Integrate > Teaching for Sustainability > Advocacy > Political Activities

Engaging Students in Issues with Political Activities

If the earth and environmental science education community doesn't engage our students in current issues in meaningful ways, who will? Especially important is providing a place for students to reflect on diverse viewpoints as they explore issues and relevant scientific evidence. Below are some tips for getting started and example activities that help students understand the communication, perspectives, and populations marginalized by political decisions.

Getting Started:

  • Have students complete a PEW Political Party Quiz and read Rob Baker's essay Political Talk is Important to Democracy; compile and discuss class results: How do they compare with national results? Why are political discussions important? What voices are we hearing from? Who is not heard?
  • Identify current earth and environmental policy (search for topics like climate,energy, & water using Congress.gov)
  • Explore earth and environmental evidence (e.g. trends from relevant figures) that relate to current policy and support small group discussions on issues. Discussion questions for small groups might explore the intersection of science, communication, community needs, resilience planning, marginalized populations, and reflection on how each student's world view shaped their group's collective ideas. Example questions: What factors need to be considered? Who are the impacted populations and will they all be affected equally? What evidence supports or refutes the policy? Are there any lobbyists (i.e. paid to advocate or oppose)?

Activities that Help Students Understand Communication, Perspectives, and Populations Involved or Marginalized

From InTeGrate :

Environmental Justice and Teaching Tolerance Resources:

Explore Current Issues in Earth and Environmental Science:

Other Resources:

Want to do more? Consider Designing Courses around Key Issues in Your Community.