Can we change people’s attitudes towards the environment in any way? We will attempt to put the concept environmental education” into perspective in this study unit. One way of emphasizing the role of conservation in terms of natural resources is through the metaphor of a spaceship: Imagine the earth as a spaceship whose inhabitants, or passengers, have to survive in space for a long period of time. These people will have no contact with their home base during this time. What effect will this have on them? D ACTIVITY 1 What do the people in the spaceship need to survive in space for a long period of time? In terms of food supplies? In terms of their social lives?
These supplies are like the earth’s resources (egg water, oxygen, plant life, coal and gold). Think about these questions: How will life in space affect these people’s personal environment? Does the spaceship have sufficient supplies for them? The people on the spaceship will have to use their supplies carefully. Do you see that this metaphor shows that people have to take great care of their environment? If we do not care for our environment, we may end up with a situation where all the resources have been used up and cannot be replaced D as could happen In a spaceship. Kick (in Schroeder as:4) tries to portray the role of human beings on earth by means of the following analogy: Planet Earth is 4,600 million years old.
If we condense this inconceivable time span into an understandable concept, we can liken the Earth to a person of 46 years of age. Nothing is known about the first seven years of this person’s life, and whilst only scattered information exists about the middle span, we know that only at the age of 42 did the Earth begin to flower. Dinosaurs and the great reptiles did not appear until a year ago when the planet was 45. Mammals arrived only eight months ago and in the middle of last week man-like apes evolved into ape-like men, and at the weekend the sat ice age enveloped the earth. Modern man has been around for four hours. During the last hour Man discovered agriculture.
The industrial revolution began a minute ago and during those 60 seconds of biological time man has made a rubbish tip of paradise. He has multiplied his numbers to plague proportions, caused the extinction of 500 species of animals, ransacked the Planet for fuels and now stands like a brutish infant, gloating over his meteoric rise to ascendancy, on the brink of war to end all wars and of effectively destroying this oasis of life in the solar system. ACTIVITY 2 1) What is Kick trying to tell us in the first three paragraphs? (2) Do Ice’s ideas change the way you think about the earth as you know it and if So, why? (3) Think about the last paragraph.
How does it change your views about the importance of the role that human beings play in the environment? Remember: One year in this person’s life is like 100 million years in the life of the earth. So we human beings have been on earth for a very short period of time. Think about the effect human beings can or will have on the environment in the future. After answering these questions, you may realism that human beings have a rater role to play in environmental conservation than we generally realism. Indeed, if we look at Ice’s model, it is clear that the earth survived very well without people for a very long period of time. People have become a threat to the earth in the short time they have existed.
This tells us that human activities play a very important role in the relationship between human beings and the environment D we should, therefore, study the relationship continually. We also need education about how to act positively in our relationship with the environment so that we can conserve our environment. ACTIVITY 3 Think about your relationship with the environment today. Are you more aware of the environment than you were ten years ago? Consider the following questions: What is your contribution to the environment? How did you become more aware of environmental issues and what role do you play in the environment? Nowadays, educators are paying far more attention to environmental issues than they did in the past. Written and visual media are used to present environmental education programmed.
People today probably know a great deal more about environmental issues than they did ten years ago. The numbers of learners at school level are increasing steadily. It is, therefore, important that educators understand the principles of environmental education. In this study unit, we will look at the meaning of the term ‘ ‘environmental education”. In order to understand it, however, you first need to understand the term ‘environment”. As we explain the terms, we will introduce you to philosophies on environmental education and indicate how environmental education can be included in formal education. Various authors have written about the concept ‘ environment”.
They do not, however, all define the concept in the same way. An author’s definition of the environment usually depends on his or her point Of view. We are going to examine a few of these definitions so that you can see how one author emphasizes certain things, while another emphasizes others. Chamber’s Etymological Dictionary (1939: 156) described the environment long ago as a surrounding. ACTIVITY 4 This description refers to a circle or ring. What do you think this circle or ring includes? What does your personal environment include? 12. 2 A holistic representation of the environment Various authors have made holistic representations of the environment.
The allowing diagram is a model of such a representation: DIAGRAM 1 Sustainable existence (Adapted from Donahue 1 994: 19) ACTIVITY 5 Indicate which of the following are environmental elements and which are not: dams, savannas, tarred roads, schools, mines, art festivals, cultivated fields, rock formations and human fellowship. Remember to consider environments other than your own. You should have highlighted each of the elements listed above, for it should be clear by now that the environment is more than just nature. Everything around us is part of our environment. We must decide how important it is for s to conserve it and whether we want to conserve it. Even the last item on the list (human fellowship) forms a part of our human (personal) environment.
The space created by personalities influences perceptions, attitudes and behavior in the environment. Aggression, love, helpfulness, et cetera influence people’s attitudes towards the environment and others. According to diagram 1, we can add politically-related issues, economic issues, and more to the list above. Remember: The environment is not just nature! 1. 3 Development of the concept environmental education” 13. 1 Development of the concept in different parts of the world Study sections 2. 3, 2. 4 and 2. 5 in chapter 2 of your textbook for information on this section. 1. 3. 2 Development of the concept in South Africa: A case study Study sections 2. 7 and 2. 8 in chapter 2 of your textbook for information on this section.
ACTIVITY 6 Find other examples of environmental projects and list at least three of them. Consult environmental journals for this activity. 1. 3. 3 Inclusion of environmental education in formal education in South Africa Study section 2. 8 in chapter 2 of your textbook for information on this 1. 3. 4 The concepts ‘ environmental studies” and ‘environmental The concepts environmental education” and environmental studies” are often (and incorrectly) used interchangeably. The easiest way to explain the differences between the two concepts is to regard environmental studies as studies ABOUT the environment and environmental education as education FOR the environment.
In environmental studies, aspects of the environment such as geography, biology, nature conservation, physics, chemistry, and so on are studied as fields of study. Environmental education, however, deals with education, that is, creating positive attitudes towards the environment. It is concerned with actions taken or skills learned to prevent environmental problems. It cannot, however, be separated from environmental studies, because it is essential to influence individual’s attitudes towards the environment. Now study the attempts to define the concept environmental education”. 1. 4 Definitions of the concept ‘environmental education” There are different views on how environmental education ought to be defined. We quote only three definitions.