproved. Some males were even more `green´than they had expected, as 45% considered their selves environmentally friendly but 60% percent preferred renewable resources. This is another rejection of our prediction. In the method of transport used by the students asked, our prediction was partly supported, as 38% of the students used the most polluting method of transport (car) most frequently. But 34% of the students used a method of transport that is absolutely non-polluting.
This is a much higher number than what we had expected. As in nonpolluting we mean walking or using the bike. Another 28% showed responsibility in minimizing the fuel used by using the metro or bus. Completely supported was our prediction by the question: “Do you sort your waste before disposing it?“ 74% which is clearly more than 56% who consider their lifestyles as not green, either rarely, nearly never, or not at all sort their waste before disposing.
To summarize our conclusion, we can say, that through our investigation we found out that the students we asked, may act environmentally friendly or `not green´ in one area, for example in waste disposal, but may contrast this as in the method of transport used. As to relate this to our main topic, conception vs. action, we can say, that the conception of our students (aged 13-17) was fairly precise. As, of course, it is difﬁcult to deﬁne a green lifestyle, we set up the boundaries using our action questions themed on waste disposal, method of transport and energy source preferred, which is scientiﬁcally a much to vague boundary as to deﬁne a green lifestyle. This investigation however provided us with a solid overview and changed our thoughts about green conception vs. action. A very satisfying and expected result about the theme of `green future´was achieved as 96% of the asked students would immediately change their lifestyle if the future of their children would be negatively affected.
After several discussions we have evaluated that our survey including the analysis of our results was conducted well. Difﬁculties which occurred when conducting our survey included students given a questionnaire, not ﬁlling in every question or simply disposing the questionnaire. These questionnaires could of course, not be included in our scientiﬁc analysis as, if for example the gender was not circled, our gender analysis would encounter inaccurate results. Therefore, after collecting 5 questionnaires which had been subject to this, we had to print 5 additional copies in order to maintain a number of 50 questionnaires. This was a major setback, as it had consumed valuable time from our survey.
We had not thought of this at the start of our investigation, and therefore if the survey would be conducted again, would add an extra 10% of questionnaires (5 in our case) in case of errors in completion. The questions we asked were few, however enough to decide on a simple and clear visible trend. Some questions which we asked e.g. “From the following choices, based on your lifestyle, which food would you prefer?“ have not been included into our ﬁnal results, as we realized, that all of the named food choices are essential for healthy diet and would scientiﬁcally not correspond to a trend in lifestyle relating to the environment meaning, a person consuming a hamburger with fries, may always dispose his trash after sorting and use the bicycle regularly. If conducting the survey again we would leave out this question. Also the destinations and methods of transport to reach this destination were left out in the results due to our supported assumption that the students at Berlin International School mostly come from a wealthier background than average (80% of students use airplane as method of transport for summer vacations).
This would therefore not be valid, as if we asked students at a school in an LEDC, their answers would be completely opposite. This topic however (differences in green conception vs. action between MEDC and LEDC students) would be an interesting topic to investigate further and elaborate on the relationship of the data. If we would have conducted this research again, we would have added the question: “How would you deﬁne a green lifestyle?“ This would show us what the students asked would actually deﬁne as `green´. Beyond that, in order to run our questionnaire better, we would give the questionnaires to students at a greater age range(12-18) as we could see a relationship in age and the answers as well. Also we would give the students more time to ﬁll out the questions, as they did his mostly in between lessons and were strained to about 3-5 minutes. In total, our survey was conducted very well and we were able to come up with a conclusion for our investigation `green conception vs. action´. We shared the jobs in between ourselves and analyzed our results accurately.