Jump to content

Education is Key


foodchain
 Share

Recommended Posts

Thinking on environmental issues a few big ones come to mine. First of all the science behind environmental change is not widely dispersed and is poorly misrepresented or poorly understood. It would be a good decision in my opinion to make a general environmental awareness class part of any undergraduate education and such should be dispersed though all levels of public education or a K-12 model. Understanding such would be key in making generations more aware and or even more green. The next big issue is lifestyles, of which is a composite of many different issues collectively coming to bear. Such as use of resources in the varied amount of ways that occurs. Why would a person buy a set of long lasting low energy use light bulbs vs. regular ones? How do you get people to commit actions as such like buying greener technology? The market for such will never really take off until its financially backed by say popular use amongst a populous. The more people will pay for and use greener products the more research and subsequently the larger a variety of greener products will become available. I would say as this ripples out through a industrial economy that prices of such technology would also go down as it becomes more widespread in use, for it would align the companies themselves with producing more efficient ways of manufacturing such technology, be it a car or a “green” microwave oven for instance.

 

I would not so much as say an affinity but more or less a real understanding of biodiversity also needs to be basically attached to modern human thought regardless of culture. I would think the best way to go about this is basically to show in terms a culture can understanding the importance biodiversity has in regards to simply human fitness and survival, such as what would happen if marine life was brought close to extinction, or even how much money the U.S would have to pay constantly if all the bees went on strike. I think such an angle could at least be a forerunner in getting not only just people in general but companies behind greener policies if not regulatory safeguards. Trying to compress ecology into a commercial though I think would fall short, so again I see it more or less as something that needs to become part of regular education, or public education. We can see the impact such has had with raising literacy levels alone, to simply having a populous capable of doing mathematics.

 

Another big issue is population size and density in relation to lifestyles. I would hope that humanity regardless of culture would through understanding be able to recognize the responsibility they have through education of protecting and sustaining the environment. The point is that none of that would really matter if human populations continued to increase. Going from the most basic aspects of science energy cant be created nor destroyed, it can however change in form. The idea of a world in which hundreds of billions of humans requiring a certain amount of energy for all basic purposes for a standard of living I think is a fallacy that could only end in really some traumatic horror that we can prevent. The reality of such is easily visible today with climate change and far then normal extinction rates for various species. Such also ties into global issues that can underline war or in general peace and conflict within our own species. Again, to me a real way to combat such would be regular education that can allow an individual to understand what the environment is in all its phases and or pieces and what the importance of the environment ultimately is.

 

The last issue I would like to bring up is simply going global. My thoughts on the issue are pretty basic. Environmental issues overall cannot be solved by one state, nation and or government. It surely also cannot be solved by one company and or group of people. Environmental issues have both macro and micro problems that need to be addressed, but one the most major hurdles would be global cooperation on a sustainable environment. Without this I think most all progress would really be nothing but a waste all on its own. The reality of this problem touches on so many contemporary issues with focus in other directions that even an issue as large as global climate change can be marginalized if not basically ignored for the most part.

 

Not to evoke an aspect of the Gaia hypothesis, but I feel if we cant evolve and or adapt to the reality of the environment, that such would surely mean our own extinction. Environmental understanding can be easily grounded is the basic sciences or natural sciences. It can be demonstrated and understood in the logical language of math, and its evident in the world today. Education on a regular basis is probably the best bet to combat such, more so on a global scale, but really I don’t see to much effort currently in this direction. I think this leads to situations in which the scientists and policy or law makers of such often encounter obstacles they cannot overcome in just about every facet of society, simply because the ignorance of the environment is really quite staggering. Environmental educations last impact and lasting impact I would think is innovation towards sustainability, for simply put if such was achieved in all areas of human culture, world wide, environmental problems would cease to exist. None of this though will occur in my opinion without regular and acute education on the subject.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with much of your sentiment and some of your approach. I'd put the emphasis on basic 'science' more so than any one aspect of science (such as environmnetalism). A strong scientific basis for judging information gives citizens' awareness and understanding of environmental and other issues such as health care, information technology, energy use, etc.

 

When one emphasizes environmental variables beyond 'motherhood and apple pie' then education is politicised and lobbies line up from Libs vs Cons, first world vs developing countries... less government vs more government and so on. You don't want to take an issue such as 'global warming' and just entrench existing positions.

 

I'm a confessed Econut but it 'pisses me off' when some groups make the environment a political issue. Important issues get lost in the muck of ideological debate. Not everyone has the same opinion on 'wind power' as a positive energy source or agrees that 'vegetarianism' helps the environment.

 

Teach science and give folks an understanding of what good scientific methodolgy is. I don't have a friggin clue about the properties of gases and their impact on global warming...haven't looked at a gas molecule since first year university. How do I receive the flavour of the day announcement on 'proof' of global warming? I look at the science behind the pronouncement. Is it actual nitty gritty science with nitty gritty controlled variables or is it a statement tossed out as a sound bite based on some educated speculation but not actual 'science'. I don't care 'what scientists say'...I'm a scientist and my opinion on areas outside of my field has no more value than the mailman's.

 

Teach SCIENCE, Physics, chemistry, biology, etc. A population understanding scientific methodolgy will do more to impact the environment than environmnetalism without the science.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, but every branch of science is individual in many regards. I cannot sit and hold a detailed discussion of snail phylogeny I would think at a physics convention overall. Its not only this, but branches of science even have legacy assumptions and other modes of operation one could curtail in a working definition of a culture really. Its still human thought at the end of the day, even if it does produce empirical results. The point being is a major thrust of science is impacting the day to day lives of populations and the world in general. Science education overtime really should have environmentalism embedded into it. Such as the production of a new chemical for some particular application should have in its process or generation really the environmental reality that such a product will have, how will it react in the atmosphere, the geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere. I think one would be hard pressed to find that as a standard in say the first year general chemistry sequence at most any major universities, thus for the most part such thinking is overall absent in thought.

 

This can apply to the full spectrum of science. Environmentalism has a social aspect, but so does science or anything human really. The scientific aspect of what environmental science is can apply to any science really or field of engineering, on that note though the reality of such is not part of a regular curriculum of education in such fields. People then working in such ether have to deal with it through government oversight, or not at all. Environmental education should become a regular and far reaching aspect of all forms of education, kindergarten though university.

 

When environmental issues reach a political platform they interface not only to politicians and lawmakers, but to the populous at large. What does our current president know of chemical kinetics? Does he even know what our atmosphere is primarily composed of, or how it would react to aerosols or related industry products, how about a typical person? Do they know the local fauna or flora of there respective environments, or even what those words mean? What about curveball like megafauna:eek: You might find it easier to be called a communist in many ways already then a scientist.

 

In which I think again the main problem is lack of any adequate education on the subject. The environment is constant and all around everyone, its what allowed evolution to take place, its what WW2 was fought in. Lack of understanding of such, or human activity in, is the major problem. I don’t think any of this is ever really going to change until education on the subject starts to become mandatory, cradle to grave.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Such as the production of a new chemical for some particular application should have in its process or generation really the environmental reality that such a product will have, how will it react in the atmosphere, the geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere.'

 

If you can get any consensus on that then we'll make you God. Your 'environmental reality' will be removed from mine and someone else's. Claiming any reality or 'the answer' on complex subjects moves out of the realm of science and into the sphere of politics and ideology.

 

In theory I agree with you but in the 'real world' science needs to be independent of myopic views and agendas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Such as the production of a new chemical for some particular application should have in its process or generation really the environmental reality that such a product will have, how will it react in the atmosphere, the geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere.'

 

If you can get any consensus on that then we'll make you God. Your 'environmental reality' will be removed from mine and someone else's. Claiming any reality or 'the answer' on complex subjects moves out of the realm of science and into the sphere of politics and ideology.

 

In theory I agree with you but in the 'real world' science needs to be independent of myopic views and agendas.

 

This was somewhat the view during the revolution which lead to empirical thought having importance in the realm of human thought/activity. Its obscure because its of no importance and or overall focus right now. Things are just for the most part blindly done with no regard to the future of such. Education can change this as focus of importance could shift. Environmental science is a real field, which from the reality of such has to be able to deal with all of the natural sciences plus the social sciences. To me this is a fallacy of sorts. The reality of environmental science needs to be moved to more grassroots reality of education in any particular discipline for it to be effective, or else you have a bunch of confusion, no communication and lastly no understanding.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is 'grassroots' science as opposed to 'science'? Science is science and is not about agendas, popularity or political correctness. If you want the broad population involved then give them the tools of scienctific understanding....chemistry, physics and so on.

 

This goes back to your:

 

"Such as the production of a new chemical for some particular application should have in its process or generation really the environmental reality that such a product will have, how will it react in the atmosphere, the geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere."

 

The 'grassroots'? how the heck can anyone begin to assess any environmnetal impact without nitty gritty understanding of matter and energy? Otherwise what 'environmetalism' is (as it has become) are folks lapping up someone else's statements and using them as 'evidence' to prove some point or another. Students in chemistry need a handle on mathematics to even begin to understand chemistry.....students in the environmnet need a hard science base to understand complex issues. Any one can follow the instructions on a chemsitry set and mix three chemicals to turn a red liquid bto blue. That's the level of environmentalism.

 

Teach science. Hard science. This will create a well educate populations and a larger base for advancement in all the sciences from space exploration to environmnetalism to the health sciences.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One way to help the environmental cause, in a way that would make industry more willing to comply, is to change the role of government agencies, like the EPA, from police, to a leadership role in R&D.

 

For example, if they think it is necesary to reduce X, rather then just nag and force compliance, they lead by first developing the technology needed to meet the requirements. Once the technology is developed, it is much easier for industry to comply, since many can't afford the R&D. If the EPA is unable to create the needed technolgy or unable to achieve the limits they hoped for, then whatever they can achieve is the new standard. It is called putting your money where you mouth is, instead of putting you nose into other people business, and then trying to bully them.

 

Rather than the EPA being a bunch of paper pushes eating up trees, they reorganize to become a science center, where concerned scientitics work to make it easy for industry to comply, so the environment is protected. You run the lab tests. Then scale up to pilot studies. Then do field tests, where representives from industry come to participate to learn the ins & outs. The idea is to clean the environment, by making it easier to comply.

 

What many environmentists don't realize is industy would like to comply. But this is not their only concern. They have a business to run and they also need to maintain jobs for their employees. If complying means losing the business and having to lay off hundreds or thousands, they will need to chose the lessor of two evils. It is cheaper to lobby politians. But if we handed them the solution on a silver platter, it is easier for them to do the right thing while still maintaining a healthy business.

 

A good analogy is a neighbor with a yard full of junk. The neighborhood watch dogs can keep threatening them, or they round up the concerned neighbors to help them clean the yard. The first solution never works. But second solution helps everyone get what they wanted, in less time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 'grassroots'? how the heck can anyone begin to assess any environmnetal impact without nitty gritty understanding of matter and energy?
We can teach physics and environmental science.
One way to help the environmental cause' date=' in a way that would make industry more willing to comply, is to change the role of government agencies, like the EPA, from police, to a leadership role in R&D.

 

For example, if they think it is necesary to reduce X, rather then just nag and force compliance, they lead by first developing the technology needed to meet the requirements. Once the technology is developed, it is much easier for industry to comply, since many can't afford the R&D. If the EPA is unable to create the needed technolgy or unable to achieve the limits they hoped for, then whatever they can achieve is the new standard. It is called putting your money where you mouth is, instead of putting you nose into other people business, and then trying to bully them.

 

Rather than the EPA being a bunch of paper pushes eating up trees, they reorganize to become a science center, where concerned scientitics work to make it easy for industry to comply, so the environment is protected. You run the lab tests. Then scale up to pilot studies. Then do field tests, where representives from industry come to participate to learn the ins & outs. The idea is to clean the environment, by making it easier to comply.

 

What many environmentists don't realize is industy would like to comply. But this is not their only concern. They have a business to run and they also need to maintain jobs for their employees. If complying means losing the business and having to lay off hundreds or thousands, they will need to chose the lessor of two evils. It is cheaper to lobby politians. But if we handed them the solution on a silver platter, it is easier for them to do the right thing while still maintaining a healthy business.

 

A good analogy is a neighbor with a yard full of junk. The neighborhood watch dogs can keep threatening them, or they round up the concerned neighbors to help them clean the yard. The first solution never works. But second solution helps everyone get what they wanted, in less time.[/quote']WTF do messy neighbors have to do with the OP?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.