Volume 9 (2017)
Janssen & Gröger: Building bridges to chemistry through biological contents
Authors: Mareike Janssen and Martin Gröger
Abstract: In contrast to biological contents, chemical contents are still underrepresented in primary schools, although they are implemented in the curricula. This problem is largely due to an inadequate education of primary school teachers and a resulting lack of positive attitudes towards chemical contents and of interest in them. Closely related is a widespread negative self-concept for chemical topics and a low self-efficacy to teach them. In order to address this problem, a university seminar for students of general studies (science and social studies at primary school level) is developed and evaluated as part of a doctoral thesis . In this seminar, biological and chemical aspects of natural phenomena are examined in a near-natural environment. This combination is considered to help transferring the students’ positive attitudes towards biology also to chemistry. A combination of different methods is used to evaluate the effects of the seminar, including Own Word Mapping, a self-developed, picture based association test, the Semantic Differential, and a questionnaire with complementary oral questioning. The results indicate that the developed seminar helps students to perceive more connections between chemistry and biology and more chemical aspects in their environment. In addition, the seminar seems to have a positive influence on the unconscious attitudes towards chemistry and on the interest in chemical topics as well as on the self-efficacy concerning the teaching of chemical contents and the self-concept concerning chemistry. Thus the seminar helps to create favourable preconditions for the teaching of chemical contents in primary school as early as during university education.
Shinde: The Polluter Pays Principle in Effect at the National Green Tribunal in India
Author: Mrinalini Shinde
Abstract: India has witnessed several infamous cases of industrial pollution on a massive scale, the most tragic being the Bhopal Gas Disaster in 1984, which led to thousands of deaths and several hundred thousand injuries for over thirty years. However, the significant progress over the past few decades in the expansion and enforcement of domestic environmental law has gradually broken the perception that India could be used as a pollution haven by multinational companies. The ‘Polluter Pays Principle’ (hereinafter referred to as ‘PPP’) under Principle 16 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, 1992 (Rio Declaration), has recently begun to occupy significant standing in domestic environmental disputes. The principle essentially implies that polluters must bear the costs of restoring the environment of that pollution. In India, the Supreme Court has used the PPP in several landmark environmental decisions; in 2010, the National Green Tribunal Act (NGT Act), codified the application of the PPP by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) when deciding civil cases involving a substantial question of the environment.
In this article, the author will gauge the exact purpose of the PPP in its application in the NGT in India; the forum created to adjudicate legal disputes with substantial question of the environment. The author seeks to examine whether the PPP creates economic repercussions for polluters and acts as a deterrent, and compensates those harmed by environmental damage, and is able to generate the amount necessary to restore the environment to its previous state. The PPP is now used far too often as a compensatory tool as opposed to other motivations and the author seeks to discuss both the benefits and limitations of this approach. Benefits include that victims of pollution are assured some monetary relief in harsh circumstances while the limitation includes reduced penalties upon polluters if there is a lack of direct victimization.
Fassender & Wachten: Coping with cognitive dissonance in climate protection through dilemma stories in climate education
Authors: Sonja Fasbender & Annika Wachten
Abstract: Ambitious objectives in climate policies set high expectations not only on technological advance, but also on an education that raises each individual’s awareness for sustainable developments. Psychological evidence, however, suggests that information on climate change leads to moral dilemmas and evokes cognitive dissonance that exposes an inner state of conflict. These negative experiences induce discomfort and counteract efforts of climate education, if humans do not develop coping strategies right from the beginning on. In order to address that problem, a teaching
unit for children in primary school is developed and evaluated. The development of the teaching unit is part of a practice-oriented project of NaturGut Ophoven e.V., a center for environmental education. The teaching unit deals with climate change in general and in specific with climate-friendly nutrition, consumption, mobility, waste disposal behaviour and the rebound-effect. An essential component of each module is a personal confrontation with a dilemma story that the children must discuss and creatively work with. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods is used to evaluate the effectiveness of the teaching unit’s approach. This includes a focus group and a pre-post-measurement with a partly-standardized written survey, each a different survey for teachers
and children. The results indicate that the children of age eight to ten learned how to cope with cognitive dissonance and can decide more easily in dilemma situations. Thus, the developed teaching unit helps children to gain capacity to judge and to decide without feeling overwhelmed or frightened. In addition, children’s attitudes towards their own action on climate protection are positively affected by our modules.
Proceedings on the 10th Annual Winter Meeting
Arnold: Modelling Health Behaviour - Knowledge, Beliefs & Attitudes
Author: Julia Arnold
Abstract: There are several models to explain health behaviour. Most of them are prediction models and include several factors that can be used to predict Health Behaviour. These models are called continuous because a person can be “placed along a range that reflects the likelihood of action” (Schwarzer, 2008, p. 3). Such models for example are: the Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura 1977), the Health Action Process Approach (Schwarzer, 1992), the Health Belief Model (Rosenstock, 1974), the Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1991), the Protection Motivation Theory (Rogers, 1983), the Frameworkmodel of Health Literacy (Zeyer & Odermatt, 2009) or the Intergrated Action Model (Rost et al., 2001). These models have several important factors in common, e.g. beliefs about of severity and vulnerability, expectancies about self-efficacy, the probability of the action leading to the desired
outcome or some kind of incentives like for example values or evaluation-processes or cost-benefit
considerations. But non of these models covers all the important factors, especially not in evaluationvalue-pairs, and none of these models takes (health) knowledge into consideration. Hence, we propose a new model, which allows for investigations about the interrelations of these factors.
We expect the new model to be more powerful in explaining intentions for Health Behaviour, because
of the combination of the different models as well as the inclusion of knowledge and specific
knowledge types. The new model will be presented and discussed at the conference. In future, the
model will be operationalized and tested empirically. If the model turns out to be powerful it can give
hints at how to foster healthy behaviour by tailored interventions.
Byron-Cox: Neoliberal Economics and the Challenge of Protecting the Environment
Author: Richard A. Byron-Cox
Abstract: The world is on a quest to achieve sustainable development if we are to believe those that sit at the controls of power in the international arena. Indeed the United Nations (UN) marked its 70th
anniversary with the adoption of seventeen (17) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Development as we understand it is first and foremost economic growth and social progress leading to a better life for the humans on this planet. So the mission is (should be) really one primarily of creating better economic and social conditions for all. However, the protection of the environment never featured in this equation. Alas we found out that this is easier said than done, as there is a price to be paid for this socio-economic progress. And some correctly understand that this price to be extracted by nature is one that threatens our very existence. Suddenly we see the necessity for a debate on sustainable development.
Some claim that the debate is now over and there is common agreement that sustainable development is the way to go. But is this agreement mere words without any substance? And who
really have agreed to this? Are the actions required to realize this agreement being taken? Or are we
preaching a new gospel while our old practices have become even more dangerous and subversive to
the environmental integrity of the planet? Are people like the climate scientists that form part of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and others like Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges
and Gus Speth simply alarmists? Does not the findings of Oxfam as regards global economic
inequality, and how it is reinforced and the consequences of the same; or those of the FAO
concerning the growth of population and the consequent dramatic increase demand for food, water
and energy point to anything except sustainability in the future? These are all really deadly serious
questions that must be answered and answered now.
The Speaker, Dr. Richard A. Byron-Cox argues that the neoliberal economics presently ruling the
world makes achieving the SDGs impossible. He is emphatic that these goals can only be realized
through inter alia rejecting the present economic relations. He further argues that until protection of the environment is de facto elevated above the concerns of profit, there is going to be a catastrophic
increase in environmental degradation, exposing the illusionary nature of the plan to achieve the
Fasbender et al.: Climate protection meets cognitive dissonance
Authors: Sonja Fasbender, Ute Rommeswinkel, Annika Wachten
Abstract: Project "Klimabildung+" - Research and practical implementation in primary schools -
The project „Klimabildung+” represents a real pedagogical challenge: Our mission is to educate
primary school children on climate protection and empower them to take action without imposing too
many constraints on their everyday life or frightening them.
“Should I buy a nice t-shirt which is produced under inhuman working conditions at the expense of the environment?”, “Should I avoid eating strawberries in winter?” or “How can I stop using plastic bags?”. Regarding those questions children are often drawn into an inner conflict. On the one hand, they want to protect the environment, on the other they are kept in their confirmed habits. Children cannot easily solve these mental conflicts on their own.
The new teaching units of NaturGut Ophoven deal with the inner dilemma which educators call
„cognitive dissonance“. Children are stressed mentally when beliefs and values are inconsistent with
one another. That concept goes back on Leon Festinger's theory from 1957 and focuses on how
humans strive for internal consistency.
The project wants to encourage children to behave climate-friendly and environmental-friendly and it
wants to pinpoint options of how to decide in dilemma situations. The institute of Biology and its
Didactics was responsible for the subject-didactic guidance. The program evaluation was conducted
by “e-fect dialog evaluations consulting eG”. The evaluation aims to obtain well founded information on the effectiveness of the new teaching units, especially with regard to the experience of and coping with cognitive dissonance.
The revision of the five units was carried out on the basis of the evaluation results and the empirical
values of the responsible project team.
Method: Teach climate protection in a different way!
All teaching units are organized in a practice oriented manner. Through dialogues pupils gain thematic
input. An essential component of each program consists of the personal confrontation with a dilemma
story which the pupils have to discuss. Thus, moral conflicts are evoked and finally solved in a way
that children can easily deal with. The innovative method of dilemma stories provides the opportunity
to deal with cognitive uncertainties concerning climate protection and to make children capable of
Leitheiser et al.: Reimagining the "urban nature" concept: Ecological restoration through a new process of urbanization
Authors: Stephen Leitheiser, Anne Poggenpohl, Ella Schabram, Louis Schreel, Maria José de Villafranca
Abstract: The modern city is littered with contradiction. Humanity has developed a system of urbanization, which has the ability to create awe-inspiring structures and networks. Vast urban expanses stem from mountain-like centers of social and economic power where society’s remarkable ingenuity and problem-solving adeptness are on full display. The contradiction lies on the fringe of these urban centers—spaces, which are commonly plagued by structural decay, poverty and pollution. The current process of urbanization is arguably the largest overall contributor to ecological degradation (mass extinctions, climate change, etc.). The proposed solutions revolve mainly around protection (as in legally protected areas). These solutions rest on a conception of nature as an object, in the etymological sense of the original objectus: something that is exterior and independent of humans, and which now should be protected from them so as to survive. We present, therefore a seemingly strange proposal: Urban Wilderness (URWI). By connecting two seemingly opposite realms, the concept challenges the premise of urbanization by reframing it around the reinstitution of nature. Our process is grounded on the main idea that humans are not separate from nature, but that we are of it. To put this idea into practice, we propose a process which democratically lends a voice to nature itself and is based around the following principles of Accessibility, Unity, Diversity and Cyclicity. We have produced a plan for how this process could begin to be put into motion locally, on a brownfield site in the Ruhrgebiet.