The Importance of Presentation in Ecological Education Essay

The Importance of Presentation in Ecological Education Essay

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Environmentalism is an ethical outlook on the world as much as it is a scientific approach to living. Like any moral philosophy, it can be extremely difficult to enlighten those you see as in the wrong without offending them. When any individual or group accuses you of personal wrongdoing, recoil is the easiest natural reaction. Environmentalists are well aware of this, as are ethical vegetarians, those who donate to charity or volunteer their time with nonprofits and members of the Peace Corps. If somebody tells you in an aggressive or condescending manner that your way of life is damaging, unethical, idiotic, ignorant, unintelligent or reckless, chances are that you would take offense and not heed their advice. Few who truly take the time to evaluate the benefits of green living and weigh it against the ongoing alternative would say that our current lifestyle is worth continuing. However, verbally attacking people is not the answer. It is no surprise that people like David Orr have difficulty reaching new audiences when he resorts to calling people “retarded chimpanzees” (2002, p. 55). David Orr’s message in The Nature of Design: Ecology, Culture and Human Intention (2002) is not something that I would personally disagree with, but his attitude within the book is poisonous to his own cause.
Before explaining why Orr’s presentation is unhelpful to the greater ecological community, I feel the need to assert that I do not personally find fault with his ideas. During my freshman year of high school I opted to take environmental science instead of the normal physical science course. That class set me on the path to environmental thinking, though admittedly my practice does not always match up with my theory. My personal goals inclu...


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...ver. David Orr’s attitude is poisonous and pervasive. It is easy for those who agree with him to sit back and nod their heads gratifyingly as he elevates himself above the uncultured and uneducated masses, but those masses are exactly the people we are trying to reach. How can I as a teacher advocate any style of presentation that offends my students and pushes them away from a healthy, sustainable and reciprocal view of the world? I could not call myself an effective teacher if my presentation was able only to close the minds of my students, not open them. Any teacher can tell you that in any field, including ecology, content means nothing without an effective and respectful mode of presentation and that is exactly what Orr is lacking.


Works Cited

Orr, D. (2002). The nature of design: Ecology, culture and human intention. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press.

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