Economic Policy Lecture Series 2

"Toward Better Environmental Education"

by Ms. Jane Shaw
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A standing room only audience packed the Anheuser Busch Leadership Room in the new Spellmann Center on November 7, 2002. The 150 students, faculty and members of the local community came to hear Ms. Jane Shaw, a senior associate at the Political Economy Research Center (PERC), speak on “Towards Better Environmental Education”. The second presentation in the Economic Policy Lecture Series was co-hosted by the Institute for Study of Economics and the Environment (ISEE) and the Division of Education.

Shaw discussed various ways that K-12 educators can teach students environmental issues using illustrations from natural settings rather than materials that advocate a particular perspective. She explained that politically charged environmental controversies are not age-appropriate for young children, resulting in their fear of the future. On the other hand, if teachers and parents can establish an interest in nature, at an early age, they can help prepare young people to understand complex environmental issues at the high school level.

Ms. Shaw is co-author (with Michael Sanera) of Facts not Fear and editor of A Blueprint for Environmental Education. Both books suggest that the current pessimistic undertone to environmental education be replaced with a more realistic, solution-oriented outlook.

Excerpted from: Elizabeth Darling, “The Three E’s”, Lindenwood Pride, December2002

Jane Shaw, PERC Senior Associate Dean Boyle, Jane Shaw, President Spellmann, and Dr. Chilton