Section II Paper- UK vs. USA WORD

Section II Paper- UK vs. USA WORD - Does growing up in the...

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Does growing up in the United Kingdom lead to a different relationship with the envir - onment than growing up in Santa Barbara? The lyrics of the UK’s most patriotic song describe it as “this green and pleasant land”, and this year, the British Prime minister promised his people “the greenest government ever”. However, growing up in London, my relationship with the concept of “green” was limited to the sparse, browning patches that divided up the bustling London sub- urbs. The frantic pace of daily life proved a stark contrast to the laid-back, nature loving scene of Santa Barbara. The “green” fad had always seemed a vague concept in the UK, adopted only by middle-class families or politicians; something you considered if you had the luxury of time or money- which most didn’t. Upon moving to Santa Barbara, I also noticed a difference in young people’s attitudes- environmentalism was “cool” here, and more accessible. This lead me to wonder how other English students had found this transition. Through observation, informal encounters and interviews, I ob- served that the UCSB student body’s enthusiasm for all things “green” was something on the minds of all the English students, however, it was not something their urban up- bringings had lead them to take an interest in. I chose to study British students after considering the similarities of the two countries; both are wealthy, developed countries with powerful economies and global influence, educated citizens and areas of natural beauty. So why did we seem to hold such differing relationships with the environment? Was this a result of the physical nature of where we had grown up? Was it a political issue? Was it a difference in our education system? Through looking at this from a ‘foreign’ perspective, I wanted to have a fresh set of eyes with which to view the environmental culture in Santa Barbara. 1
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Through word of mouth, I located a mixed sex group of six British “Education Abroad Placement” Students who had come to Santa Barbara for a year amidst their studies at the University of Edinburgh- an urban university in Scotland. I chose students that were at similar stages of their university career and of similar age, because in comparing res- ults I wanted to be sure that any disparity in opinion I noticed would not simply be a re- flection of age or differences in education. Their ages ranged from 19-22, and they all grew up in the UK. This proved a particularly interesting group to observe because, after only being in America for 2 months, the students were still able to remember clear details of the nature of environmental attitudes where they came from, but could also draw direct comparisons with their new surroundings as they experienced this new cul- ture for the first time. Participant observation and interviewing are often used as tools in Ethnographic
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Section II Paper- UK vs. USA WORD - Does growing up in the...

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