In a democracy, there are differing views on how the government and industry should deal with energy, energy sources, and the environment. I’ve visited the American Presidency Project, and there you can read the complete platforms of the Democrats and Republicans. You have to go the Libertarian Party and the Green Party websites to read their platforms. You might set up a project where your students visit these websites, and extract the respective party’s positions on energy, the environment, and science research. How do the party’s differ in their understanding of the environment, and recommendations for the future?
Here are some quotes that I’ve taken from these parties’ platforms (Democrats, Green, Libertarian and Republican). Match the quotes up to the parties. I’ve included five quotes to make a bit more difficult! (Follow the linked word for the correct answer)
We realize that our planet’s climate is constantly changing, but environmental advocates and social pressure are the most effective means of changing public behavior.
Global climate change is the planet’s greatest threat, and our response will determine the very future of life on this earth.
We can — and should — address the risk of climate change based on sound science without succumbing to the no-growth radicalism that treats climate questions as dogma rather than as situations to be managed responsibly.
Strengthen and enforce laws that prevent toxic industries, toxic dumps and air pollution from targeting ethnic minority communities.
If we want things to stay as they are–that is, if we want to maintain our technological, economic, and moral leadership and a habitable planet, rich with flora and fauna, leopards and lions, and human communities that can grow in a sustainable way–things will have to change around here, and fast.
If you followed the links for each of the words in the above quotes, you now realized that the last quote is not from any of the political parties, but from Thomas Friedman’s book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need A Green Revolution—and How It Can Renew America. Friedman’s book is a description of a paradigm for change that is green. Code Green, Friedman’s way of describing this paradigm means this:
Green is not simply a new form of generating electric power. It is a new form of generating national power—period.
I would use Friedman’s book not only in a university course, but it would provide very interesting STS topics for investigation for middle and high school students. For example here are the titles of the first few chapters:
- Where Birds Don’t Fly
- Today’s Datde: 1 E.C.E. Today’s Weather: Hot, Flat and Crowded
- Our Carbon Copies (or, Too Many Americans)
- Fill’Er Up with Dictators
- Global Weirding
- The Age of Noah (this one might give you a problem)
- Energy Poverty
Each of these topics could be turned into an STS project in which teams of students explore that particular chapter in Friedman’s book, and then suggest an action project that involves other students, or citizens in their community. I’ve described STS Themes and How To Teach Them at the Companion Webiste for our book, The Art of Teaching Science. It will give you some ideas on how to apply Friedman’s book to actual classroom activities.
What suggestions would you make to using Friedman’s book to teach the paradigm of “green?”
Additional Sources & ResourcesEnvironmental Education, Green, Paradigm, political platforms, STS, Thomas Friedman