issues affect, and are affected by, all of our activities to varying degrees.
The need to have a working knowledge of environmental issues is not confined
to environmental scientists, engineers, and policy makers. The interconnected
nature of environmental problems, the interactions between social and
individual decision making, and their effect on the development of solutions
for environmental problems require that a comprehensive environmental
literacy course include scientific, social, economic, organizational,
and ethical dimensions.
web-based text is intended for use by professors of various backgrounds
to provide students a "working" knowledge of environmental issues
and decision making, science, and technology in that context. It is
the result of a decade-long course on environmental literacy taught at
Carnegie Mellon University and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with
the overall objective of enabling students to be capable participants
in environmental decision making at the individual and social level.
objective of this site is to promote a style of teaching for the environment
that results in what is known as environmental literacy. Although "environmental
literacy" is a difficult concept to define, we use the term to mean
the capability for a contextual and detailed understanding of an environmental
problem in order to enable analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and ultimately
sound and informed decision making at a citizen's level. We do this in
hopes that the environmentally literate student will have the knowledge,
tools, and sensitivity required to properly address environmental problems
in his or her future professional capacity, and routinely include the
environment as one of the considerations in their work and daily living.
We feel that environmental literacy is requisite for students in all majors,
although they may eventually use the learning in different contexts.
literacy is about practices, activities, and feelings grounded in familiarity
and sound knowledge. Just as reading becomes second nature to those
who are literate, interpreting and acting for the environment ideally
would become second nature to the environmentally literate citizen. We
take the idea of literacy a step farther, intending not only an understanding
of the language of the environment, but also its grammar, literature,
and rhetoric. It involves understanding the underlying scientific and
technological principles, societal and institutional value systems, and
the spiritual, aesthetic, ethical and emotional responses that the environment
invokes in all of us.