- Environmental issues are particularly difficult to solve because often the solutions require sacrifice
- It is difficult to convince a population of people to trade in quality of life and convenience for the greater environmental good
- This is evident with North America’s obsession with big cars, SUVs and Trucks
- When considering an environmental issue the species, ecosystem or population that experiences the most negative effects are referred to as “the casualties”
- The currently accepted stance or thought on an environmental issue is called “the paradigm”
- In order to address an environmental issue scientists, politicians and policy makers use a combination of facts and inference
- Facts are information that are gathered through scientific studies and that have been tested using the scientific method
- Inferences are conclusions that are drawn based on a combination of observations and facts.
- The danger occurs when too much weight is placed on inferences and not enough on facts
- From the article “Saving the berries for pickers and bears” identify:
a) the casualty/casualties
b) the paradigm
c) 3 facts
d) 3 inferences
- To avoid making a biased or one sided decision, policy makers, decision makers and politicians try to be objective when making environmental decisions
- Objectivity requires listening to all perspectives and not giving preference to one perspective over another, until a specific course of action is decided
- To avoid being biased, it is important to be able to identify and research the different view points on an environmental issue
- No issue is ever black and white meaning there is never a right or a wrong answer when looking at an environmental issue
- It is important to listen to all perspectives in order to make an informed decision on an environmental issue
- This is why it takes so long for any decision to be made when we’re working on an environmental issue
Perspectives to Consider
- When researching your environmental issues it is important to consider the following 5 point of views. Each point of view will have one or more argument or perspective to consider
- The Environmental Point of View
- This perspective is based on what is best for the environment in question
- This may be as big as an ocean, or as small as a back yard
- The Economic Point of View
- This perspective is based entirely on money. What course of action will either make the most or save the most money
The Political Point of View
- This perspective is based on two key ideas:
- what will make the biggest positive/negative impact on the voters and
- what is a popular choice
- The “Average Joe” Point of View
- This perspective is often the most complex because it is the individual perspective. This perspective is often based on what is best for a single person or a small group of people, not necessarily a large population. There can be many Average Joe perspectives for any environmental issue
The Community Point of View
- This perspective is based on what is best for a large group of people.
- This could be an aboriginal perspective or a minority perspective.
- This could also be a special interest group
- Read the David Suzuki article called “Tiny Township victory sets a big example” and identify one argument for each of the 5 points of view
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