June 04, 2007

Environmental education

"Griffon vultures attack dogs at night." This surreal news recently appeared in several newspapers in my town. Members of a bird-watchers' mailing list I subscribe to were outraged and, once again, lamented the sorry state of environmental literacy.

"Thanks to environmental education children now consume less." This would also be surreal news but Daniel T. Blumstein and Charlie Saylan naively expect it to come true some day (The Failure of Environmental Education (and How We Can Fix It), PLoS Biology). This reflects the sorry state of behavioral literacy on two counts. First, no amount of environmental education short of complete brainwashing can ever convince people to consume less. Second, good environmental education should reassure people to keep consuming as much as they wish and can afford to.

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