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Anthropocene EcoEd Literacy Goals

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Cultural anthropologists have done research to characterize the informational, conceptual, and coordination challenges posed by complex environmental problems. Research on the human dimensions of “the Anthropocene” has drawn out even further complexity.  Extending from this, the EcoEd Research Group works to delineate the literacies we need to cultivate in students of all ages going forward. EcoEd literacy goals -- which interweave scientific, media, political and health literacies with ethical perspectives -- can orient and be used to assess educational programs.  Thus far, we has identified the following as critical outcomes of Anthropocence EcoEd, recognizing the importance of students being able to

  • conceptualize their own health and well-being as shaped by an array of both proximate and far-off causes. Diet and cigarette smoke need to be considered, for example, as well as the health effects of transboundary air pollution and climate change.

  • recognize how their own actions have an array of proximate and far off effects. In choosing when and what to drive, one has an effect on air quality for example. In choosing consumer products (made of vinyl, for instance), one becomes involved in an occupational health hazard.

  • examine and analyze different scientific disciplines and medical specializations with attention to how they rely on diverse methods, produce many types of knowledge, and are ever evolving. Science needs to be understood as a crucial but far from straightforward social resource.

  • describe and differentiate government at various scales, from the local to transnational, identifying the diverse agencies, types of experts, and decision-making processes that make these governments run.

  • discuss and analyze the history of disaster and decision-making failures, the vulnerability of some populations and regions, and varied approaches to risk management, reduction and communication.

  • identify and examine entwined ecological, cultural, economic, and political histories and how they shape contemporary conditions and future possibilities.

  • conceptualize complex causation without being paralyzed; use empirical understanding of complex causation to identify specific points of intervention.

  • recognize the multitude of factors influencing what they are told about environmental problems, including vested interests, disciplinary bias and blindness, and the sheer limits of knowledge.

  • identify potential for change and alternative ways of doing things and organizing society (though familiarity with historical and cross-cultural examples, for instance);  appraise .the possible effects of proposed changes.

  • recognize and productively respond to diverse perspective on problems, leveraging heterogeneous collectivity and epistemological pluralism, avoiding the inertia often produced by insistence on “balance” and “consensus.”

  • discover and creatively analyze needed information; narrate complex chains of events.

  • participate effectively in collaborative work, recognizing the challenges and value of collective deliberation and cooperative action.

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Creative Commons Licence

Contributors

Created date

March 7, 2019

Critical Commentary

This artifact describes the EcoEd literacy goals identified by the EcoEd Research Group as literacies we need to cultivate in students of all ages to respond to quotidian anthropocenics. EcoEd literacy goals -- which interweave scientific, media, political and health literacies with ethical perspectives -- can orient and be used to assess educational programs.