Climate, Science, and Sustainability Education

Authored by: Matt Ferkany

Handbook of Philosophy of Education

Print publication date:  October  2022
Online publication date:  October  2022

Print ISBN: 9781032000053
eBook ISBN: 9781003172246
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter critically examines a widely discussed Humean diagnosis of the causes of climate contrarianism and its implications for climate, science, and sustainability education, especially in schools and universities. Evidence concerning the cultural cognition of science has been taken to suggest that science teachers should shift their goals to deprioritize science literacy, or science knowledge and comprehension, in favor of teaching for a capacity to recognize reliable science. This evidence is equivocal, however, and associated reforms to science education make sense independently of it. Standards for school science mandating climate literacy are relatively new and teachers lack support and preparation in teaching to them. Resistance to consensus climate science also has many causes, including confusion about the relationship between values and scientific information. But appropriate standards and curricula for sustainability ethics and socio-scientific reasoning in the humanities and social sciences are nearly non-existent. It is altogether more urgent that formal institutions implement such standards and curricula than that science teachers deprioritize teaching students to comprehend climate (and other) science.

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