Thursday, October 22, 2015

Cultivating the EcoMind

STEM extracurricular programs seem to be all the rage these days, but the environment gets a modicum of educational attention on our continent by way of an annual Envirothon.  Engineering (the 'E' in STEM) includes consideration of the context directly affecting the artificial system of interest.  One aspect of these contextual influences is that associated with the natural environment.  Some understanding of the environment is essential, therefore, to design of engineering systems, but the engineering perspective typically assumes that we can surmount or circumvent environmental forces by adjustments in the system's design. However, an environmental perspective of our human systems' contexts would lead to designs more harmonious with nature.  (Have you ever noticed that Environmental Engineering is usually all about how to clean up the messes we make on our planet?)
I am, therefore, pleased to note that the environmental literacy standards that Maryland instituted for its childhood education programs just won Silver in the 2015 Future Policy Awards of the World Future Councilthe Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UNICEF.  These were the first such standards adopted by any of our states and serve to counter the narrowing of curricula caused by the No Child Left Behind law.  Other states are taking notice and coming along as well. 
If, by wild chance, Martin O'Malley becomes our next President, I hope he won't forget to carry with him the environmental legacy endowed to Maryland by his governorship.

Featured Post

A Coming War We Must Strive to Prevent

S ome anger smolders over generations. It depends on the offense. Whatever the eldest of the Paddock boys endured because of his father'...