In my capstone project, I have focused my study on the socio-cultural values that inform decision making toward different "Environment" is a word so embedded in environmental discourse and scholarship that it has effectively disappeared. We all know what the environment is—or do we? And what do our unexamined assumptions about environment mean for how we approach environmental issues? A careful examination of the word might lead us to... More actions/activities. Much of this is founded on personal identity and the moral confrontations we endure on a daily basis in environmental education. As a student in environmental studies, and an elementary science tutor, I have been fascinated with the ways in which people learn, interpret, and react to different forms of information or knowledge. Therefore, in doing this project, I aim to evaluate the motivations behind decisions of varying socio-cultural groups and the relationship between perceptions of nature and environmental actions.
In the course on Environmental Theory, I have completed the steps to make a preliminary framework for my capstone project. In my last post, I discussed the various ways in which theory applies to my area of interest and the different contexts used to inform personal decision making through the idea of the social constriction of nature. I continue this idea using four other elements to create a framework to be used with the hourglass research model. This model helps guide research from a broader context to a situated context to broader implication ensuring a more throughout the analysis in the capstone project. My framing question is…
How does the concept of truth shape attitudes about nature?
This question stems from the element I have chosen as well as the idea that personal identity is made of socio-cultural values that define truths in different ways. These values stem from experience, education, and social interactions that inform ideas of truth (Burch Sarah, 2018). Additionally, truth is typically conceived through the metrics of science and the notion of the outside world (Cronon William 1996; Latour, Bruno, 1999; Proctor, James 1998) which create an intellectual distinction between people and nature. This notion of separation from our natural space triggers many misconceptions of the impact human have on the environment. Therefore it important to evaluate the ways in which people perceive their environment and themselves to engage in different environmental actions.
- Social Construction of Nature
- Environmental Values
- Environmental education
- Public engagement and environmental sciences
The concept of reality is vague and the concept of nature is even more so, so how can these terms be grounded by universal definitions? Simply, it cannot and must be evaluated along a continuum of ambiguity grounded in different perspectives of reality. Nature is not defined solely in its... More is at the basis of my capstone as it highlights a major insight into the perceptions and ways in which we interact with our environment. This concept focuses on nature as a construction within social interactions and confronting the meaning of objective truths. Thus revealing the influence of the ways people perceive truth and human-natural relationships. (Ekers, Michael 2018). Along with this, the concept of environmental values can be a useful tool to understand the underlying judgment that informs environmental actions. There, is great potential in focusing on the shared values of common interest for understanding stakeholder interest.
Next, Post-truth is an important concept to understand the current socio-political dynamics facing education. This concept defines the types of tactics that typically misinform people on policy decision makings which is crucial in coming up with new strategies for education. Story-telling is one example people learn and observe their environment which can also help projects in conservation and preservation efforts. ”(Burch, Sarah, 2018). Lastly, public engagement with environmental sciences gets me closer to my focus question as it considers the ways to engage across the different values and perceptions of nature. Focusing on issues of mistrust, public engagement bridges the gap between individuals’ realities.
Moving forward into environment studies 400, I plan to use this framework to build a science or social studies curriculum that incorporates site-specific values enhancing narratives in public engagement with environmental science. I plan to situate my project and use a case study to evaluate different stakeholder interests and the corresponding environmental actions. My proposed focus question is…
In what ways, do different perceptions of nature and identity, in science, inform decisions toward environmental actions (in the Klamath Basin)?
As of now, I am between deciding on a case study in the Klamath Basin or in southern Oregon where a rancher militia group protested conservation efforts. As an Oregon resident, both of these case studies appeal to my interest and curiosity. A possible outcome from this project would be a plan informing decisions and environmental education that invigorate positive environmental actions and balancing preservation and consumption in the ways we value nature.
[Not available in archived version; click here for framework.]
Burch Sarah 2018. “Environmental Education ” In Companion to Environmental Studies, edited by Noel Castree, Mike Hulme, and James D. Proctor,(635-659). New York City: Routledge.
Cronon, William. 1996. “The Trouble with Wilderness: Or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature.” Environmental History 1 (1): 7–28. https://doi.org/10.2307/3985059.
Ekers, Michael 2018. “Social Construction of Nature” In Companion to Environmental Studies, edited by Noel Castree, Mike Hulme, and James D. Proctor,(243-247). New York City: Routledge.
Holland, Allen 2018. “Environmental values” In Companion to Environmental Studies, edited by Noel Castree, Mike Hulme, and James D. Proctor,(670-673). New York City: Routledge.
Latour, Bruno, and Centre de Sociologie de L’Innovation Bruno Latour. 1999. Pandora’s Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Harvard University Press.
McIntyre, Lee. 2018. Post-Truth. MIT Press.
Pallett,Helen 2018. “Public engagement with environmental science” In Companion to Environmental Studies, edited by Noel Castree, Mike Hulme, and James D. Proctor,(809-813). New York City: Routledge.
Proctor, James D. 1998. “The Social Construction of Nature: Relativist Accusations, Pragmatist and Critical Realist Responses.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 88 (3): 352–76. https://doi.org/10.1111/0004-5608.00105.