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dc.contributor.advisorFreeman, Claire
dc.contributor.advisorNel, Etienne
dc.contributor.authorTamimi, Mai M. O.
dc.identifier.citationTamimi, M. M. O. (2013). Contact with the Natural Environment and Young People Living in Fragile Environments Characterised by On-going Political Conflict: A Case Study of Contemporary Palestine (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractIn fragile environments, particularly those subject to political conflict, like contemporary Palestine, ways of ensuring long-term sustainability should be a planning priority. In these unstable contexts young peoples’ vulnerability is enhanced. This thesis sought to ascertain the nature of young people’s learned and culturally acquired knowledge, understandings and consciousness about the natural environment, with the aim of developing better understanding of young people’s environmental relationships in conflict scenarios. A multidisciplinary literature review was conducted focusing on young people’s relationship with the natural environment and the importance of the relationship, contact and connectedness with that environment, the value of contact with nature, knowledge about nature and its sources, and the impact of political conflict on the environment and on young people’s effective learning with a particular focus on contemporary Palestine. Field research was conducted in 2010 in Hebron in the West Bank. A total of 218 Palestinian male and female students, aged between 14-16 years from six different schools, 12 teachers of Health and Environmental Science curriculum, 24 parents and 8 key informants formed the study sample. A number of qualitative and quantitative data collection tools were employed such as a questionnaire, focus group discussions, interviews and environmental art workshops. Quantitative data was analysed using the statistics package for social sciences (SPSS 19). This thesis demonstrates the need for serious academic debates to recognize and respond to the realities of conflict scenarios, in relation to the field of environmental education. It addresses the existing gap in the literature on young people and contact with the natural environment during on-going political conflict. The research highlighted the following key findings. Young Palestinians are environmentally sensitive and their contact with the natural environment is affected by a number of socio-cultural and political factors such as family, tradition and on-going political conflict. Young Palestinians have direct, indirect, unstructured and structured contact with the natural environment. They are aware of the environmental challenges facing their environment; however to date, their voices have not been well received or heard by adults. While young Palestinians’ environmental knowledge is primarily curriculum and school based, other sources of knowledge such as family, community, friends and media are of great importance. In light of the thesis results, a number of practical recommendations are presented to ensure young people’s frequent and quality contact with the natural environment in areas characterized by political conflict. The necessity to develop environmental education programmes involving parents and grandparents is one example. Revision of the current Health and Environment Sciences (HES) curriculum to include practical environmental matters is another. In addition, various future academic studies are recommended. Because the study showed that family is a key source of knowledge, a study to identify parents’ relationship to and interest in the natural environment is suggested. Mechanisms to improve young people’s contact with the natural environment during political conflict form another area for future studies.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
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dc.titleContact with the Natural Environment and Young People Living in Fragile Environments Characterised by On-going Political Conflict: A Case Study of Contemporary Palestine
dc.language.rfc3066en of Geography of Philosophy of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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