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.