Compelling evidence: an influence on middle school students’ accounts that may impact decision-making about socioscientific issues

Compelling evidence: an influence on middle school students’ accounts that may impact decision-making about socioscientific issues

– New EER Article Alert

Katherine Emery, Danielle Harlow, Ali Whitmer & Steven Gaines

Pages: 1-15 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1225673


This study investigates how middle school students make hypothetical purchasing, consuming, and voting decisions about environmental and science-related issues – a key component of environmental literacy. Fifty-three female students were given a packet containing multiple excerpts of information from conflicting positions from stakeholders and interviewed about how they would make decisions about environmental and science-related issues. We first investigated whether and how information presented as evidence influenced students’ accounts that may impact their decision-making (i.e. to make or change decisions). We then investigated how evidence type affected students’ decision-making. Findings indicated that most students did not change their stance after reading additional contrasting information presented as evidence. Implications for science teaching and learning are discussed.

Keywords: Environmental education, decision-making, environmental issues



Integrating environmental education within the management model of National Parks of Colombia

“Thesis Thursdays” – read a thesis summary today!

Integrating environmental education within the management model of National Parks of Colombia

Juanita Zorrilla Pujana Pages: 1-1 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1225693


Just finished your doctorate researching EE? Know someone who has? Want others in this research community to know about it? Visit:

  • Please note, this is not a dissertation abstract recirculation, as with online commercial or institutional thesis databases – fresh writing, reframing and rejigging are expected as per the guidelines and editing expectations. *

How to promote conservation behaviours: the combined role of environmental education and commitment

How to promote conservation behaviours: the combined role of environmental education and commitment

  • New EER Article Alert

Raquel Barata, Paula Castro & Maria Amélia Martins-Loução

Pages: 1-13 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1219317


This study tested the influence of both environmental education (EE) and commitment interventions among teenagers for promoting energy and water conservation at home. Conservation behaviours were measured in two ways – directly and through questionnaires – prior to and after the interventions. Results indicate (1) EE participants may have saved more energy than non-participants and (2) those signing a public commitment saved more energy and water than those who did not. Results from the questionnaire measures demonstrated the importance of EE for promoting ecological self-identity and a personal norm for energy conservation. Based on these results the use of commitment interventions in EE initiatives for promoting conservation behaviours among teenagers is proposed.

Keywords: Environmental education, commitment, conservation behaviour, teenagers


Rethinking environmental science education from indigenous knowledge perspectives: an experience with a Dene First Nation community

Rethinking environmental science education from indigenous knowledge perspectives: an experience with a Dene First Nation community
– New EER Article Alert
Ranjan Kumar Datta
Pages: 1-17 | DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2016.1219980

This auto-ethnographic article explores how land-based education might challenge western environmental science education (ESE) in an Indigenous community. This learning experience was developed from two perspectives: first, land-based educational stories from Dene First Nation community Elders, knowledge holders, teachers, and students; and second, the author’s critical self‐reflections focusing on how land-based education could offer unlearning, rethinking, relearning, and reclaiming ESE. This auto-ethnography provides particular insights into who we are as environmental educators, the challenges in western ESE, why land-based education matters, why and how a significant move should be made from western ESE to land-based ESE, and how land-based education offers a bridge between western and Indigenous education.

Keywords: Land-based education, Western science, Indigenous, auto-ethnography, environmental science education

AAEE 2016 Research Symposium – 4th October 2016 – Adelaide

“Why is no-one knocking at our door? The impact of our research on tomorrow”

Symposium conversations will explore the above title in relation to three core themes:

– Changing cultural and contextual environments
How might our research facilitate change within the cultural and contextual worlds within which we work? What are the new and innovative ways we could be engaging (productively) with our world(s)?

– Collaborating for change
What does it really mean to do research collaboratively? What strategies might we use to do research collaboratively? How might research collaborations help us to have a better impact on the future/tomorrow?

– The use and impact of our research
How do we speak to our world(s) so that our research ideas are not simply re-circulated in the academy? What strategies will help us to advance the use and impact of our research? Are there key research questions we should be, but are not, asking?

Includes –

Key-note Conversation # 1: Mark Rickinson
“Research-Policy-Practice Relationships in Environmental and Sustainability Education: Some Starting Questions”

Key-note Conversation # 2: Amy Cutter-Mackenzie, Alan Reid, Bob Stevenson, Hilary Whitehouse
“Bald, Bright and Bare Patches in Environmental Education Research”

Key-note Conversation # 3: Aidan Davison
“Where to from here? Reflections on Research, Teaching and Engagement in ESE”

Follow the link for session details – or access directly at

How to summarise GEM? Here’s one take – “Education – We the planet” …

In the 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization alerts us that education “will not deliver its full potential unless participation rates increase and sustainable development guides education system reform.” The GEM Report also examines “the destructive impact that climate change, conflict, unsustainable consumption, and the increasing gap between rich and poor have on education.”

Despite its 535 pages of UNESCO jargon, the report is rich in evidence. It does, indeed, “provide readers with an authoritative source” of data to help them “argue for the value and importance of education at all levels of decision making.” And it starts with the very title: “Education for People and Planet: Creating Sustainable Futures for All.” At last, we, the people, are one and the same with Earth.

Here are paraphrased the report’s major findings:

— Between 2008 and 2014, 84 percent of the world’s youth completed upper secondary school in high-income countries, in contrast to 43 percent in upper-middle income, 38 percent in lower-middle income, and 14 percent in low-income nations. Across 76 countries, 20 percent of the 25- to 29-year-olds in the richest nations had finished at least four years of college/university, compared to less than 1 percent in the poorest. In 2014, 63 percent of countries achieved gender parity in primary education, but only 46 percent in lower-secondary, and 23 percent in upper-secondary schooling.

— Between 2005 and 2015, school facilities in 26 countries were used for military purposes. Among refugees, 50 percent of primary- and 75 percent of secondary-school-aged were out of school.

— From 2005 to 2014, 758 million adults — 114 million aged 15 to 24 — could not read or write a sentence; nearly two-thirds were women. In 2014, 82 percent of the teachers had minimum qualifications to teach in pre-primary, 93 percent in primary, and 91 percent in secondary schools.

— In at least 35 countries, governments spent less than 4 percent of their GDP and less than 15 percent of their total expenditure on education. UNESCO remarks that such investments need to increase at least sixfold to account for the $39 billion annual education finance gap, but in 2014, the levels were 8 percent lower than at their 2010 peak.

Under current trends, primary school completion for all people might be achieved in 2042, lower secondary school in 2059, and upper secondary school in 2084. Note that upper secondary schooling for women in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 shall lead to 300,000 fewer child deaths per year in 2050. Not only that, upper secondary completion by 2030 in low-income nations shall increase per capita income by 75 percent by 2050, and accelerate poverty reduction — or its elimination — by 10 years.

Prosperous nations have their own problems: 1 in 10 countries in Europe and North America will not achieve universal upper secondary completion by 2030. Why does this matter? The GEM Report responds with cost-benefit projections: a 5 percent increase in male high-school-graduation rate in the United States would add $20 billion to the economy via reduced crime and higher input to the workforce.

And from a humanitarian perspective, providing universal upper secondary schooling to the world by 2030 would prevent 50,000 disaster-related fatalities per decade by 2040-2050. Yes, education saves lives.

For UNESCO, education is the most effective tool for reducing fertility rates. In Madagascar, for example, a single extra year of schooling extends the space between births by 0.5 years. Environmental education correlates with better “green knowledge” and sustainable lifestyles. However, only 73 percent of 78 countries’ curricula mention “sustainable development,” 55 percent “ecology,” and 47 percent “environmental education.” The latter is crucial for disaster preparedness: “If education progress is stalled, it could lead to a 20 percent increase in disaster-related fatalities per decade.”

Regarding citizenry involvement in public life, education encourages constructive political participation. In 106 countries, higher levels of education have correlated with peaceful protests (civil disobedience) rather than with chaotic violence. Interestingly, between 1996 and 2010, low literacy in 123 countries was associated with reduced tax revenue. Thus, education motivates civil responsibility.

“A sustainable future is about human dignity, social inclusion and environmental protection. It is a future where economic growth does not exacerbate inequalities but builds prosperity for all” writes Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, in her introduction to the GEM Report. And I am with her: “if done right, education has the power to nurture empowered, reflective, engaged and skilled citizens who can chart the way toward a safer, greener and fairer planet.”

Guillermo Paz-y-Miño-C. is co-director of New England Science Public. He lives in Bristol, R.I.

Source: Your View: Education – We the planet

Education leaders gather to chart a future for sustainability at universities

International meeting examines progress on campuses, explores goals for coming years.

“Educators and administrators from 33 nations gathered at MIT last week for the third World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities, where they discussed successful programs already adopted at their institutions, and plans for improving and expanding education about sustainability over the coming years.” …

“Representatives from many universities described their efforts to create educational programs, courses, and research projects to increase their students’ awareness of the many dimensions of sustainability, including technical, social, economic, political, and educational aspects. They also discussed the process of transforming their own campuses into “living laboratories” to help develop more efficient systems that could persist without depleting resources or exploiting resources or peoples.”

Image: A panel discussion about the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and their impact on higher education featured, from left, Peter Blaze Corcoran of Florida Gulf Coast University; John Fernandez, director of MIT’s Environmental Solutions Initiative; Monika MacDevette, of the U.N. Environment Program in Nairobi, Kenya; Stephen Sterling, professor of sustainability education at Plymouth University in the U.K.; and Akpezi Ogbuigwe, director of the International Collaboration Center at Rivers State University of Science and Technology in Nigeria.

Read on at the source: Education leaders gather to chart a future for sustainability at universities | MIT News