Title: Trends in Environmental Education for the Interdisciplinary Concepts of Climate Change and Energy Technologies
Abstract: The far-reaching impacts of global climate change and the implementation of energy technologies form one of the most pressing issues facing society today. Identified as a target area for educational gains in several fields, including as one of the four main challenges of A New Biology for the 21st Century (National Research Council, 2009), these topics are of pressing educational importance. Beyond the technical complexities of energy grids and ecosystems, related educational content spans the disciplines, posing a potential challenge for presentation in the educational system. These challenges may be manifested in terminology or approaches to content. Through an analysis of over 15,000 pages of introductory-level university textbooks from four major academic publishers in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, this study provides a baseline for the trends in environmental communication for this pressing global issue, beginning with fundamentals such as terminology and content distribution. For example, the defining terms, “global warming” and “climate change,” are used at a nearly equal rate for the textbooks investigated, regardless of discipline. Relevant content is presented on average on less than 4% of pages with large variability between individual textbooks and disciplines. This limited discussion, non-uniform presentation, and inconsistent terminology use has implications on introductory-level education and the public perception of science.
Bio: Rachel Yoho is a recent PhD from Arizona State University, where she studied environmental biotechnology and science education. Passionate about outreach, science education, and communication, Rachel investigates the presentation of climate change and energy technologies in introductory-level education. Additionally, she has several publications investigating the electron transport mechanisms of microorganisms in microbial electrochemical cells. Rachel is involved with many organizations focused on STEM education outreach.