Supplemental Information for the Environmental Educator -
a course introduction.
critical thinking about environmental issues.
awareness of the difficulty in defining the environment, environmental
problems, and criteria for evaluating and ranking environmental problems.
the educator with information about the students' general understanding
of environmental issues.
no right answers and the students responses will vary based on their experience
and educational background. Answers should be graded based on a demonstration
of critical thinking and the establishment of well-reasoned arguments
for each question.
following is a list of ideas you may want to keep in mind when discussing
students define "environmental problem" as "imbalances
in the environment caused by humans." It may be helpful to point
out that environmental problems can be natural or human caused and that
they are typically defined as causing adverse effects.
students list environmental problems that overlap. For example, a student
may list "Increased UV Exposure" and "Ozone Depletion"
as two environmental problems.
are no right answers. Experts in environmental ranking do not agree on
which criteria should be used to prioritize environmental problems. Furthermore,
priorities will vary among any group of people. For example:
working in different fields within EPA (air, water, land) will tend
to place higher priority on their area of expertise.
living in Los Angeles will have different priorities than someone living
is often confusion about deriving the 100-point scale in question 8. It
might be useful to illustrate an example of a student's answer or an example
from the literature.
5. Ask some
of the students with well-reasoned answers for each question to read their
answers in class.
outlining the students answers for the following:
listed in question 7.
ranked criterion for question 7.
problems listed in question 8.
ranked environmental problem for question 8. See Figure One.
Figure 1: Highest ranked environmental problem
7. Discuss how definitions of certain criteria varied on the assignment.
- For example,
many students may list "Scale" as one of the criteria in question
7. A wide variety of definitions have been seen for this criterion:
Number of people affected, geographical area, global vs. local, number
of living organisms affected, etc.
8. A comparison
of perceptions of environmental risk.
out that the mayor of your city will most likely focus on more local issues
than the President of the United States.
of Student Answers:
Go to Understanding Environmental Issues Assignment