'Green' Teaching: Pros and Cons
In "Is Environmental Education Just 'Green' Propaganda?" (March 4) Michael Sanera is quoted as saying, "Schoolchildren are being scared green by environmental education." Anecdotal evidence on environmental education's effects is used to frighten the public into thinking it's detrimental. It is interesting that these critics - who fault environmental education for not being factually correct - ignore credible research.
In a report by the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education, fifth- and 11th- graders were asked whether they thought environmental problems could be solved. The majority thought so, and they thought they could contribute.
A researcher at Washington State University found that very few first-, third-, and fifth-graders spontaneously mentioned the environment when asked, "What do you worry about?" When asked directly to rank the environment against other common childhood worries (peer relations, doing well in school, etc.) environmental problems ranked in the middle. Children who were most concerned were no more anxious or scared than those who were less concerned. And children who said they act to protect the environment (e.g., not littering) and conserve resources (turning off lights) had higher feelings of self-esteem and control over their lives.
Our children would be better served if those who fear green education spent a little more time in the black and white of research.
National Environmental Education
and Training Foundation
Getting young children to believe we are losing the earth and it is up to them to fix it has to be properly classified as child abuse. Michael Sanera's book "Facts Not Fear: A Parent's Guide to Teaching Children About the Environment" is long overdue.
Y. Leon Favreau
Multiple Use Association
Just the facts on Three Mile Island
In "Nuclear Doubts Put US Out of Step on Global Warming" (March 31) the opinion column challenges the United States to look more seriously at energy sources that do not contribute to the global warming problem.
In the forefront of such sources, the author makes the point that nuclear energy continues to be the best candidate, but that Three Mile Island (TMI) still "is in the headlights."
Perhaps it is time to set the record straight. Why not publish the fact that the safety systems at TMI functioned as designed and prevented an accident of any consequence: no damage to the surrounding environment, no radioactive materials injured personnel at the plant or in the surrounding area. Dire predictions of ill effects on the neighboring population proved baseless.
Never has the news media revisited this story and made it clear to the public that TMI was not a catastrophe, but actually a clear example of the adequacy of the engineering of a nuclear plant to protect the public and the environment.
The US has virtually eliminated nuclear power as an alternative and the news media have had a major role in accomplishing this unfortunate situation.
Robert E. Ochs
An article on vaccination in the March 26 edition should have been clearer on one point. Children who are not vaccinated are excluded from school and other activities only if they have not claimed medical exemptions or exemptions provided under state law to those who have religious or philosophical objections to vaccination. These exemptions may not apply during public health emergencies, such as epidemics.
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