Reflection: Real World Applications Economics and the Environment - Section 1: Introduction


One thing that excited me most about teaching Environmental Science for the first time this year was that it would offer me the opportunity to dive much deeper and explore some of the tangents I only hint at in the short ecology and environment units in biology class.  In the case of this lesson, it's a very basic primer on economics and how economic forces affect the environment. 

I definitely knew that I couldn't afford to spend too much time on economics, but to omit it from my class because it isn't "science" would leave my students with only half the information to fully contemplate our environmental situation and any realistic solutions. 

So, knowing that I only had a short time to address this important issue, I presented this lesson and then had students do their own investigation in the succeeding ecolabeling lesson, where they went out into their community to find environmentally friendly products and compared their costs to products without an ecolabel.  

Looking back on this lesson much later in the year, I am so happy that I chose to cover this material early because it has helped inform so many of the discussions we have had in class.  This unit also has a lesson about the difference between environmental science and environmentalism.  I think these lessons together helped establish a conceptual foundation for my students to critically consider our environmental problems in the context that, contrary to some notion that greedy corporations are wantonly damaging the environment as embodiments of pure evil, these problems exist because economies service needs and our own choices as consumers can have a dramatic effect on how corporations behave with respect to the environment.  

  Interdisicplinary instruction
  Real World Applications: Interdisicplinary instruction
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Economics and the Environment

Unit 2: The Nature of Environmental Science
Lesson 10 of 17

Objective: SWBAT critically evaluate the interrelatedness of economics and environmental concerns via a class discussion.

Big Idea: It's impossible to approach environmental problems without acknowledging their relationship to the economic activity of humans.

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