In the last four decades there has been a growing number of studies on the determinants of environmental concern. Although the literature presents evidence of associations between psychological variables (such as beliefs, attitudes, values) and pro-environmental behaviour, a low adherence to pro-ecological commitment (PEC) has been demonstrated in the general population. In the quest for other elements that may foster an understanding of PEC in a dynamic and contextualized way (closer to common sense), the present research proposes that the formation of this commitment is procedural and interdependent to socio-environmental contexts. My main objective is to research the impact of significant life experiences on PEC, considering such human individual and situational aspects.

Based on interpretive paradigm, the research design being used focuses on creating conceptual schemes through inductive analysis on a qualitative basis. The investigation consists of two concurrent studies that focus on narratives as representatives of experience. In the first, I analysed four biographical reports of internationally recognized environmentalists as well as biographical reports of researchers of people-environment relations area. In the second study, I conducted 29 interviews with people from different Brazilian states socially evaluated as pro-environmentally committed and who manifest lifestyles oriented for sustainability (inclusion criteria). The interviews covered two central questions: the perception about the formation of CPE; and the experiences pointed as important in the formation of their own CPE (biographical talk). Data analysis includes an initial coding and a focused coding, and during the encoding process memos are made which have been enhanced and which give support to define the emerging concepts.

As preliminary results, in the first study, the experiences identified so far corroborate the influences pointed out on the literature, such as the direct contact with nature, educational training, labour, social justice, social networks and loss of beloved place. Some new categories have been identified, like the engagement in environmental interventions, in political activism, in pacifism and yet experiences of leadership and abnegation. After completion of the analysis of biographical reports of researchers of people-environment relationships, the emerging categories will be discussed based on what the literature already proposes. In the second study, preliminary readings point to three analytical axes: definitions of environment, life experiences, and perceptions of PEC. In face of different life stages of participants, two groups have been considered: the first formed by participants aged between 23 and 33 years old, college students, recent graduates or postgraduates, and a second group composed of people aged between 39 and 79 with a consolidated professional career and militancy. I intend to implement a complementary interview, in which I would return information to participants, in order to get additional information from them, improving the discussion of results. Finally, in achieving the proposed goals, I hope to contribute to the advancement of knowledge on the environmental concern determinants, from the approximation with people's own point of view, in order to collaborate in a more direct way with interface areas such as environmental education.