Reviewing how intergenerational learning can help conservation biology face its greatest challenge

M. Nils Peterson, Kathryn T. Stevenson, Danielle F. Lawson

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Environmental problems can be resolved when the public is no longer willing to accept their risks and demands change (i.e., Reflexive Modernization). Notable examples include responses to the ozone hole and acid rain, but in an emerging post-truth world, politicization of conservation can result in adults ignoring risks and accepting the status quo (i.e., Anti-Reflexivity). This problem is particularly acute for conservation biology challenges linked to climate change. Although strategic framing of conservation messages can help overcome ideological barriers to conservation actions, additional methods are needed to engage citizens in addressing loss of biodiversity. We argue that child to parent intergenerational learning is an understudied but promising pathway to incite biodiversity conservation actions among children and adults. Children have unique perspectives on wildlife and conservation, are easily reached in schools, and are likely the best equipped to help parents navigate ideologically fraught topics in ways that create action. We review key practices of intergenerational learning and outline how its best practices may be integrated in conservation biology programming and research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-294
Number of pages5
JournalBiological Conservation
StatePublished - Jul 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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