Visions of Middle School Students Toward Human-Nature Relationship and COVID-19

Başer Kanbak C., Şahin E.

World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC), Praha, Czech Republic, 14 - 18 March 2022, pp.1

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Unpublished
  • City: Praha
  • Country: Czech Republic
  • Page Numbers: pp.1
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Introduction: In a global crisis that the world fed up with all uncertainities due to COVID-19, young people are also affected from the brutality of pandemic with several lockdowns and restrictions. In this sense, the aim of this study is to explore how middle school students associate COVID-19 pandemic with humans’ interaction with nature to be able to adjust educational purposes in such an uncertain and anthropocene world. Thus, the following research question guided the study.

Research Question: How do middle school students relate COVID-19 pandemic with humans’ relationship with nature?

Methodology: A qualitative case study design was used for this specified purpose. Data were collected from middle school students through semi-structured interviews who live in a city center in Turkey.

Findings: The results of content analyses revealed that students viewed COVID-19 pandemic as a time interval that would allow nature to renew itself in the absence of human beings. Furthermore, they emphasized how pandemic has created an environment for the welfare of animals by highlighting the possible decrease in hunting and increase in biodiversity. Some students thought that nature took its revenge on humans with the COVID-19, because people despised nature until this time with deforestation, illegal hunting and trades of animals and exotic animal markets.

Conclusion & Recommendations: These findings denoted that students are able to associate pandemic with the humans’ interaction with nature by emphasizing the specific environmental problems that humans lead. At this point, in order students to be able to make deeper associations between multidimensional global crisis like pandemics and humans’ interaction with nature and to make them think comprehensively, subjects such as reasons of emergence of pandemics and its relation with environmental problems should be included in curricula to show students how humans impact on planet and how these systems are linked with each other from multiple aspects.

Keywords: COVID-19, human-nature relationship, middle-school students