The origins of environmentalism in German culture can be traced back to before the 19th century. An adoration and appreciation of nature has always outwardly existed and its role has been shaped and reshaped by changing society, national politics, economics, and pressing environmental issues of the time. Within the past few decades, Germany has set the tone for successful environmental politics, practices, and public policy. As individual citizens, Germans are known to be especially environmentally conscious, demonstrating a strong willingness to take a personal role in conservation. Scholars point to a variety of contributing factors that are essential to the development of individual environmental consciousness. An investigation of a particular aspect of German culture, my study involves the merging of social sciences, humanities, and cultural studies. Aspects of German studies, politics, and anthropology are both integrated and intertwined in order to provide a holistic study of culture. More specifically, the present study attempts to analyze the level of environmental consciousness among young Germans, who were born around the period of German reunification. My guiding research questions include the following: "What is it about German culture that facilitates an environmental consciousness within its individual citizens?", "In what ways do political and social structures allow for the development of environmentalism as a major aspect of German culture?", and "Specifically, what are the environmental beliefs, concerns, and behaviors of the next generation of young Germans?" Within this study, I attempt to better determine both the origins of and cultural reasoning behind this seemingly ingrained mentality and behavior.


Herrmann, Mareike

Second Advisor

Kardulias, P. Nicholas


Sociology and Anthropology; German Studies




environment, consciousness, germany, environmentalism

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2013 Claire H. Stragand